November is a great month. We start with peak fall color (which, absent any huge rain/wind storms, has mostly lingered into this second weekend). Then, as the fall leaves dwindle, you can start adding in festive touches — but most of the hectic aspect holds off until after Thanksgiving. What’s not to like?
I’m really looking forward to the holiday season this year. While we are not traveling, that opens up several more days to experience local festivities. So I have a pretty long Holiday Fun List! I spent some time this past week both brainstorming the list and mapping out where things could go on the calendar.
Maybe you’d enjoy creating a Holiday Fun List too. Identifying your top activities gives you lots of big and little adventures to choose from over the next few weeks (per Rule #6 in Tranquility by Tuesday). Here’s what I’d like to make happen before early January, in order to make the season feel festive and memorable:
Run a Thanksgiving 5k with my son. We ran the YMCA’s fun run last year and it went reasonably well, so I signed us up again. I like feeling like I created an appetite for my turkey. (We’ll be visiting family later in the day so I am not hosting this year.)
Visit Dutch Wonderland (and some other outdoor lights). This was my daughter’s addition to the list, so when they had a sale, I grabbed tickets. Dutch Wonderland is a small theme park about an hour away that always has Christmas lights and a few rides open in December. I like holiday light displays in general, because they create an excuse to be out in the evening, walking around. In that spirit, we will also hit Tinseltown a few days after Christmas. We might go see a zoo light display or Sesame Place as well, but I don’t know for sure on those yet.
Go ice skating. My daughter also asked to do this. I’m sure we’ll go in January/February too, but it will be nice to see the actual holiday lights at the outdoor downtown rink.
Visit Longwood Gardens. A reservation has been made, and phew. I was already finding many time slots were booked! We will combine this with a trip to the Brandywine River Museum to see their holiday trains.
Eat breakfast with Santa. One child’s favorite Italian restaurant turns out to be hosting just such a breakfast and tickets were about a third of the price of the Neiman Marcus one I paid for last year. So I jumped on it.
Take a couple trip to NYC! This will be our first time away together overnight since kid #5 was born. We’ve obviously both traveled various places and sometimes on the same night, but we have not gone anywhere together. I have a semi-milestone birthday coming up in early December, so we’ll go out for food the kids won’t eat and to an art museum that would bore several of them.
Actually buy a holiday party dress. While I am putting this on the list, it is, in fact, done. I bought a little green velvet number off Amazon, and I quite like it. Anytime I can get a fancy-looking outfit for $50 I am happy. I’ll wear it to my husband’s office party.
Sing in my choir’s Christmas concert and for Christmas Eve services. This year my oldest son will be joining me! I’ll also be going to his school choir concert, plus the middle schoolers’ band concerts. Christmas brings lots of performances. The little three kids will also be performing in the church Christmas pageant, so given that Christmas Eve is a Sunday, that particular day will feature a lot of church.
Check out some holiday trains. So there is Longwood, and Brandywine, listed above. I also have tickets for the Morris Arboretum’s train display, and we will likely take a day trip out to Lancaster to see the train museum and the Choo Choo Barn.
See The Nutcracker. I do not have tickets to this yet, but it’s kind of a tradition, so I need to figure out which kids want to go and figure out a date.
See the Rockettes! I have never done this before, but we’ve got extended family visiting after Christmas, so we’ll all go into NYC together to see the show (we actually had to go through group sales for our crew…lots of larger families!).
Construct the Christmas Lego set. We’ve already started this one, so it seems like we will finish way before Christmas, but oh well. This year, Lego released an alpine lodge scene which, I kid you not, also includes a little Lego outhouse. The 14-year-old and 12-year-old alternate doing chunks of it with me. I find the pieces for each step in the bags, they put them together. It’s a good activity to do with older kids. I’ve also been doing a Christmas puzzle, but that’s just been me. After I finish this new puzzle, I’ll pull out some Christmas puzzles from years past to do again.
Get matching family pajamas. It will happen, I just need to order them. It’s fun to open them on Christmas Eve and then all wear them on Christmas morning.
Do sibling presents. This is not necessarily “fun” for me. But some of the kids really like it, and it is a way to get them involved and invested in Christmas preparations. So on the list it goes.
Decorate the house. The garland and lights are up on the stairs, and there is Christmas soap already. Plus the 12-year-old’s pretend Starbucks cup that narrowly avoided winding up in the trash (see the picture). Since we have a house manager this year, the decorations might wind up being fairly elaborate.
Read my old Christmas magazines. I’ve saved many from over the years, so it will feel like I’m getting two dozen Christmas magazines. I’ll likely check out some Christmas decoration books from the library too to peruse.
Play Christmas music on the piano. I plucked through “Christmastime is Here” yesterday, and “Jingle Bell Rock.” Trying to learn some holiday music will definitely nudge me to play the piano a little more.
Bake. Really, this is my daughter’s desire, but I can be her sous chef. She wants to do a Christmas baking extravaganza, so at some point we will.
Read Christmas stories with the little guy. Maybe some of the older kids will want to get in on it too. We have quite a library after sixteen Christmases with kids. Last night he and I read Little Blue Truck’s Christmas and Snowmen at Christmas.
What’s on your Holiday Fun List this year?