1. Watch a Christmas movie or holiday show on television. Tape them and watch them on YOUR time, and if you have kids, make it a family event, not just an afternoon babysitter. After all, you watched some of these same shows when you (and your parents) were kids! I’m a huge fan of the classic holiday shows/movies, so you just e-mail me if you need some help with that one.
2. Go see the Christmas lights in the neighborhoods in your pajamas. (BONUS: bring along your favorite hot beverage and tune your radio to the Christmas music station)
3. Drink a mug of hot cocoa under your Christmas tree…if you can fit under there. I’d settle for sitting beside it.
4. Read the Christmas story from the Bible. I also heard (but have yet to get) of a book called “Watch For The Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas” that will really get you thinking in different ways about the significance of the birth of Jesus. Readings from people like C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath, and Henry Nouwen. Not so much for the kiddies, but good for adult contemplation!
5. Open one gift early. Hellur, this might be the most fun idea I have on here!
6. Bake cookies and take a plate to the firefighters. See if you can get a tour. Or just sneak past them and try to slide down the pole (make sure somebody has a camcorder to record this for posterity).
7. Write a letter to Santa to leave on Christmas Eve. If you’re the Santa-believing type.
8. Make a snowman. Make one every time it snows! Make one for every member of your family!
9. Make a snow angel. Just not in your underwear.
10. Pop popcorn and play a board game together, Christmas music optional.
11. Go to the dollar theatre and see a movie. Sneak in a snack, if you dare (actually, we asked once and most theaters don’t care if you bring your own, just don’t advertise it).
12. Go to the library and pick out books about Christmas. Read them together.
13. Give the kids a bath while Christmas carols blare into the bathroom. See who can sing the loudest. This is especially great for me when I’ve had a bad day – I can holler without hurting anyone’s feelings! Best song to do this with: O Holy Night. Trust me, try it.
14. Get or make stocking stuffers for Dad. (or anyone else…but since dads usually get crap gifts, do it for Dad.)
15. Write a note to each member in the family to tell them how special they are and what you love about them. Leave them in their stockings.
16. Draw a holiday picture and send it to a relative. Try sending one to the craziest relative you haven’t seen in a long time. It’ll either freak ’em out or warm their heart.
17. Take a tour of lights in another neighborhood. (HINT: wealthy ones don’t necessarily have the best displays!) Pop popcorn to take with you and blast Christmas carols in the car. Best album for blasting: Trans-Siberan Orchestra, “The Lost Christmas”. When Andrew W. K. comes out with a Christmas album, then that one will be the best. But we’re still waiting.
18. Make an ornament together for the tree. Try to incorporate a picture of your child and have them choose the decorating. Write the year on the back and try to add one of these each year.
19. Bake cookies for yourselves. Eat them all, alternating a Tums every two cookies. Nobody wants indigestion this time of year!
20. Start a holiday memory book. Quote your child and ask them what their favorite thing they had done (so far) was for the holidays. Record what they asked for for Christmas. Take a picture of them on Christmas morning. Or do it all with a camcorder.
21. Print out a holiday coloring page and color it. If you are over the age of 10 and doing this, expect stares. Unless you’re going to send it to that crazy relative of yours.
22. Make Christmas Crackers to put in each stocking. Take tissue paper and cover each toilet paper roll with it. Take ribbon and tie to close one end of the roll. Fill it with candies and confetti (if you wish). Tie the other end with ribbon and place these in each family member’s stocking. To make them extra special, have your child write a note to each family member and tuck them inside.
23. Go to the library and pick out a movie to watch together as a family. Make homemade pizza and curl up together on the couch. I’ve got an easy and tasty pizza dough recipe, so if you need one, e-mail me. Your pizza will be done faster than delivery on a Monday night.
24. Put together a box of items to donate and if you have a child, take your child with you to donate them. Ask them if they would like to contribute something that they have outgrown. Or be sneaky, like my husband, and just donate it for them. Warning: this might not go over so well. So do it at night. (I hope you can sense the sarcasm here!)
25. Serve together at a nursing home, homeless or women’s shelter. Teach your children by example the importance of humility and service to their fellow man. There’s hardly a child too young to participate – even a toddler’s smile will light up a lonely or hurting heart.
26. Research the different Christmas traditions and talk about what they are supposed to represent, and how they can be meaningful to you.
OK, there’s a start…go do one or a few with family or friends and enjoy yourself, for crying out loud!