You guys… it’s holly jolly time. Christmas is 43 days away and I cannot wait. I thought it would be an absolute blast to create a bucket list just like we did for summer and fall, but for the best part of the year! Put on your mittens and the Christmas tunes because you are about to have the best holiday season yet. x
Christmas Lights and Milkshakes
One of my favorite things to do is a) drink a peppermint milkshake from Chick-Fil-A and b) look at all the beautiful light displays. Combine them together… and boom. Christmas wonderland. If you don’t like milkshakes or cold things in the winter, then grab some hot chocolate or your favorite coffee. This is such a simple and cheap way to ring in the Christmas season. Here are some of the best ways to catch lights either locally or anywhere:
- Cincinnati Zoo’s Festival of Lights
- Car Shows:
- Any neighborhood should have lights you can drive through!
Decorating for Christmas with my family might honestly be my favorite part of the season. Putting ornaments on the tree and garland throughout the house while the Amy Grant Christmas album plays… pure nostalgia. Even if the only thing you can decorate is one little corner of your bedroom, I encourage you to blast the tunes and make the best of the season.
Normally my mom is the one whipping up all of the delicious cookies every year, but this year I am gonna put on my apron with her too. I may be coming with a blog post in December of some super (yes, I will actually make them) easy cookie recipes for you all. Even if all you want to do is roll out some Toll House cookie dough and call it a day… don’t pass up on an opportunity to eat chocolate in the name of Christmas!
Hot Cocoa Bar
Peppermint… marshmallows… chocolate. I’m not really sure how it can get any better. Get a sweet little set-up with jars of marshmallows, peppermint sticks, cocoa powder, whipped cream, and anything you may want to dunk. Take advantage of every little area of your cozy home this winter.
This is actually not something I will be participating in this year. I stink at ice skating and it terrifies me… but it’s so cute! I have done it before and it just feels like the most magical winter activity. Nearly every town has an ice skating rink close by but here is the best place to go locally:
Black Friday Festivities
This is actually something I was extremely against for years until I realized how much fun it is. You don’t actually have to buy anything, but going out with your family at night after a Thanksgiving feast is honestly a blast. Last year, my family hit up Target and we had so much fun watching people freak out over deals. Even better- many Black Friday deals are actually starting as early as November 19th so you can get your shopping done before Thanksgiving cooking even begins. Here are some of my favorite ads for Black Friday:
Christmas Movie Night
Bring on the Christmas jammies because it is movie season. My December is usually filled with binge-watching The Crown, every Star Wars movie, and every Christmas movie I can possibly squeeze into 25+ days. Having friends and family over to watch these movies (or just by yourself… that’s fun too) makes it all the better. My family loves to do a couple of theme nights each year in accordance with some of the best Christmas movies:
- Polar Express Night
- Hot chocolate… what more can I say?
- Grinch Night (Jim Carrey only)
- My mom and dad have given us the sweet tradition of making green pancakes, eggs, and milk while watching this movie since we got the movie circa 2001 (or at least as long as I can remember). Everything is a little better in green.
Gift wrapping is an event… trust me. I love to take advantage of every little part of Christmas by bringing a little cheer and magic to it. I love gift wrapping with my sister. Last year we watched a funny Christmas movie and just enjoyed each other’s company (until it came time to wrap each other’s gifts, of course). She’s so artsy and innovative with her wrapping… it’s truly inspiring and a work of art. Oh, and don’t forget the peppermint mochas!
Decor “Window” Shopping
This is something my sister and I do with my mom and it always becomes a lot more than window shopping… For example, we went to Hobby Lobby to “look” at trees on Friday and ended up bringing one home along with a pillow and some fun gift wrapping stuff. I love looking at all the decorations and trying to figure out my “Christmas style.” Sometimes it’s just fun to be with your favorite ladies, trying really hard to not pile up all of the Christmas mugs too high.
My family grew up celebrating the “12 days of Christmas,” but the word “advent” is a new one to me. Advent is essentially the countdown to Christmas starting on December 1st. The goal of advent is to celebrate Christmas (and really, Jesus) in a small or big way every day. Whether it’s reading a Bible verse while drinking your favorite holiday drink or doing one of the many things I’ve listed, it’s so important to take every day during this crazy season and remember to have a bit of fun and relax.
This is something that, besides gifts, is often the center of holiday stress. I know that hosting can be stressful and cramming every last event into your calendar can seem overwhelming. As an introvert, holiday parties are a whole other kind of stress. I urge you not to have stress this year and instead celebrate the fact that you get to spend time with friends, family, and yes, even coworkers. Host your own small get together just to show your besties or your close family how much you care! It is the season for giving and joy, after all.
Take Time to Remember the Reason for the Season
I put this last for emphasis… it’s the most important. As a Christian, this season is a reflection on the beautiful gift God gave us: Jesus. Like Easter, reflecting on the miracle of life and the truly magnificent gift we do not deserve is enough to bring me to tears. In the midst of all of it, remember who started it. If you aren’t a Christian, don’t forget that this is still a time for giving and loving your neighbor. Try and volunteer somewhere this season, love on your friends and family a little extra, and remember those who are no longer here. Christmas is beautiful in so many ways, don’t forget that this year.
Phew! That’s it! I have, like normal, attached an actual checklist for you to cross off with a blank one for you to create your own. I hope you have the most magnificent holiday season ever! x