That’s particularly important around the holidays, which are all about conjuring up special feelings. Longtime readers know — as we head into Thanksgiving next week — that I’m not into simplifying the season. Indeed, to me, Christmas is a great occasion to consciously make time feel a little more full and rich. Much like the season’s cuisine! I’m especially cognizant of that this year, when January will bring a newborn who — for all his cuteness — will make going out in fancy clothes more complicated.
A side note: We have a fair amount planned because we are not traveling anywhere this year (due to the impending arrival of said newborn). The kids are out of school for 8 days or so, and we have been making daily plans to avoid going stir crazy.
So here’s what’s on the holiday fun list this year:
Matching family pajamas! I bought these but we have not tried them on yet. I got winter-themed ones so we’ll get some post-Christmas use out of them. And I bought an 0-3 month size one! He’ll be part of the family, so why not make it official?
Learn to play Linus and Lucy. I’d put this on a previous goal list and not done it. I finally ordered the sheet music for the Charlie Brown Christmas show. I’ve played it through a few times. Kind of tricky, as I’ve not done jazz piano before. But I’m enjoying a new challenge, especially now this year when I have a real piano!
Build the Lego Gingerbread house. My 10-year-old and 8-year-old are assisting on this project. Next year we will not be able to leave small Lego pieces in accessible places, so this is the year for putting together the 1000-piece sets. There are 200-plus steps, and we’re at about 50, so this may take all the way to Christmas.
Put candles in the windows. We have done this (electric candles, of course), and it really makes the house look welcoming as dark comes early.
Philadelphia Zoo LumiNature. We have tickets for the zoo’s new winter light show. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve done with this.
The Choo Choo Barn. This train display in a small strip mall store in Lancaster was honestly one of my holiday highlights last year. We’ll likely go over Thanksgiving, and may also stop by the PA Railroad museum, and possibly Dutch Wonderland for their lights.
Sing in my choir’s Christmas concert in mid-December, and on Christmas Eve (7:30 p.m. service). I can see from upcoming music lists that we’re singing “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree,” which is one of my favorite pieces. The concert also features the Brandywine Brass. I don’t think I’ll sing in the midnight service, lest that result in Santa skipping our house, but I love singing Christmas music, and I’ll be doing a lot of that this month.
Go on a festive “baby moon” with my husband. It’s more of a mini-moon, but we plan to go to New York City, possibly take in an art museum, go out to eat, sleep in a hotel, and do brunch the next day.
See the Nutcracker. This is a holiday tradition at this point. My three older children, and my mother-in-law (who is visiting for the holidays) will accompany me to the PA Ballet’s production.
See the Morris Garden Railway. Another holiday train display! We may have gotten tickets to just about every holiday light show in the greater Philadelphia region….
Longwood Gardens Christmas lights. We normally do breakfast with Santa, but I never saw anything about that this year. So, instead, I got tickets to walk around and see the lights after dark.
Host my extended family holiday party. Now that my parents have moved to the East Coast, we’re all within two hours from each other. I know tradition calls for a Christmas dinner ham but the truth is…I don’t like ham. Maybe I can supplement with something else. Tenderloin?
See the kids in the church Christmas pageant. All four of them are now old enough to be in it!
See the Cirque du Soleil Christmas show. Another one we got tickets for in order to get the kids out of the house. We’ve got cousins visiting for a while too, so we’re also looking at Disney on Ice, Elmwood Park Zoo’s Wild Lights…
Purchase gifts in a calm and orderly fashion. My husband and I have made a pact to really think through what we’re giving each kid, so we can avoid realizing late that we’ve forgotten something, or one kid is getting a lot more than someone else, and so forth. In general, it’s better to shop early and thus preserve the option to triage later, rather than being forced into gifts you aren’t thrilled about. The goal is happy faces on Christmas morning, without a lot of junk that doesn’t get played with.
What’s on your holiday fun list this year?