I'm sure it has always been this way (well, not always) but I have felt overwhelmed and very turned-off by so much of the lingo dealing with "holiday shopping," "the perfect gift." Now, as long as I have the money to do so, I love to give gifts. I'm not coming down on that. (I do think media and consumerism makes us feel like we should be shopping from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24 at midnight for every last deal and gift out there.) I just think it's important to remember all of the wonderful things to do during this time of year that don't require your checkbook and that this season has nothing to do with blowing your budget.
Here's my list of things to do to keep Christmas festive, yet simplified.
You don't have to buy extra fancy decorations, all new ones or any at all. There are plenty of ways to decorate or recycle old decorations in new ways. Just always keep your old decorations from year to year and over time you will get quite the collection!
|I had extra blank stockings from a Christmas party in 2009 |
so I made stockings for all of our animals!
2. Send Christmas cards!
Sure, there is some cost but send a few. It's an easy way to reach out to people and brighten their holiday. I'm still working on wedding thank yous so those are kind of my Christmas cards this year. (Luckily I did find some actual thank you cards that were holiday festive (at the Peddler's Mall of course!) but I definitely should have gotten more...
3. Enjoy FREE town events!
Every town has Christmas events that are free. Bizaars, parades, Christmas tree lightings, plays, recitals...and so on! Even little old Liberty has a Christmas kick-off celebrations.
|Windows in downtown Liberty were decorated on Dec. 1.|
|Tree lighting at the Court House.|
|Free popcorn from the Casey Bank!|
4. Shop...for FUN.
Go on a shopping trip not because you NEED to, not because you're in a panic, but to just spend time with someone. I love being out in the hustle and bustle of the holidays because there is always music playing and everything is decorated so well! Often times you'll also get to enjoy wonderful smells, Christmas lights--maybe even see Santa out and about! For Jon and I, we have enjoyed time strolling about the Peddler's Malls together.
|Jon and I got our angel at the Peddler's Mall for $7 |
this year and we plan to use it for the rest ofour lives!
5. Create and keep tradition!
It is often the little things that MAKE each individual's Christmas season special. Sure, presents are fun but we get presents for our birthday yet we don't think of our entire birth month as a celebratory time. Little traditions can make more than just Dec. 25 special during Christmas time.
|Dec. 6 is St. Nicholas Day! As kids we always left out our|
letters to Santa and usually had a small surprise in the
morning. Jon gave me a small surprise this year which
made the day fun!
6. Presents under the tree... :)
For me, there is just something about seeing pretty packages with bows and ribbons under the tree. We have quite a few presents under the tree for just the two of us...but that's because I find a reason to wrap up anything and everything...even if it's something Jon and I need and we bought together. I am making everything a Christmas present!
7. Listen to music & watch movies!
We all know the music and we all know the movies... And as long as you have a radio and a TV you can enjoy them all! Listen to the music in the car and let the movies play in the background during your day-to-day chores.
8. Make Cookies!
Sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, sprinkles, icing... And maybe your thing isn't cookies. There are so many holiday sweets and treats: puppy chow, reindeer food, peanut brittle, pound cakes, pies, fudge... Homemade goodies is what it boils down to. In my house we made and decorated sugar cookies. Getting to join the Sweeneys and do it with kids makes it that much better!
9. Do something for someone else.
The nature of the season is doing for others. It's why we give presents really: a kind something we can do for others. However, there is something even more special about doing for others that you don't even know and that have never done anything special for you specifically. I hear great stories about wonderful things people do for those in need at this time of year. I hope one day I can be one of those people. For now, though, our family always volunteers a day to ring the Red Kettle Bells for the Salvation Army, which Jon and I did together this year.
10. Make yourself FEEL festive 100% of the time!
I wear my hat everywhere... As long as I have a clean pair I wear my candy cane striped socks... I play Christmas music til I've made everyone sick of it... I burn Christmassy smelling candles.... I keep all of our lights plugged in... It sounds silly but it keeps me in the spirit and while people sort of shake their head at me, a part of them enjoys seeing someone my age THIS excited about Christmas!
|Jon laughed at me for feeling the need to put on my socks, |
hat and red sweats before beginning our tree decorating!
|Enjoyed a girls' day out at Equus Run Winery in Midway, Ky and, yes, I wore|
my red and white and Santa hat!
10 more days of joyous remembrance of this blessed time of year!