The most wonderful time of the year: My 2018 Holiday Fun List

We are fast closing in on the holiday season, which means it’s time for my annual Holiday Fun List. I’ve created seasonal fun lists for summer, winter, fall…and of course the holidays, long a staple of the genre.

The purpose: Time keeps passing whether or not we think about how we are spending it. Pausing to consider how we can create memories, and celebrate special occasions, vastly increases the chances that this time is spent mindfully.

That said…I’m dragging into the end of this year. It has been a wonderful year in so many ways. It has also involved a lot of activity, personally and professionally. I started writing this post on the train into NYC yesterday, where I had a publicity meeting about Juliet’s School of Possibilities. I wound up being — wait for it — comically late to this meeting about promoting a book on time management. Then it was off to speak to a corporate client in New Jersey. The logistics of getting there (well, more specifically, home) were complicated, as I didn’t have my car (because driving into NYC on a rainy morning at rush hour seemed like a great way to wind up sitting in Holland Tunnel traffic for 90 minutes). That was yesterday’s logistics. Today I’ on a plane somewhere else.

So my appetite for holiday planning is limited. Consequently, the holiday fun list is also limited. But! We will still do a few things. If I/we do these things — plus a few holiday parties we wind up attending — it will be a good holiday season. I suspect some bonus cookie-baking and such will also happen…but I’m not going to hold myself to it.

Anyway, the holiday fun list:

Sing in a Christmas concert + a Christmas Eve service. Thanks to joining the church choir last year, these both are going to happen. I think I will only sing in the 7 p.m. Christmas Eve service, and not the 11 p.m. one. I feel like going to a midnight-ending service vastly increases the chances that Santa has problems at our house. I like singing Christmas music; while it’s fun to learn new music, there’s something to be said for the old workhorses. Christmas services involve singing a lot of pieces one has sung before.

Watch the kids in the Christmas pageant. I just emailed the church secretary to sign up the older three kids. So this should happen as well.

Go visit Santa at Longwood. Tickets went on sale in October. I put the date on my calendar and logged on right as the event link went live. As a result, I have tickets for 6 of us at the same table close to Santa for my preferred date. Boo yah. This will also involve seeing the Christmas-decorated green house.

Go to a holiday railway. I have tickets for an evening celebration at another local arboretum. As this is outdoors and a specific night, I’m hoping for non-sleeting conditions.

Take some solo, non-rushed shopping trips. I would like to carefully consider what I’m buying the various people on my list, and build in some shopping days enough ahead of time that I’m not buying stuff just because I know I need stuff.

Do something festive for my birthday. I haven’t planned anything. I have some hope that someone else will take this on, but that may be wishful thinking.

Write a Christmas sonnet. I should have plenty of creative writing time opening up once NaNoWriMo is over…Seriously, I said I’d write a collection of seasonal sonnets this year, and if I write a Christmas one, I will be up to 4. Perhaps I should be grateful that I was vague on the definition of a collection in my 2018 goal setting.

Read our favorite Christmas stories out loud. I have decided not to do the “literary Advent calendar” this year (in which the kids open a wrapped book each night). We fell behind last year, the kids weren’t interested every night, I was traveling a lot…But I am going to make sure to read the handful I really like to the 3-year-old and 7-year-old. I’m also going to read A Christmas Carol to the big boys. We started this week. Dickens is fun to read out loud.

Have SHU come visit! We’re having a holiday playdate.

Savor all the December issues of my favorite magazines. I have become a student of holiday issues of women’s magazines. I have built up my collection of December issues from the 1950s and 1960s, and I love seeing what has changed and what has not. There’s also a strong fantasy element to some of the titles (I’m thinking the Martha Stewart Living story last year on Martha’s party where guests were greeted on the porch with freshly shucked oysters. Sorry SHU…I don’t think there will be oysters on my porch!)

What’s on your holiday fun list this year?

In other news: Congrats to long time friend-of-the-blog Dan Schawbel on his new book, Back to Human, which came out yesterday. The book is about how leaders can create connection in the age of isolation. It was just named a Financial Times Book of the Month selection for November.

9 thoughts on “The most wonderful time of the year: My 2018 Holiday Fun List

    1. @Anna – well, the Grinch is always a favorite. I kind of like Cranberry Christmas. Richard Scarry’s The Night Before The Night Before Christmas. Polar Express. How Santa Got His Job. The Wild Christmas Reindeer (but mostly for the illustrations). Who’s That Knocking On Christmas Eve? (also a Jan Brett one). Joy to the World (the 3-story Tomie dePaola — spelling? I’m butchering that but typing this on the fly). Christmas Farm. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree – though that’s a bit of a tear jerker! And of course, A Christmas Carol.

      I welcome suggestions of others! I read through the Little House treasury last year and mostly enjoyed it.

      1. If you are looking for something which highlights Jesus’s Christmas story I highly recommend “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” where an unlikely group of children learns about the meaning of Christmas for the first time and make the Christmas Pageant ever more meaningful.

  1. I LOVE that you are a collector of holiday magazines-I have been doing the same thing for years. Sad to see that some of my old favorites have disappeared.

    1. Celebrating my birthday is also on my 2018 Holiday Fun List. My birthday is on December 23, 2018. My husband, David, and I will go out to dinner on that day. We do not have children. Seasons 52 is a possibility! I love their food. They do their menus by season so I think my birthday will be on the Winter Menu!

      We have many Holiday Concerts: A Christmas Cantata at Church done by our Chancel Choir and David is in a Community Choir. They will do three Holiday Concerts, two at churches and one at a nursing home. It is always fun to hear the Cantores Community Choir.

      I hope your family has Happy Holidays. I always like hearing your Podcasts even though I do not intend on having children.

  2. We do an activity Advent calendar with our kids (ages 11, 8, 5, 3). It takes some planning, but I enjoy it. Many things on it are things we would do anyway and they just have to go into the right spot on the advent calendar (visit santa, see the nutcracker, bake Christmas cookies). Many are really simple and can be done with our Au Pair (write a letter to santa, read a Christmas book at bedtime). Some are my way of getting my kids to think of someone other than themselves (make a donation to charity, choose 2 toys to give away). Some are ways to feel cozy when it is dark from 4:30p.m.-7:30 am (light candles at dinner, have hot chocolate at breakfast). This will be our third year doing this and I really enjoy it and I think the kids do to. Also key I keep a few super easy ones and if I realize the next day’s activity isn’t going to work after all (go look at Christmas lights but it is blizzarding) I can sub something in after to the kiddos go to bed and they are none the wiser.

  3. I can relate to your December magazines’ reading activity – I always take an afternoon off sometime in December, while the kids are at school, and spend it in Barnes & Nobles reading all those colorful magazines, and treating myself to lunch, coffee and dessert there! I am soo looking forward to this every year!

  4. I was just thinking that I could maybe get another year out of the picture book Advent tradition, but I didn’t want to buy any new picture books for my girls as they are not reading them anymore. So I think we’ll do a “togetherness activity” advent countdown – I’ll make a bunch of cards in envelopes with an activity for the day – read from a couple of holiday chapter books, play games, drink hot cocoa by the fire, go outside to look at stars, etc. I should probably start getting that list together 🙂

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