1. Bake Christmas Themed Cookies
There's nothing better than getting together with your family, making cookies, decorating them and then tasting them while they're fresh! I can tell you first hand how fun this is because it's something I do every year with my family. We actually baked them last night. This year was especially great because we made both the sugar cookie dough and icing from scratch! Delicious. You can even switch up this tradition by baking different cookies every year or holding a cookie-decorating contest.
2. Watch 'A Christmas Story'
If this movie doesn't get you in the mood for Christmas, then I don't know what will! It is such a classic film about family, being a kid and the excitement of Christmas. If you haven't seen it - you must. (Fun Fact - A Christmas Story was filmed in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio's West Side!)
3. Search for the Best Christmas Lights in Town
Grab a coffee from your favorite place - Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Caribou, wherever - and get in your car. Turn on the station that plays non-stop Christmas music. Bring your friends, family or travel alone. It's your choice. Drive down the main streets in your town. Throughout the neighborhoods. Take the back roads. Keep driving until you find the best Christmas lights display out there. This in itself will be an adventure.
4. Send Christmas Cards
For as long as I can remember, my parents would send out Christmas cards to our friends and family during the holidays. And every year this card included a picture of my sister and I, dressed in our Christmas gear, in front of our Christmas tree or fireplace. This small gesture can really make someone's holiday a little bit brighter. Let them know that you're thinking of them, even if you can't be with them.
Often times people get so caught up in who can buy the biggest and best present and forget that not everyone is as blessed as they are during Christmas. So my personal goal is to give to those who are less fortunate, even if it's just donating my spare change to the people ringing their bell for the Salvation Army. A small action such as this can really go a long way. Keep that in mind the next time you walk by those people outside of the store asking for money.
6. Go Ice Skating
And I don't mean indoors. Find an old-fashioned, traditional outdoor rink! You always see these magical scenes in the movies - couples holding hands, parents guiding their kids, people snuggling close to stay warm - all the while snow is falling over this perfect winter world. So what's holding you back from getting out there and creating this place for yourself? Plus, a hot cup of hot chocolate never tastes better than after an hour or so of ice skating.
7. Turn the Television Off
Seriously. Turn it off. Christmas time is family time, at least that's how I see it. Yes, it's okay to have movie nights during the holidays. But I also think it's very important to focus your energy on spending quality time with your loved ones. The television is just a distraction, it is just an inanimate object. Family is what really matters. Your TV will still be there after Christmas comes and goes, so give it a break. DO something else like play a board game or card game with your family!
8. Share a Kiss Under the Mistletoe
Even if it's just with your pet! This is a holiday tradition that people either love or hate. I've never experienced the situation myself, so I can't judge it - but I wouldn't be opposed to it. I think it's a cute idea. Especially if you have someone in mind you'd like to stand under the mistletoe with ;)
9. Build a Snowman
If you live in an area that gets snow during the winter you, take the time to build a snowman. Not only is it fun, but it's also a form of physical activity that can help you keep off those extra holiday pounds - if you're at all worried about them!
10. Make a Gift for Someone
If you have no idea what to get someone for Christmas, make them something! Instead of wasting money on an item they might return, show them you care by creating something special for them. Personally, I find that the fleece tie blankets are a popular hit for the holidays. Other handmade ideas include ornaments, a homemade treat, a personalized calendar, candles, a mix CD, etc.
(I took this photo a couple of years ago of our Christmas tree)
I hope this holiday list is helpful :)
13 days until Christmas!