Help! If you are like me, by the time Christmas actually arrives, you are spent.
I truly want to celebrate this beautiful feast for 12 days, but it seems that after many Advent activities along with all the other Christmas parties that happen before Christmas, I can’t handle any more “celebrating.” I make it through Midnight Mass and the next morning of Merry Christmas gift exchanges, and then I am done.
I want to put away all of the decorations, declutter the house, and get some sleep. Somehow, I do manage to put on a smile and enjoy the break and make it to New Years, but just barely. Over the past several years, I’ve been working on trying to fix this.
I desire a simple, quiet, reflective Advent followed by a joyful Christmas celebration—that can last 12 days!
Possible? I’ve yet to figure it all out. So much of it is my attitude. And even though attitude is something internal, our external circumstances can certainly help shape it. If you want to read my suggestions for a simpler, more meaningful Advent, you can go to my webpage about it.
Here are some easy Christmas suggestions that we have used in the past few years that have helped us to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas, without it feeling too much like an endurance race.
The 12 Cookies of Christmas
Every day we make and eat a different Christmas cookie. What fun is this! And, yes, take requests and post your final plan. It will be the first thing everyone looks at when they arise from their slumber. And knowing that we are going to do this helps me resist the temptation to bake during Advent. (Thus making Advent simpler!) (Although you might want a few in the freezer for any of the 12 days that you will be too busy to cook, like Christmas day.)
The 12 Movies of Christmas
We have a list of 12 movies that we are going to watch together during the Christmas season. Some are traditional Christmas movies, like It’s a Wonderful Life and Home Alone, but we also add some new releases and a trip to the movie theatre. (Knowing we are going to do this also keeps us out of the movie theatres between Thanksgiving and Christmas—not that there is anything wrong with this, but it makes Christmas “special” and on a practical note, the season’s new releases aren’t as full.) 12 seems like a lot, but just making a list of 12 and posting them is a lot of the fun.
Family Field Trips
Plan some family field trips like those holiday light displays or ice skating. I actually put those on my calendar now when I don’t feel so “spent.” If it is scheduled and put on the family calendar, I am more likely to follow through.
Gifts for the 12 Days of Christmas
I have actually tried this before, but with a large family, especially, it is a lot of work. Instead, I try to save a gift or two for Epiphany.
Epiphany Done Right
Do Epiphany up right. This is a great day for a party! Invite some families over.
It helps if you wait as long as you can to put it up in the first place—like a week before Christmas.
So continue to have your peaceful Advent waiting to celebrate the coming of our Lord—and then really celebrate it!
Copyright 2013 Tami Kiser