Some Assembly Required: It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” (Insert screeching halt noise). My life is more like “The four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup.” Buddy the Elf ~Elf (insert applause)
For years I tried to have the Southern Living decorated front door, the “White House Christmas tree ornament” only tree and perfectly wrapped gifts with perfectly coiffed bows.
A show of hands for those who have scouted locations in July for the family holiday greeting card. The photo shoot that WILL BE color coordinated with semi-relaxed poses, freshly cut hair and grins from ear to ear.
I have sworn, promised, planned and saved to make sure that I am NOT out on Christmas Eve shopping for that last minute gift card, hunting down that forgotten can of cranberry sauce and scouring the bakery department for a sweet treat that looks homemade.
Then one Christmas I woke up and I realized that all of that was someone else’s idea of the perfect family holiday. There wasn’t any of me or my family in creating those traditions. We had been lulled into a false sense of holiday spirit. We had “tradition envy” and we were miserable. Call me Mrs. Krank because I was just about to cancel Christmas.
“You’re skipping Christmas! Isn’t that against the law?” Spike Frohmeyer, Christmas with the Kranks
There are thousands of ideas out there and they are all good. You can Pinterest and Instagram ideas to death. However, to put the spirit back into your holiday start with one or two and then add your own family twists if you like. Break free of “tradition envy” and let me know how you feel on December 26th.
To assist you with the first step I did the Pinterest-ing and Instagram-ing death spiral for you. Here are a few honorable mentions because there are no blue ribbons until you make them your own!
First up! For the kids! Create a Christmas Eve Box. Wrap up new comfy PJ’s, a new special story, a soon-to-be new favorite family movie and hot cocoa. If you really want to send this idea into the stratosphere include a permission slip to let them open one gift from under the tree. I mean c’mon they have spent days, if not weeks, staring at them.
Now let’s wrap this up...
- Google the history of St. Nick put those shoes outside and fill them with candy and sweets.
- Holiday movie nights! Invite over a special neighbor or friends you have been meaning to spend time with. This soiree would be completely theme worthy!! Or not!
- Decorate holiday cookies and if you like leave a few out for Santa with some milk or egg nog. Don’t forget about the reindeer and tie up a few carrots with a nice red bow.
- Help the kids write letters to the North Pole. In fact let them help with the entire holiday card process. It’s a win-win. They will love using all those glitter pens and stickers and you don’t have to have the perfect card. Click the link to make your life easier with step by step instructions. Letters to Santa – USPS can make it magical.
- No Chimney – No Problem. Leave Santa a key (not your real house keys) on the outside of the front door with this name on it. An antique-looking key or skeleton key would be perfect.
- On Christmas Eve (or any December evening) put on those PJs and go for a spin in the neighborhood to see all the uniquely decorated houses. Caution – could bring on “Tradition Envy” To reel you back in imagine the money you are saving on your electricity bill.
- Track Santa with NORAD. https://www.noradsanta.org/
- Google has its own Holiday Countdown with activities for each day. The 5th of December was fun! Google – Santa’s Village North Pole
- Seriously, a call from Santa or his Elves? https://www.christmasdialer.com/ I tried it and it works. You get one free call per device so make them count or you have to upgrade to Premium. What? Save the money it’s once a year.
- Drum roll, please. This is Compton & Duling’s Countdown to Christmas. Actually you can make a countdown for anything using this awesome website Timeanddate – Create Your Own Countdown Clock
- After the feast, bundle up and go outside! A quick pickup game of hoops or a nature walk. Get your blood pumping!
- Check in with the local homeless shelters and food banks to see if they have volunteer opportunities. Go all out and wear Santa hats, matching sweaters and elf ears.
- Are you an animal lover? Check with local shelters and pet rescues to see if they need any help over the holidays or any are in need of supplies for the winter months. You can host a party (completely theme worthy) and ask everyone to bring an item to be donated to a rescue of your choice. Personally I like to groom horses and “muck” stalls. To each her own!!
The above ideas are not unique but you are! I hope something sparked your imagination. “Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more!” The Grinch – How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Warmest wishes to you and yours this holiday season! — Donna
Donna Kutchma works the Front Desk at Compton & Duling, L.C.