I've baked more cookies this season than I care to think about. My mother hosted a charity Cookie Walk at the VFW Post last weekend and I baked about 20 dozen cookies. Then our family had a traditional Cookie Exchange this week and where I handed out adorable snowman cookies and received back 7 dozen delicious varieties of cookies (which will mostly be given away as gifts). I'm all cookied out!
Earlier this season I made the decision to not put up my Christmas tree this year. Not that I'm being a hum-bug or anything... just that if I put up Christmas decorations I'll only have to find time to take them down in January sometime. With my schedule so hectic and all these parties going on, I'm not home very often in the first place. Plus, I am enjoying everyone else's decorations when I go visit them. So don't feel bad for me, I'm glad I made that decision.
Today is December 17th and I have purchased a grand total of THREE gifts and many, many more to go. And let's not even begin to discuss wrapping gifts yet. But I'm not stressed because I have a plan. Today I'll review my shopping list and determine what everyone will get and where it can be bought. Then I'll hit Amazon later this evening and order as many gifts as I can online to save my sanity and avoid battling the crowds in the stores. Whatever items I need to buy locally I'll do that in the stores with as much cheer and fortitude as possible. Having a detailed and specific shopping list helps keep me focused and on-budget with my Christmas shopping for sure!
Slowing down is essential during this time of the year.
Between now and Christmas I plan to schedule as much down-time as possible so I can enjoy this most sacred season. Here are the top 5 things I'm doing to slow down and enjoy Christmas this year:
- Listen to Christmas Music. I have been tuned into K-Love Radio as much as possible. They have a Christmas-Music-Only station available on their website and it's awesome! You can also create a custom radio station on Pandora Radio with your favorite style of Christmas music.
- Watch Christmas Movies. The Hallmark Channel is always good for a sentimental Christmas special. ABC Family channel has the 25 Days of Christmas movie line up. And of course, you have to make time for watching It's a Wonderful Life or Charlie Brown Christmas.
- Enjoy the Christmas tree in the dark. One of the best things in the world is to turn off all the lights in the house except the lights on the Christmas tree then just sit and enjoy the beauty of the twinkling lights. Since I don't have a tree this year, I'll do the same thing with a row of candles on my fireplace hearth.
- Spread the Joy of Christmas. With all the Christmas cookies I baked this year I have lots and lots to give away and share. Everyone loves to receive a small plate of homemade cookies, right? Why not visit an elderly neighbor bringing cookies and eggnog and staying for a visit. Or find a local choir who will be singing in the neighborhood and go Christmas caroling. When I was young my church would prepare cookie trays for the shut-ins and go sing at their door as we delivered the goodies.
- Attend a Christmas Program, Play or Concert. Local churches put on the greatest programs every year (have you heard the crazy song by Bunch of Believers called Putting on a Play? Hilarious!) Also check the local theaters, playhouses and community organizations for concerts or plays going on all during the month of December. My local historic theater has several concerts to choose from! The Sweet Adelines are singing this weekend and I'll be there enjoying their beautiful harmonies.
And one more bonus tip:
- Give thanks to God. Remember that this season is a celebration of the gift God sent to us when Jesus was born. Be sure to take time away from the hustle of the baking and shopping and decorating to thank the Lord for his bountiful blessings in our lives.
Enjoy the next week leading up to Christmas and remember to take a bit of down-time for yourself!