Saturday, December 14, 2013

Celebrating Christmas

     Each year we celebrate Christmas as just our little family of two (though soon to be three). While we do miss spending time with family, it has provided an opportunity for us to determine our vision and desires for our own family Christmas celebration.     

     Thanksgiving through Christmas is the busiest and most stressful time for my husband's job. The last thing I need to do is to heap more expectations and demands upon him. My desire is to support him the best I can as well as create an enjoyable Christmas for us. I therefore created a set of holiday cards that would ensure we continued to celebrate the season but without adding too much fuss. 
      Each card has a little Christmas sticker on the outside and on the inside is a message and goofy drawing. At the beginning of the month, I'll sit down with our calendar and decide which day would be best for each card. There are about 15 activity cards and 10 compliment/encouraging words cards (I believe it's so important to have the complimentary/encouraging aspect incorporated into the celebration!). On busy days or weeks, I'll include more compliment/encouraging words cards. When time allows, I'll include more activity cards. If we don't get to a card one day, then we'll simply skip it and move on to the next one the next day. Some activities are holiday classics like driving around town to look at lights. Several are just silly and serve to just loosen up and laugh together. Others are intended to simply do something simple like a surprise lunch date at a local restaurant that might break the dull of repetitiveness. Also, there are a few cards that focused on giving. 
Our activities focus on three areas:
Complimentary/Encouraging Words
Festive Holiday Activity

1. "Pick your favorite game & Christmas movie"

2. "There's a need on an Angel Tree/Santa for Seniors Tree. Let's go grab a name and go shopping for him/her"

3. "Bundle up because we're off to look at pretty Christmas lights tonight! I'll pack some hot cocoa and you bring your car-ride caroling voice! ;) " (*We don't actually sing. I just like to tease him about singing because he refuses to sing outside of church even though he has a wonderful voice)

4. "Tag! You're it! You do so much for me and so today is just for you. Please go, do, or buy anything you'd like for yourself. Enjoy!"

5. "Surprise! We're going out for lunch today"

6. "Snowball Fight! Here's your bag of "snowballs." I've got mine. Ready? 3.. 2.. 1 !" ("Snowballs are mini marshmallows. I tie the bag to the entry door and then hide for my attack! It makes a mess, but it's lots of fun!"

7. "Fun or fancy? After work, use this cash to add elements to our dinner table or clothing that will create a fun Christmas meal or one that is a little fancy. Will we choose the same theme?" (I included $10 in the card)

8. "Did Frosty really melt or was he ... eaten?! Enjoy our snowman breakfast!" (Powdered donuts included with breakfast)

9. "Tea time? Let's go to the tea shop for some afternoon tea" (You could also do coffee instead)

10. "Can you smell that? Hey! It wasn't me! I'm talking about a yummy treat baking in the oven. Hint: It's your favorite!"

11. "One of my earliest & favorite memories of you involves us serving food at the rescue mission. We're not exactly serving prepared food this year, but we can still give & satisfy someone's hunger. Let's head to the grocery with the sole intent of donating the basket"

12. "It's been a long day, so this evening is devoted to you and some relaxation. Enjoy a nice back massage by me"

13. "Did you know: The inclusion of alcohol in traditional eggnog recipes may have been a means of preservation before there was refrigeration? What?! You didn't know that? Well, grab some eggs and get crackin'! We've got some hands-on research to do (except we'll use the refrigerator instead of alcohol. haha)."

14. "Do you think a crepe is better sweet or savory? Let's find out! Join me at Crepes and Creamery!"

15. (Christmas Day card) "Merry Christmas! My dream Christmas is this- you and I together. My favorite moments have been simply building memories with you- my husband and my family. We're not done building yet though! Grab some candy because we have a gingerbread house to make!" 

16-25. Compliment/ encouraging words cards. 

         On Christmas Eve, the busy work schedule finally ends. He has the next day off work, and we try to make sure it is a day of rest but also celebration. We decided early in our relationship (as in when we were just dating) that we would skip exchanging gifts between ourselves. While we are grateful for the gifts we receive from others, gifts just aren't the most meaningful aspect of Christmas to either of us and so we decided to just leave it out of our home/family celebration. Instead, we focus on simply spending time together. We'll prepare a big breakfast that morning. In the afternoon we may make a Christmas cookie or other treat. We'll also make a gingerbread house completely from scratch (minus the candy decorations). Creating the patterns, baking the dough and then assembling the house is quite the process, and we laugh every step of the way! It's perhaps one of my favorite aspects of our Christmas Day celebration. That evening we'll prepare another feast for our Christmas dinner. 

     Some years we've done many activities and a majority of the cards, and thoroughly enjoyed them. Other years (like this year) have been too stressful and exhausting for even the simple card activities. In times like these, we'll opt for renting a Christmas movie each weekend to watch together. Even if we don't get to do much to celebrate the season, the greater insult would be to have a poor attitude. I believe it is far better to lay aside notions of a "good Christmas" based on activities or whatever else and, instead, support and encourage my husband when he needs it most. A good attitude will make a "good Christmas!"

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  1. I love this! I am so impressed with your creativity, and have realized I need to do more things like this for my hard-working husband as well. I'm curious regarding giving gifts to each other at Christmas: do you guys plan to also keep Christmas gift-free for your kids as well? My husband and I were just talking about this last night and realized how crazy gift-giving has become, and we'd like to keep things simple for our own children. I'd love to hear your thoughts

  2. Thanks, Amy!

    This is now my third attempt at responding to your question. After discussing the matter with my husband yet again last night, he appears to have shifted in his position. We'll simply have to come to a consensus between now and next Christmas. It's just one of those issues in which we see things differently, and will have to work to be more unified (a glorious work of marriage, though). Sorry, if that's not much help. You can always send me an email (revivinghomemakingblog (at) yahoo (dot) com) for more details on some of the ideas we've shared thus far. :)


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