Tonight is almost like Christmas Eve...but not quite. Tomorrow is the start of so many things...and I'm not sure who is more excited...me, or my three-year old daughter. The month of December brings with it so many once-a-day activities...I just hope we can remember to do them all. Here's a few that I can think of that we'll be doing...
My birthday was earlier this week, and as adult birthdays are prone to be, it was not terribly over-the-top exciting. It was mostly just an average day, but I did manage to do a few out-of-the-ordinary and fun things. It is amazing how many companies out there offer freebies for birthdays in exchange for your e-mail address and/or mailing address. I've read of people who sign up for all of these offers and list their birthday as a different month on each one so that they freebies are spread throughout the year...I understand WHY they do it, but still seems dishonest to me. Most of the coupons that I received were good for about a week, so I could spread them out, although some of them require you to show ID and are only good on your actual birthdate. Colin over at Hip2Save (my fave coupon blogger!) posted a very extensive list back in 2010 of companies that offer birthday freebies. Check it out when you have a few hours, or just browse and enter in for a couple of them.
This is my absolute favorite time of the year! I love the months of October, November, and December, and I'm like a kid at Christmastime. I get a little giddy over it all -- just ask my husband (or mom). This year, since Thanksgiving was early, we have a little extra time to recover from Thanksgiving and get ready for all the advent festivities and exciting things to do, see, taste, smell, and just enjoy in December. I feel like a lot of the enjoyment of the holidays gets missed when we get caught up in all the things we "have" to do. One of my friends said on facebook this week that she wished she could bottle up her preschoolers' excitement over everything Christmas-related, and I feel the same way watching my daughter... I want to be especially conscious this year to take time to enjoy this season, to focus on the Greatest Gift we have been given, and all of the other gifts that flow from Him. Having this week in between Thanksgiving and the 1st of December has provided me with time to plan and organize a bit and I wanted to share some of those ideas.
1) When it comes to decorating -- keep it simple. Pretty doesn't have to be extravagant...often it isn't. 2 years ago, I went through all of my Christmas decorations and purged and donated a lot of things that I didn't love and didn't have sentimental reasons to keep. It has made my decorating much more efficient (and easier to keep my house clean!).
2) Set up a gift wrapping station somewhere in your house. As gifts arrive in the mail or you go shopping, wrap them as soon as possible to stay ahead. (Note: Husbands find this particularly helpful so that they do not have to go hunting around trying to find supplies to wrap present for their wives.....)
3) Add some holiday pages to your home notebook, or if you don't use a home notebook, create a holiday notebook...or just choose a few of the pages that would be helpful to you in planning and organizing. This website has tons of printables and it looks like they are free pdf files. (I already had some printed from another site that I have been using, but I'm curious to poke around this site a little more...)
4) Make a bucket list of activities that you want to do with your kids/family and if necessary, make a note of where you saw the idea so that you can find it quickly if you need to. I want to try to do one Christmas activity each day for the month of December, so I have "Christmas Activity" on my to-do list for each day of the month and will choose from the bucket list one that suits that day. I'm planning to make the same sort of list for new recipes that I want to try and old favorites that I want to be sure to make. Then, when I have to make something to take to a party or serve to guests, I can just consult my list and choose something. (I hope to publish all of these lists on my blog soon.)
5) If you like to take pictures, wish you took more or better pictures, want something creative to do with pictures for Christmas, or need some blog ideas, consider participating in a photo project for the month of December. You do not have to have a fancy camera or a blog...you can publish your photos to facebook if you wish, or keep them to yourself. It's a fun activity that really helps you stop and notice aspects of the holiday season that you might otherwise overlook. Remember...we're about enjoying... Here's the photo project I'll be doing in December...
Being the firstborn of two firstborns of two firstborns, my daughter often exhibits "type A" personality traits and one of those is planning and wanting to know what's going to happen. If you've read much on this blog, you will not be wondering where she gets it from, but trust me, it's from her father too. We're a hopeless cause, let me tell you!
Once she learned the days of the week (quickly followed by the months of the year), she started to understand more about time and the concept of days and weeks and months and she would ask me what was happening each day and when was it going to be ***day and what day was so-and-so coming, etc. Since she can't read yet, I decided to use the calendar in her room and pictures to help her understand when these things she was looking forward to were actually happening.
Now, each month I go on facebook or my storage of pictures or find some clip-art online or all of the above and print off some pictures to coordinate with the key events of that month and then we glue them to the appropriate day. Sometimes she helps me do the gluing and sometimes not. I print them off in thumbnail size and have a running folder saved on my computer of the pictures I use on a regular basis (church, grandparents, etc.)
She loves being able to look at her calendar and she looks forward to each new month when we turn the page. I think it helps her to feel closer to family too since we live away from most of them so that she knows when they are having birthdays, etc.
It's always interesting to know what different people think of as "cozy." This time of year, I am all about soft PJ's, fuzzy socks, scarves, candles, warm drinks, soft music (usually Christmas), lamp light, blankets, and the list goes on. Tonight felt especially cozy in my home, and I was thankful for the blessing of a warm house and those that reside within. I snapped a few pictures to try to capture the coziness...
(We've lived here for 5 1/2 years and I'm finally getting some coverings on the windows. This is part 1 of 2...
I haven't decided for sure what part 2 will look like, but I have a few ideas.)
I love candles...and Autumn.
Wine is always good for making one feel warm and cozy too. :)