Every year around mid-fall, I start to think about Christmas and, more specifically, advent. If you grew up in a family that celebrates Christmas, you have undoubtedly seen one of those cute calendars that counts the days down until the big day. Some have little boxes with candy in them; others have small gifts or slips of paper with holiday-themed activities on them.
Leave it to Pinterest to provide parents with the DIY pressure of creating elaborate things like these to celebrate the season:
Those are just a taste of the amazing projects available out there. If you’re one of the amazing moms and dads out there who has the time to create something like this, not to mention come up with 24 different holiday-themed activities, I tip my hat to you. But the fact of the matter is that’s just not me.
The past few years, I have put pressure on myself to create something festive like this. I inevitably fail or run out of time, and we end up winging it. That’s all fine and good, but I can do better than that! The first step though is realizing that I’m the only me, and as such I need to come up with the only-me way of celebrating the holiday season.
Funny enough, I sat next to my husband the other night and made him brainstorm activities with me. (WHY?!) The very next morning, I did my usual website check – of my favorite social media sites, news, and other blogs – and came across this:
Several things caught my eye about this holiday schedule.
(1) There are NOT 24 solid days of Christmas-y activities scheduled.
Let’s be honest; I’m probably not going to take my family caroling on a Tuesday night or deliver homemade treats to all my neighbors on a Monday. Little things like work and school make most weeknights crazy enough without trying to squeeze in a mandatory “fun” activity.
(2) Several days combine activities.
Maybe we do want to go ice skating and enjoy hot chocolate. There’s no rule that says you have to spread the activities out just to make sure every day is covered. Why NOT combine some things to create more full, substantial days? Besides, something like drinking hot chocolate should hardly count as its own event.
(3) Some things on the list are just for mom.
It’s Christmas for me too, right? I love, love, love the fact that there’s some self-care going on here. A holiday mani? Champagne girls’night? Yes, please! I think all too often mamas (and daddies) forget about themselves a little this time of year. Obviously, I love my son and want him to have a magical Christmas…but how much more pleasant will I be after a little pampering and time with my friends? Much. The answer is much more pleasant.
So, I took a deep breath, and listed out the things I actually WANT to do in December.
- Take Miles to see Santa at Macy’s. It has become a tradition that I love, and making an appointment makes it pretty painless.
- Help Miles sort through his toys and give some to the less fortunate. We want him to grow up to be a kind and generous man. That starts now!
- Decorate our apartment. In NYC, space comes at a premium, but I still love to deck our halls as much as possible.
- Ladies’ Night! Honestly, I hadn’t even thought of that as an advent activity, but why not? I want to celebrate with my friends, too.
- FOWLER FAMILY CHRISTMAS!!! Every year, we alternate spending Christmas with our parents (one year in Kansas City, one year in Miami) – which means we’re never home for actual Christmas. Instead, we pick a day before we go to celebrate at home. I’ll bake cookies, we’ll play Christmas music, and we’ll open some of our presents.
We’ll also probably watch some holiday movies and read some Christmas books…but only if/when we want to. No more pressure because this time of year should be happy, not stressful.
What are YOUR favorite holiday activities? Any fun, creative traditions I should try out? No promises. I’m trying to keep things simple this year.