"Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

I am so excited that the Christmas season is upon us (though admittedly slightly frazzled that I am not where I would like to be as far as prep goes). December crept up awfully fast, but it is what it is, and what it is is the most wonderful time of the year!!! Get out there and enjoy December! Soak it all in! Yes, the days go by fast, but there is much to see and do during this magical season!!!

[Christmas decor, 2008]

Being the Christmas Diva that I am ;-) I thought I would share some ideas to help you enjoy these 31 days!!!

[Merry and bright, 2008]

~* DO try to decorate early *~
Hopefully you have decked those halls and trimmed those trees, or you are at least almost done. I try each year to get my stuff up early. It is a lot of work to only be able to enjoy it for a few weeks. I started a little later than I would have liked to this year and still need to add a few finishing touches. Remember, if your decorating is done early, you have that much more time to do magical Christmas-y things!

[The star of our tree! 2008]

~* DO bake yummy Christmas cookies. *~
There is something so homey and heartfelt about baking Christmas cookies. I love to give them even more than I love to eat them! Packaged in a pretty holiday tin, cookies make a festive gift for a teacher, neighbor, co-worker, anyone! Who doesn't love freshly baked cookies?! If you have kids you can get them involved. Kids love to decorate sugar cookies. Set out sprinkles and sugar crystals in little bowls and let them get creative! No kids? No problem! You and your spouse can have a blast in the kitchen together! Who says you have to wear anything under that apron?!? ;-) And the added bonus is the creative ways you can burn off those calories after the baking session....

~* DO go on a Christmas lights tour. *~
Twinkly lights against the night sky are so magical! Put on your coziest clothing ... you can even wear your pajamas! ... fill a thermos with rich, steamy hot chocolate, crank up the Christmas tunes on the car stereo, and set out on an adventure! If you want to photograph the lights, it is best to use a tripod, no flash, and set your camera to a slow shutter speed.

[A memento from our honeymoon in Hawaii, 1999]

~* DO remember those less fortunate than you. *~
Really, this one should go without saying. And it is something we should do year-round, not just during the holiday season. But it is made a little easier for us during this time of year. You know at some point you will see a Salvation Army Bell Ringer. Please do not pass them by. I know everyone of us can spare at least a dollar. We can donate canned goods and other non-perishables to a local soup kitchen. Visit with residents of a local nursing home. My two grandmothers, in the last years of their lives, had to live in a nursing home. It is heartbreaking the number of people that never get a single visitor. Do you have lots of old sheets, blankets, and towels? Don't get rid them! Your local animal shelter (which is hopefully no-kill) can use them! Perhaps a local school or church is sponsoring an Angel Tree for children in need. There are opportunities to help everywhere!

[Our bride & groom that has hung on our tree every year since our wedding in 1999!]

~* DO watch favorite Christmas movies and specials. *~
I don't know about you but I can't get through December without watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, oh, a gazillion times! Ditto A Charlie Brown Christmas! Turn on the Christmas lights, pop a big bowl of buttery popcorn and make a big mug of hot cocoa and snuggle under a cozy throw for a holiday movie marathon! Want to know when your favorites are on? There are several links on my right sidebar ---> under "Favorite Christmas Links" that list Christmas movies, specials, and Christmas episodes of favorite sitcoms past and present.

~* DO record your memories. *~
Whether you journal, take photos, make a video, it doesn't matter. Just save these treasured memories in some way. Years from now you will be happy you did. Since I am an avid papercrafter I save these memories in a crafty way, using a combination of words and photos that I turn in to Christmas journals and scrapbooks. I have already started on my daily album for December 2009! I will share it after the month has passed (or maybe as I go along...we'll see!). If you check out my left sidebar <--- there are links for an online class I follow along with each year called Journal Your Christmas. I always end up doing my own thing but the prompts are a great jumping off point. And I am never without one of my cameras!

~* DO remember the impact of a handwritten card. *~
In this electronic age we live in, where we rely heavily on email, instant messages, texts, and social networking, it is easy to forget how treasured a hand-written Christmas card or note is. Please take some time to send out real cards. Yes, it takes a little while. Yes, you actually have to buy some stamps (but have you seen the supercute Christmas stamps the USPS has put out this year?!).  I know it sounds kinda sappy and Hallmark-y but taking the time to send a card really does show you care and that the recipient is worth it!

I hope you have enjoyed this little list, and it gives you some ideas to make your holiday season more magical! I will share more throughout the month!


How do I know the Christmas season is really in full swing?!?
When this radio station starts playing 24/7 Christmas music .....

(they actually started in mid-November!!!)

And Starbucks starts selling Peppermint Mocha Lattes in festive Christmas cups ......

How cute are the cozies this year?!?

Then I KNOW Christmas is here!!!!!!!!


Terri and Bob said...

Kristen, I love this post! I am soooo far behind but I am trying to be positive about everything that DOES get done and not fret about the stuff that doesn't. That is hard for me!

Ms Bibi said...

Your post is just full of Christmas spirit...it makes me forget all the stuff I am dealing with I just want to bake cookies and cuddle with my boys.

I am hoping to decorate this weekend when hubs comes home for couple days and brings out my boxes.

I am starting my baking next Monday and I usually give away many full tins around me.

We might not be able to get many presents this year, but I will make sure the spirit is high...you got my word.

Melissa Miller said...

Kristen you are so right! I just love this post full of great ideas. For some reason I can't shake my frazzled feeling this past week. So much to do. ~Whew!
Thanks for helping me see it more clearly. :)

Drama queens mum (Kimberly) said...

We have our tree up, but it's not decorated. It has white lights attached to it. I've had that music channel on a few times, but my 2 year old doesn't like it. She keeps crying saying Rock n' roll. About the Nivea lipgloss, it's more like vaseline to me. I like it a lot.

Drama queens mum (Kimberly) said...

p.s. I just noticed that you were at the CK convention last year. I went with my friend. I'd like to go in 2010 too. Maybe we'll go to the 1 in Feb too. I don't think I knew about that 1 last year.

Amy said...

Wonderful tips! I love this time of year. No matter what, I can't help but be joyful! The outside lights are up and we are getting our tree this weekend - so hopefully by Monday, our home will be fully decorated. Hugs girl!

Staci Lynn said...

Oh my - nothin under that apron... Let's just hope you don't have a drafty house!

I am savoring December. I've been journaling every day and since I live so far away from the nearest Starbucks Farmer-to-be bought me one of those mugs that looks like the red Christmas cups this year.

I think I'm keeping my tree up until Orthodox Christmas this year.

Christa said...

Love this post!! I haven't started decorating yet...but will very soon! Kevin and I ALWAYS watch Christmas Vacation every year...love that movie!

Jessica said...

Aww cute tips- I love it!

Peppermint mocha lattes sound amazing, I am going to have to try one :)

carma said...

Sadly I have yet to do even one of these items..

Tammy said...

LOVE all your tips, Sweetness!!! Just wanted ot add one thing about helping the less fortunate....try and do your shopping at places that give back. YOu now how much I love Hunger Site, etc....just by shopping, you're helpng!

Post-Modern Jen said...

Just had to comment on this post too, very thoughtful and sweet!