It’s November 1st so in our house, I can officially talk about Christmas.
The truth is, I’ve been thinking about it for several months, since last year actually. As Kelsea mentioned in her recent post, we all struggled with Christmas last year. We’ve been unsuccessful at pinpointing the exact reason, deciding that it was more than likely several things all combined. Once the dust had settled, the trimmings were removed and glad tidings stopped we all, in our own ways, came to grips with the fact that Christmas had come and gone and we had ‘missed it.’
Determined to make this year different, I have spent some time working on my heart hoping that if I take care of myself I can be the magic maker for those around me and truly relish this coming Christmas season.
Much like Kelsea, I have my own list of things I hope to incorporate this year to make it just a little different, a little more special. I did have to dig deep though because we officially have all big kids in our house. The years of the 25 Days of Christmas that included coloring books and golden tickets to the ‘minivan express’ are gone and I needed to figure out ways to capture the Christmas Spirit with my big kids.
I decided to shift our focus with the goal of creating a vintage Christmas. I want to capture those special moments that are forever fixed in my memories from my own childhood and attempt to create similar memories for my own kids. I want them to remember certain things we ‘always’ did as a family around the holidays; some things with extended family and friends and others with just our family of 5.
What will we be doing?
The big addition will be that of a Jesse Tree. This weekend we’re heading off on a family shopping trip and we’re going to purchase the necessary supplies for the girls and I to make the ornaments. I have also purchased this book to guide us as we welcome this month-long Advent tradition into our family.
We’re also sending Christmas Cards…for the first time in probably 11 years. After many, many, many years of using every excuse in the book to not send Christmas cards I have decided to add this to our list of things to accomplish this season. We’ll be including a family photo and the girls and I will be hand making these as one of our 25 days of Christmas activities.
All gifts given will be thoughtful. Some will be handmade, some will be useful, and others will be just for fun but every gift given will say “I know you, I love you, and I’m listening.”
As far as the other activities filling out our 25 Days of Christmas Celebration…
Christmas bucket lists (December 1st the kids will each make a list of the things that will make their Christmas special, if at all possible each of those things will be added to our month of fun.)
Decorate the Christmas Tree (It will go up and get lights before Thanksgiving but we will add the decorations later in the month.)
Christmas Scavenger Hunt (This will be something that I create and we do as a family.)
Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt (Usually one of the last things we do. This includes a list printed from Pinterest, hot cocoa, and the family in the car listening to Christmas music. It already stands as a family tradition and it’s a favorite.)
Christmas Movies (Usually 3 or 4 spread throughout the month, also includes popcorn and milkshakes.)
Local Tree Lighting (This is a fairly new tradition that we missed last year but I’ve heard all about how wonderful it was since then. We will definitely be attending this year.)
Local Christmas Parade (You’ve gotta see Santa arrive!)
Game Night with Hot Cocoa and Candy Canes (We’ll probably have more than one of these as well.)
Ornament Making Party (This is a new thing we hope becomes a standing tradition. We’re planning to get all the cousins together for this one. Each family is planning to pick one ornament and bring enough supplies for each kid to make one of that ornament so once we’re done each kiddo will take home several handmade ornaments and tons of memories of a day with extended family.)
Cookie Baking Party (Very similar to the ornament party. Each family is bringing ingredients to make a couple different cookies and everyone leaves with a dozen or so of several different cookies.)
Christmas Concerts (We have three of these this year, each kid will be on a different night. Because it’s time consuming we count it as some of our activities but we usually do a little extra something (like dinner out) on these nights as well.)
Christmas Story Brick Challenge (I have three LEGO fans so this one was a no brainer.)
Visit a Christmas Market or Festival (I’m going to have to search for one but think our family would very much enjoy attending.)
Coffee Shop for fancy Christmas drinks (We’ve been doing this one since our very first 25 Days of Christmas and it is cemented as a Christmas tradition.)
Christmas Eve Box (Not sure exactly what it will include but I’m thinking new Christmas jammies, snacks, a movie and maybe a few more items.)
Based on my what my kids put on their Christmas bucket lists we will add/subtract from this list as needed. This isn’t about creating my perfect Christmas, or any perfect Christmas for that matter. This is about creating an environment that is rich with all the feelings of the holiday and free of as many of the possible stresses as I can manage.
I’m hoping to have most of my adulting done before December 1st so I can sit back and have fun with my kids. This year is about enjoying all that is the Christmas season, not the presents or things but the feelings evoked from spending time in the company of family and friends, remembering Christmases past and the greatest story ever told.
I’m ready for Christmas, are you?