Is it just me or does the holiday season seem to start a little earlier every year? Maybe it's because Thanksgiving was early this year. Or maybe it's because I'm... ahem! ...getting older. In any case, ready or not, the Christmas season is upon us again.
Frankly, I have mixed feelings about all the hoopla surrounding the holidays. So much commercialism. The pressure to meet expectations. Financial considerations. If I'm not careful I can let these issues overshadow the reason we celebrate.
This year I've decided to focus particularly on the simple things I enjoy about the season. In no particular order here are some of my favorite activities leading up to Christmas:
- The lights. Since it gets dark so early this time of year, I love to look at the holiday light displays all over town. It has become a tradition in my family to spend one evening later in December driving around looking at lights. We take along hot cocoa and candy canes, and we listen to Christmas episodes of old time radio comedies in the car.
- The small gift exchanges. My daughters and I love to bake and put together goody bags for our neighbors and other casual acquaintances. I also enjoy receiving small gifts like that. And it may seem silly... but I also like "white elephant" gift exchanges. It's fun to see what people come up with to give, and it's never very expensive. (Did you notice the outdated Intro to Word Processing book in Sonlight's Christmas sale? At $1.12 it would make a perfect white-elephant gift... especially for your techno-geek friends!)
- Not shopping. I'm definitely a Scrooge when it comes to shopping. I try to get my Christmas shopping done early and/or online. It's probably not any less "commercial" but it's so much quicker and easier, and far less stressful.
- Christmas cards. Regrettably, this seems to be a dying tradition, as we receive fewer every year. Still, I look forward to the mail coming each day during December. It's great to hear from friends and relatives we don't see very often. We display the cards we receive on the mantle, and we like to watch the collection grow as Christmas gets closer.
- Heart-warming stories. Time to pull out favorite Christmas classics, whether it be in book, audio, or video format. I'm always happy to discover a new "favorite" as well. (Why Do We Call It Christmas? looks like a great DVD to add to our collection!)
What are your favorite Christmas activities? I'd love to hear about them!
Enjoying the adventure,