I love Christmas, it’s always been a favorite time of year for me …and though some Christmases have been hard or of loss, it’s remained a time of the year I look forward to. And currently speaking, I am full of Christmas spirit! So many things in our world are changing, either to become corrupt or away from tradition – so if Christmas is one last thing I can keep, I am going to do it. And by that I mean, I enjoy little rituals and traditions that happen each year, along with keeping the true meaning of Christmas through it all. And that true reason is Jesus – he IS the reason for the season and whole reason we have Christmas in the first place! Sometimes people need to be reminded of this around Christmas time, to take a moment and pause in what Christmas actually means, and slow down in the rush.
I am guilty of it, but I try not to get caught up in the rush and stress of things – to me, the holidays mean so much more than that! I have seen countless number of people post their tower of gifts they bought for their kids, and I just shake my head. It would be nice if one or two gifts from mom and dad, and two gifts from Santa were enough for today’s children. Today’s children should be taught more than the gift giving and receiving aspect of Christmas. So as I ring in the season, I’ll share with you some ways I find Christmas spirit, and keep it all season long.
While observing Remembrance Day, I begin my holiday season once the first of November arrives. I respect the decision of those who wait until after Remembrance Day, but I personally side with the fact one has nothing to do with the other – and I can remember and respect our Veterans and troops while decorating , or attending a craft show, etc. That being said, this gives a good full 8 weeks of Christmas – and the chance for one and all to be merry all through November and December! And here are some ways we can do this:
1. Attend a Christmas craft show – what better way to get into the Christmas spirit than to parade around a Christmas village full of holiday crafts and sweets, surrounded by those who share your merry feeling!
2. Dig out those tunes- I have a little box of Christmas CDs, ranging from highland Christmas music to country – take out your Christmas tunes, and turn them on … and that’ll put you in the spirit!
3. Put on that first Christmas movie – I love this one! Pick one, anyone! And throw on your very first Christmas movie of the season, how exciting! There are so many good ones to choose from, and many available via streaming or on demand – Please keep an eye out for my post regarding Christmas films.
4. Pay it forward – As you find yourself in Christmas cheer – spread that to a stranger by a kind act, after all this is really what Christmas is about. Paying for a stranger’s coffee, or gas bill helps that individual see a glimmer of hope in these cold, hard days. A lot of people struggle through the Winter, or are laid off work – you can never be sure of people’s situations. This is why we shouldn’t judge but love…so pay some Christmas love forward in your neighborhood and city.
5. Visit a thrift store – Walk into your local thrift store and bam! – you will see Christmas threw up in there. It can get a lot of fun looking through it all, all the tacky knick knacks, and perhaps you’ll find another snowman or Santa for your collection. Also, take note this will be the best place to find an ugly Christmas sweater or Vest.
6. Support a local play – Often in late November thru January – there will be numerous holiday plays and live theatres one can attend. While going to the city theatre is a treat, and casts professionals – bear in mind it costs more, and there are other, equally as enjoyable plays. Check out holiday productions of your local schools, churches, dance academies and universities. Attending these plays spreads lots of holiday cheer, and supports local artists/talents – and I love supporting local, where I can! One of the best Christmas productions I saw was of ‘The Nutcracker’ and it was held at a local university!
7. Read, and read some more – There is no better time of the year to cozy up with a blanket and hot chocolate, and read that holiday tale you’ve been dying to dive into. Along with classics like ‘The Christmas Carol’ and ‘The Greatest Gift’ (‘Its a Wonderful Life’), there are modern Christmas stories worth a read, and excellent Harlequin Holiday novels also trending. At this time of the year, it’s also important and should become a practice to read ‘The Christmas Story’. Whether you want to read it directly from the bible, read a story book, or children’s bible version – it is an impacting story that began Christmas, so what better story to share with your kids!
8. Appreciate the outdoors – Let’s face it, most people don’t care for the cold and Winter, other than an odd few, like myself. But it’s not going away – so stare it right in the face! Most importantly, dress warm and in layers, when you think you have enough layers, you don’t! You need to be layered, puffy and Michelin warm. Go for a family walk in late December, to check out the lights – this is super fun and mesmerizing, Christmas lights are so beautiful! Or better yet, go for a walk with a group and carol door to door! This brightens others’ spirit as much as your own. Attend your community tree lighting, and warm up with hot chocolate, watch your local holiday parade. Have Winter bonfires with winter gear on, blankets and hot cider, and a gathering of friends. I know Winter is not a friend to many, but look her right in the face and enjoy it!
So here you have it ya’ll – My 8 lovely tips for the 8 weeks of Christmas. This is a beautiful time of the year, and it only comes once a year….so make it the very best. Be kind to others, find the meaning, expect less and give more and take time for yourself.