Saturday, December 7, 2013

Saturday, December 7

A baker's dozen of my favorite December "Must-Do's." (In no particular order.) 

1. String lights around one tree in your backyard. It's pure magic for everyone who sees that lone tree in the dark.

2. Bake chewy gingersnap cookies from scratch. Your home will smell like Santa's elves have been there.

3. Set up a Nativity scene, have someone move Mary and Joseph around your home each day until December 24th when you place them along with baby Jesus in the manger. Read Luke 2:1-20. Find a church with a candlelight service to attend on Christmas Eve. Put more than a little thought into this season. 

4. Turn the lights down low, add a few lit candles, cushy pillows, blankets and a crackling fire to enjoy the tree's twinkling lights. Play favorite music. Enjoy a glass of wine or spiced cider. Breathe. 

5. Slow down, why hurry through this month? Tune into Christmas music and drive through a neighborhood on the way home from wherever you've been to enjoy the light show. (My favorite memories include loading our pj clad kids in the car, handing them a lidded cup of cocoa or a candy cane and driving around for awhile on at least one night during the season.) 

6. Make sure one of the gifts on your list gifts someone else this season. It might be the most cherished gift you never receive. World Vision, Compassion International or Heifer International are good places to start. 

7. Get neighbors together for caroling, no one has to host a houseful. Ask everyone to share a small plate of cookies on a table outside afterwards. Make copies of sheet music. Dress warmly. Let kids run up to ring the doorbell. Laugh and sing loudly! 

8. Dream BIG like a child again. Look through those catalogs and imagine whatever you want--don't even look at price tags. When you're done circling ideas, you're done. Sometimes the joy comes purely from your imagination and not in the owning of things. 

9. Stop by your local police or fire station with a plate of baked cookies one evening. They will be happy you dropped by.

10. Stop focusing on stuff and MORE stuff. There's more joy in a few well-thought-out gifts than in trying to give a bundle of all that clutters.

11. Declutter. Spend one morning going through rooms with a box or a bag. (Yes. That includes your kitchen and cabinets.) If you don't love it give it away, or take it to a thrift shop. (Or see #12.) Once you see how much you have, it whispers wise perspective into buying more, more, more. You may also remember those little things you'd really appreciate.

12. Host a white elephant party for your child or yourself. Rules are, it <<must>> be a re-gift you no longer love. Yes, you get to go around the room and steal an item someone already unwrapped. I guarantee someone else's give-away will be quite a treasure.

13. Find something simple to make you smile. Every day. Somehow we've made this season stressful when it's supposed to be joyful. <3

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