Thanksgiving has become a faded memory as the tinsel and Christmas cheer takes over. With only a month to celebrate, it can feel overwhelming trying to fit in every holiday activity possible. We may not be able to knock everything off of our to-do list so perhaps make a holiday bucket list is in order to get the most out of December.
Write a letter to Santa
For young, Santa-believing children, help them send a letter to Santa. This is about far more than writing up a list of wants. Time with our children, picking up pen and paper to gather thoughts, learning how to be cordial and share how things are going in the opening of the letter, and ending with good wishes, is an exercise in etiquette. It can also be a time for you and them to evaluate what is reasonable to ask for (and buy) so that no one gets carried away.
Scope out local businesses; sometimes small shops (or even big names like Macy’s!) will host fun Christmas promotions and set up mailboxes specifically for sending letters to the big man in the red suit.
Write a Letter to Jesus to Put by the Manager
This can be something for young and old. What are your thought about this season of waiting for Christmas, the celebration of the birth of our Lord? How are you preparing for his arrival as a baby on Christmas morning?
Brainstorm with your family on how to make Christmas about giving. Are there neighbors or relatives that would appreciate a little help this time of the year? Can you make a meal or bring cookies to a busy new mom or senior citizen who would love a visit? Is there a charity the family can contribute to together?
Brave Snow Days by the Fire
Make a fire and camp out by your decorated tree right from your living room. Put up white lights to mimic a starry sky and lay out sleeping bags. No fireplace? There are great downloads of simulated fireplaces that can be found online! Bring the season into your camping trip by watching a holiday movie. There are many festive Christmas movies to make your night “out” one to remember.
Host a cookie swap
This is a beautiful way to bring people together than over delicious holiday baked goods? Host a holiday cookie swapwhere each guest brings their favorite recipe to share! Make the event a little more personal by encouraging everyone to bring a recipe passed down through their family or one incorporated into their yearly tradition. This will pose the opportunity to swap festive stories about their recipe in addition to cookies. Display the cookies on a table with small tags indicating who baked what, the type of cookie, and any additional information like allergens. Set out holiday cookie tins so guests can make their own goodie boxes to enjoy until Christmas.
Embrace Holiday flavors
One of the best parts about the holiday is all of the delicious spices and flavors available during the Christmas season. Be intentional about enjoying them before the season comes to an end. Decorate gingerbread cookies with your family or bake warm gingerbread caketo serve with stovetop hot cocoa. Add candy canes to your cup in order to enjoy the perfect holiday pairing of chocolate and peppermint. If peppermint isn’t your style, start your day festively with some crockpot eggnog French toast! Add the leftover eggnog to your coffee in the morning for a seasonal drink with a kick.
Ornaments with names and year can be carried on in into the next generation. Special Christmas stockings can be treasured for a lifetime. Consider buying fun Christmas sweaters that can become seasonal favorites.
You don’t have to be talented to be crafty. Sit down with your children or grandchildren to paint ornaments or make pipe cleaner red and white candy canes to hang on the tree. Libraries and the Internet are loaded with simple Christmas craft ideas. Department and hobby stores also make it so easy to find fun and easy crafts.
If the first Sunday of Advent caught you unawares, that does not mean you have to skip it. Get those candles now and if you don’t have a wreath, get one. No Advent should be without one. Lighting the candles at prayer time or at every dinner, is a beautiful, calming tradition for the season.
People still gather to sing Christmas carols for others. We’ve had people show up at our door and we’ve also gone with our prayer group to sing as we walked the halls of a nursing home. This is a beautiful activity that brings joy to everyone and involves all ages.
If you are not in the habit of going to adoration, carve out some time to slip into church for some quiet time with Jesus. He will give you the peace you need for this season, for who better can help you prepare for his birthday?
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