Whether you technically celebrate this time of the year or not, you have to admit there's something so awesome about Christmas
Depending on your age and location, I'll bet your thankful for this season. From the thrill of fireworks to a yearning for white Christmas, singing out loud to your favourite carols, eating way too much food and relishing the taste of mulled wines. Or maybe you'll have some fun with younger kids finding Santa. Even if you will just be curled up in bed thankful for work free days, there's often something for everyone.
But, lest we simply sit and count the days to December 25, let's remember that technically, Christmas isn't just a day. It's a season!
That's why if you're being honest with yourself, you'll agree that like me you probably run into someone on January the 3rd and the words 'Merry Christmas' will kind of fall off your lips.
Don't worry, you're not too wrong as some people say the Christmas season ends on the Sunday between the 2nd and the 8th. And that the Christmas tree should get taken down somewhere between these days. As for when the season starts, it's generally believed to be the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
This period right up to Christmas Eve is called Advent - which is just a really fancy name for 'arrival'. And we are expected to eagerly await and enjoy the arrival of Christmas.
You've probably come across this quote that says "Enjoy the Process", or something related to the fun, thrill and purpose being in the process.
I was also quite intrigued by this quote I saw on my cousin's Twitter page "The thrill is in the journey, not necessarily the destination. If the titanic had reached its destination it would have been just another ship".
Hold on . That's not to say we won't reach our destinations. We will! But how boring if we failed to enjoy and soak in every moment of the ride
So during Advent and while we count down, it's great to make everyday of the season count by doing little (or big) things to spread joy, show love + compassion and of course have fun.
An excellent way to fully participate in Advent is to have an Advent calendar! They are pretty popular and most people, whether religious or not tend to have a 24 day calendar starting from the 1st to the 24th of December and filled with all sorts of activities. I genuinely think it's a great tradition for couples and families
All you have to do is whip out a sheet of paper and create 25 squares. Write out dates December 1 -25 on each and populate them with activities to do on each day. You can also find a free printable template on line. Obviously the 25th box in mine will probably say 'Celebrate Christmas. Be joyful and eat! (the calories won't count)'.
I've come across advent activity lists that are not feasible to me. i.e 3 separate days to bake a Christmas cookie, a ginger bread man and a Christmas cake. Some others involve just fun and
I think these are do - able, so without much ado, here's a list of 24 activities we can actually do:
Charity & Love for Others
- Pick out and donate your old clothes and shoes to a charity store or to the poor
- Do a random act of kindness - and don't tell anyone!
- Call a few people you have not spoken to in a while. Where necessary, mend broken relationships.
- Purchase and wrap Christmas gifts, for family and send out Christmas cards
Faith and Christian activities
- Start an advent devotion. There's some really great ones on the Youversion bible app
- (Re) read the biblical story of the birth of Jesus
- Write a thanksgiving / birthday letter to Jesus
- Attend a nativity play - act a part if possible. (As a kid, I totally acted as Mary)
- Buy some scented candles and light them up on each Sunday of advent. Remind yourself that you have the light of Christ and you are like a lamp set on a hill
- Attend a special Christmas church service. i.e on Christmas Eve
- Buy a new gift or essential item for a less privileged child. Think how Mary & Joseph really relied on strangers help
Fun with Family & Friends
- Plan your Christmas menu - make sure there's something 'Christmassy' on it e.g. A red velvet cake with green trimmings for dessert! I hope to include some some star and tree shaped cookies in mine.
- Hang up your Christmas tree, lights and decorations
- Sing your favourite carols at home. Dance and make a video for if you wish
- Take goofy Christmas photos (selfies are fine) with Christmas props if possible
- Design and create your Christmas cards. This year I'll be doing both physical cards and e cards.
- Watch your favourite Christmas movie. I'm tempted to say 'Home Alone' but I think I'll watch something else. What's your favourite Christmas movie?
- Take the kids to a Santa grotto or attend a Christmas theme park or holiday event with friends
- Organise a secret Santa gift exchange - with colleagues at work or with online friends.
- Play a Christmas game. You could find a Christmas cross word or puzzle on the web or simply take turns in saying a Christmas word that begins with each letter of the alphabet. The latter may be a tough one.
Bits & Pieces
- Pick out your favourite destination in the world and find out one fun thing about how they celebrate Christmas there
- In the spirit of gratitude write out all the things you're thankful for since last Christmas
- Write out three major things you hope to achieve by next Christmas
Obviously, these are just ideas and you're free to amend. If you also can't do 24 days it's okay to have an activity every other day. So sort of like your own 12 days of Christmas.
If we think about it, most of us probably do a good number of this during the Christmas season. I know last year we got Christmas jumpers, took photos, visited WinterWonderland in London, designed and sent out Christmas cards to friends, volunteered, got our first Christmas tree (from a Charity shop), attended a Nativity play etc. But we may have squeezed these into the last few days of the season and not thoroughly enjoyed the process.
So this year, I'm hoping to be intentional, spread out the activities and enjoy the build up to Christmas.
I've already got secret santa going on at the office. I was so close to picking up the phone to ask my colleague what they wanted for Christmas, before I remembered it was to be a secret. Phew.
Do you think you'll try this activity calendar? What's your best part of Christmas and what are your plans this Christmas? Let us know!
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