Yesterday as I left the flower shop with silver glitter all over my face, it hit me - Christmas is two weeks away! It’s time to get a little festive.
Some of my friends know me to be a bit of a Scrooge. But this is not entirely true, because, in fact, there are parts of the Christmas season that I really do love.
First off, I adore winter. I love the sparkly snow and the chilly weather. I would take a powdery mountain over a Caribbean beach any day. I am quite fond of wintery foods, hot tea, and feather down jackets. I also love the whole concept of “comfort and joy” and the generosity of spirit that can be especially present this time of year.
What I don’t love is the abundant tackiness, the over-commercialization of the holiday and the incessant bad Christmas music every darn place you go, but really, who actually likes all that? Not many of us, if I had to guess.
In honor of the upcoming holiday, whether you’re a Christian or a Hare Krishna, here are a few ideas for fun, festive and wholesome ways to celebrate the season:
1. Bake! Gather a few few friends or kiddos together and bake your favorite cookies or gingerbread men to decorate and give as tasty gifts to family and friends.
2. Get outside and play in the snow! Sure it’s cold, but if you layer up properly, a good day in the snow is exhilirating and wonderfully exhausting. Go downhill skiing, sledding, cross-country skiing, make a snowman, have a snowball fight, tromp around in snow boots and catch snowflakes on your tongue. Breathe in the cold fresh air deeply and relish the beauty of winter.
3. Take a little time from your busy day-to-day life to offer holiday generosity and cheer to those in need. Spend a morning volunteering at a local food bank or soup kitchen or a women’s shelter. In high school the jazz band I sang in would perform at multiple assisted living centers around the holidays; it was always such a wonderful thing to do and greatly enjoyed by the patients.
4. Sing (speaking of singing)! Throw your inhibitions to the wind and go caroling or attend an Evensong event where you can sing traditional hymns. Or, if you’re my mother, simply play a recording of Handel’s Messiah all month long and sing in the house non-stop whether your children like it or not.
6. Bundle up one night with a friend or sweetheart and walk around to admire the Christmas lights. In Denver where we live, the Botanical Gardens do a beautiful lights exhibition that is so fun to see.
7. Skip the tacky decorations and instead bring real evergreens, berries, paperwhite narcissus and amaryllis into your home. It will smell and look beautiful, fresh and seasonal.
8. Wear red lipstick and something sparkly. Be bold and have fun with the holiday spirit, whether dressing for a party or just daily life. This is the time of year when bright red lips, white angora sweaters, sparkly sequins, shiny metallics and green velvets actually work – go for it!
9. Write holiday cards. I love writing and receiving handwritten letters. It’s such a special way to share a little bit of love with your friends and family.
10. Compile a book of photos from the year. At the end of the year, I always make a book of photos for my husband. I give it to him on Christmas morning and we slowly look at each picture, remembering sweet and funny moments shared together.
11. Make homemade hot chocolate and popcorn and cozy up to watch your favorite holiday movie. In our house, It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf, and Love Actually definitely top the list.
12. Get creative with gift-giving. In the season of “buy, buy, buy!” change your tune to “make, make, make!” Homemade gifts are the best, and even if you don’t think of yourself as a “creative” person, absolutely everyone has one thing they can make that their friends will love. I personally like making awesome playlists as gifts. I also love making beauty mists with rose water and homemade salt scrubs with essential oils.
13. Eat peppermint and gingerbread everything! Making brownies? Add peppermint oil! Hot cocoa? Peppermint oil! Making oatmeal? Add molasses and ginger powder! Enjoy the seasonal flavors. Yum!
14. Read a book about the spirit of Christmas. When I was a kid we had a huge stack of books just for the holidays. My favorite was (and still is) “The Holly and the Ivy” with illustrations by Barbara Cooney. My mum read it aloud to us and cried every single time even though she knew the sweet story backwards and forwards.
15. Go to the theatre for classic holiday entertainment. One of my childhood traditions was dressing up to watch The Nutcracker ballet or a local production of The Christmas Carol. It’s such a fun way to gather with others, support local art programs and celebrate the season.
What are you going to do to add more creative, festive sparkle into your life this holiday season?
Love and Blessings!