Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Getting into the spirit

There have been so many Christmases past where I got to December 26th and thought that's it? it's over already?  I thought this was supposed to be the greatest time of the year. Hmmm...

To avoid that vaguely empty post-holiday feeling I'm doing things a little differently this year.  First of all, I started secretly listening to holiday music whenever I was in the car about two full weeks before Thanksgiving, which I used to think was sacrilege, but now I'm over it. I won't ever get a tree or put up lights (in some future world where we actually put up house lights) before Thanksgiving because that's weird, but I'm giving in on the music.

I also started being even more vigilant about all the shopping. In addition to Christmas there are MANY birthdays around the same time, and many of those gifts have to be packed up and shipped, so while I was never a last minute shopper, this year I'm extra on top of the present monster.

OK, so that's a start, but it's not enough. Yesterday I read an article by Jordan Ferney (author of one of my favorite blogs, Oh Happy Day) where she talks about her love of advent calendars and how she uses them as a catalyst to celebrate the holidays by doing one little activity every day.

Her list is more extensive than I have the energy and money for, but it's such a brilliant idea.  Yet again someone (me) realizes that they have to make things happen, not wait for them to happen. Duh. This lesson will never get old. So on that note, here are some of the things off of her list that I'm going to try to bring to the Scarlet Lily household so that we can find that desired holiday balance of celebrating the season, but without doing it in a stressful manner (the distinction is one that I think most people fail to make):

Watch It's a Wonderful Life (I've actually never seen this) & make spiced cider
Exchange Gifts
Make Christmas cookies for friends
Make hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows (Ina Garten convinced me that I should try making homemade marshmallows)
Find mistletoe, hang it up, kiss under it
Address and mail Christmas cards
Buy new Christmas music
Put up a ribbon sash for Christmas cards
Donate canned goods
Give neighbors a present
Make a gingerbread house (this is intimidating thanks to my brilliant aunt who would hand design architectural houses, complete with stained glass windows every Christmas)
Have a romantic candlelit dinner by the Christmas tree
Make decorative sugar cookies (this just made it to my Life List last week - how have I never done this?!)
Regularly dance with Charlotte to Christmas music (can you believe dancing with my daughter was on her list? Weird.)

How about you? What's on your mental list of holiday activities and what do you do to make the holiday celebratory without being stressful?

*I'm SO in love with the Pottery Barn advent calendar above.  Now if only it weren't $99...


feather nester said...

Oh, oh, it's like you live inside my brain sometimes! I have two Advent calendars with plans to make a third in the next week or so (I got a late start, but I'll use a stand in until the new one is done). I have an Advent calendar obsession and it's for exactly the reasons you're mulling over...I LOVE spreading the holiday activities out. And there are so many CHEAP, FREE ways to do it! Especially next year, for you, I bet, when C is old enough to participate more. I'll have to post my list for you to look over and draw further inspiration from. There are TONS of lists out there if you do some Googling, as well as TONS of ideas for free/cheap/recycled Advent calendars you can make. HAVE FUN!

Wait...seriously?!? You've never decorated SUGAR cookies?!? Effing Italians. ;)

Leslie said...

It's a Wonderful Life is my favorite Christmas movie, followed closely by White Christmas. Hmm. Netflix is in order.

Strongmama said...

I was in Michael's this morning and found an advent calendar piece of scrapbook paper. It has the little flaps for each day. You could put it on a piece of 12X12 cardstock and put your list on there. Not that Charlotte can read it, but it would be pretty to look at. Best part? 59 cents!

Shannon said...

Just wait until you see your xmas present! Might help you accomplish one of the items on your list AND help you do so year round. But that's all the hint you get!

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