Time passes whether we think about how we are spending it or not. Since the holidays tend to be relatively busy (or "full" to use a word I like better) it is easy to wake up one morning around Christmas and realize you haven't done the things that make the holidays feel like the holidays.
So a few years ago, I started making a holiday fun list. This is a list of things I want to do between Thanksgiving and New Year's to feel appropriately festive. It has some similarities to the summer fun list, and is one of the lists I make in my planning process. Here is the 2016 version:
The literary Advent calendar. The kids open one book a night between the start of December and Christmas. Most of these books are repeats from last year (after 2 years of this, I am starting to have a good library of Christmas stories!) though I will add in some new ones too.
Sassy the Elf. He (or possibly she) appears around the beginning of December and continues appearing daily in new locations to report back to Santa. Fortunately, Sassy knows that the only rooms he/she is allowed to visit are the kitchen and living room. Sassy knows Mommy does not want kids tearing through the house hunting for the elf while she is trying to sit quietly and have her coffee. I will say, I am a wee bit nervous on this one. Mommy is traveling a great deal during December so we shall see if Sassy moves daily as expected or experiences occasional back injuries precluding movement.
Advent services. I will not make all four Sundays, but I will make most. Also, my kids will be in the Christmas Eve pageant again.
Breakfast with Santa at Longwood Gardens. I had to sign up for this in October! We will use the occasion to see the poinsettias, trees, and train as well.
Cookie baking. I am not so much into Christmas cookies themselves, but oh, I love the dough. We will also make a gingerbread house at some point (we have the kit!)
A Christmas concert. Not sure exactly which one yet. I like hearing brass and choral music. Worst case scenario I will play some old CDs.
The Nutcracker. The 9-year-old and 5-year-old want to go, so this is a reminder to me to buy tickets.
An adults-only trip into NYC. See the lights, eat somewhere festive. My two other grown-up nights in December will be my birthday dinner, and my husband's office Christmas party. I guess those could go on the list as well, but they tend to happen regardless of whether I make a list.
Involving the kids in giving. The older kids are big enough to think about giving presents, not just getting them. So this year I'm going to have them think about presents for each other and the grandma who will be spending Christmas with us (even if I'm still paying for the presents) and also about causes we can donate to. We've done Heifer Project in the past, and they like the idea of giving families goats or chickens. Of course, they may use the occasion to bring up (again!) that they want me to get them a dog or cat for Christmas. But I'm kind of tapped out on caring for living critters around here.
What's on your holiday fun list this year? And I welcome more suggestions for the literary Advent calendar.
Photo: Festive fall color