Tuesday, November 16, 2010

#15 - November still: If You Enjoy Driving Around Looking at Christmas Lights...

In this month's copy of "Thriving Family," I found a de"light"ful idea that I have to share with you. It suggested making Christmas thank-you cards to drop off at homes displaying a manger in their yard. It's done like a game: your family goes driving to look at neighborhood light displays. Someone spots a nativity among the decorations. You stop the car so that one of you can run up and leave a thank you card at the door of the house. If you have children or grandchildren, they can be in charge of making the thank you cards. All you have to do is drive! Think of the pleasure the homeowner will have upon discovering the note. Think of the fun of hearing the kids exclaim, "I see Baby Jesus! Stop the car!" What a fun way to spread a little Christmas cheer, and all it costs is pennies for a few art supplies, since you were going to drive around looking at Christmas decorations anyway.

How do you spread Christmas cheer during the holidays?

Monday, November 8, 2010

#13 - November: Preparations Continue

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! The temps in the sunny South have dipped to the 30s at night. Frost and snow sightings have occurred to the north of us. Yes, Christmas is fast approaching! Does that knowledge fill you with dread or anticipation? How prepared are you? For me, gifts are nearly done, but I should go ahead and wrap them. My always accidental, annual “tradition” of wrapping in the wee hours of Christmas morning steals some of my natural joy! This year will be different! I mean it!

Now is the time to prepare your family’s Christmas newsletter – if you plan to send one out. Now is a good time to address the envelopes for your Christmas cards as well. You can do that while watching TV or waiting for appointments; any time when you will be away from home with nothing to occupy your hands is an opportunity to get ahead with holiday preparations. Last year I carried my address labels, return address labels, stamps, and card envelopes with me so that when I had a free moment, I could apply everything to the envelopes. 

Now is also the time to start working on your December calendar. What annual traditions do you need to include so that you don’t forget? Are there live nativities, cantatas, parades, holiday light displays, etc. that you want to see? Is there an office Christmas party or two? Do friends invite you to a drop-in one certain weekend every December? If you or someone in your family loves to get out and celebrate with others, you may have a lot on your calendar. If your family prefers relaxing at home more than joining the hustle and bustle of Christmas, then your calendar may be fairly clear. The reason we've been working all year long on Christmas plans is to free up our time for the month of December so that we can enjoy the season our way, whether that’s throwing parties or attending them, driving around town looking at the Christmas decorations, making and baking, getting involved in community service, or just kicking back and watching Christmas specials while stringing popcorn and sipping hot cocoa in front of a glowing fireplace!

“Be prepared” is the Scout motto. Let’s claim it as our motto too! I hope this month you will finalize what you can, be it gifts, cards, decorations, or the activity calendar. Be sure to devote a fair share of your attention to Thanksgiving (if you are an American) as well and make the most of that day and enjoy your family, your blessings, and your memories.  It’s a holiday that deserves more time and attention than it gets.  Imagine what the world would be like if we all devoted more time to remembering our blessings and the One from whom all blessings flow.

Happy Thanksgiving, my fellow Americans! Happy November, everyone! I wish you happy thoughts and clear heads, focus and motivation, and above all, peace.