Steal my ideas, friends! Some of the things that are making my holiday season especially meaningful may be things you want to try, too. Here are my top five!
- I know this is a little (a lot?) controversial, but we put our Christmas tree up really early this year—as in the Saturday before Thanksgiving! I would love to be able to do this every year. It was less stressful giving this project its own day, and since I was home the week of Thanksgiving, it was a joy to me to be able to sit by the light of the tree for some period of each day. I hope we can continue this tradition, but in the event that it doesn’t work out, I think that lighting some candles for some serenity each day might have as similar effect and possibly something I could do after we take the tree down. To make this happen, I might need to purchase some more candles and leave them out all the time. I am not one to light a candle and let it burn for hours, but I do like something to signify the special time when I am reading the Word, praying, meditating or writing in my journal.
- This second activity flows well with the first—I have been drinking more hot cocoa (and coffee) than ever before. Both hot chocolate and hot cocoa share health benefits, and both add to the cozy, holiday feeling. I am not a fan of the overly rich, candy-bar essence of the kind of hot chocolate that’s served at coffee bars. I will use marshmallows or whipped cream occasionally, but I really enjoy my hot cocoa best plain. Well, in a pretty Christmas mug.
- Scripture writing plan! I have considered scripture writing a type of Bible journaling that I have never explored. I am doing an Advent study this year, but I really wanted something that would be a little more engaging with the scriptures, so I found a 31 day December writing plan on Pinterest, and I am joyfully taken aback by how much I enjoy it and look forward to it every day. It includes scriptures from various books of the Bible, prophesying the birth of Christ or telling the actual story of his birth. Doing this daily definitely makes me more reflective about the meaning of the season.
- After several years of thinking about it and putting it off, I took time to make my own Christmas playlist. It includes all of my favorites from religious songs and hymns to Home Free, Straight No Chaser, and Celtic Woman to Snoopy and the Red Baron Christmas. This playlist delights me and makes me want to sing and dance, worship and reflect. It is an amazing list that continues to grow. Everyone should do this—maybe everyone already has? I wish I hade done this years ago.
- Here’s a favorite highlight so far. My husband works in an industry that is busiest this time of year. He is also working at making many of the Christmas gifts we are giving this year. With those circumstances, I was lamenting our lack of time together to do romantic, Hallmark movie-like things as a couple. This is a bit of a challenge anyway because we live in a remote area, but a couple of Sundays ago, he was determined to take me out to lunch in the midst of an already packed day. I came home after church and felt inspired to make our mid-day meal special instead of going to a restaurant. I already had food cooking, so I decided to use our fancy Christmas plates (that had previously only been on display as part of the décor) and light all of our candles to make our meal at home more special. I enjoyed this more than I would have going to a restaurant because besides having time with my husband, it helped me to take more pleasure in something we already had. It also sort of surprised me—I don’t consider myself the kind of person who “saves” things for special occasions, but apparently, I was saving those plates to just be decorations and not actually use them.
So, quickly, here are my take-aways:
- I love time to sit and think and be still during the holidays! Set up an atmosphere that makes this an enchanting part of your day: Christmas lights or candles, hot beverages, anything to increase the cozy!
- Connect with God! Scripture writing, special Bible study, worship music. Don’t be afraid to try something new.
- Create new rituals. Be creative and consider ways to enjoy what you already have on hand.