Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12 Activities of Christmas

Someone shared a story with me recently about their son.  Their family was doing the "Elf on the Shelf" which seems to be all the rage.  (Even though our kiddos are older, it does sound fun -just for the creative poses I could think up!)  Anyway, their elf had taken the baby Jesus from their nativity.  Their son was not at all happy about it, and with a huff, snatched the baby back exclaiming, "Baby Jesus belongs in the activity scene!"

While worth a chuckle, it also led me to this post.  Active, Busy, Filled are all words I would describe this time of year.  While our focus can easily be distracted on the wrong things this season, some of those activities are what makes Christmas fun.  I say if you have a healthy balance and your activities are Christ-centered and family-filled, they are worthwhile. 

Here's 12 activities we enjoy with our family during Christmas....

Viewing the Lights
aside from our Christmas Eve pj/cocoa tradition,
we love taking in the lights at every opportunity this time of year. 
At least once, we'll walk the park in Owensboro,
which is lit up like a wonderland. 
Closer and colder into the season,
we'll drive up to Evansville for one of their
drive-thru light displays.  As my hubby has a little
Clark Griswold in him, I have an appreciation for all
the work that goes into them!

It doesn't feel like Christmas until you've stood in line for an hour to watch a procession spaced five minutes apart between each float, most containing your neighbors and people you go to church with waving back as if they were famously strolling down the Macy's parade!  Kidding aside, there's just something magical about standing together as one community, all the excitement and possibility of the season bubbling through the street.

Window shopping
While I'm not a big fan of fighting the crowds in search for the oh-so-perfect gift that never seems to meet expectations, I do love the shimmer and shine of the windows.  I prefer an intimate local downtown street to stroll through but can also find happiness in perusing the aisles of the mall. 
Hand in hand, the smell of pretzels and chinese food in the air,
smiling in observation of the harried shoppers
and glad I'm not one of them!

Aside from our annual cookie baking tradition,
we bake this time of year more than any other. 
Banana Bread, cookies, candy, and all things yum. 
I figure it's ok to splurge that week of the year
before we pick up all those healthy habits again in January!
Stocking Stuffers
Stocking stuffers are about my favorite gift to shop for. 
Maybe it's the itty bitty size or the thought of tucking
 it into the corduroy socks that adorn my mantle. 
Or the sneaky surprise that comes with being Santa's helper!

We aren't big hobnobbers. 
Actually through the rest of the year, I'm usually the one hosting a party. 
We probably attend more parties in the month of
December than all others combined! 
While I normally prefer hosting, it is nice to visit other's homes this time of year.

Saturday we had Tim's firefighter appreciation dinner and the one request
from those attending was- no Christmas dinner at the dinner! 
Instead we feasted on prime rib & cheesy chicken.
Funny how we hold the turkey and dressing to the
end of the year and then stuff ourselves with it the entire month!  

Being a lover of the theatre, I always try to take in a play or two this time of year.
My favorite Christmas play is the "Best Christmas Pageant Ever"
- one I was in three different years through school. 
As such, I know every single line of the entire play.
"The Herdmans were the worst kids in the whole history of the earth!"
It's not an activity we do as much, now that Noah is big enough to break his lap,
but we try to squeeze in a visit or two with the jolly guy.  There's a house just down the street from us that sets up a sleigh the week of Christmas, complete with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  We like to go by and see him one night while looking at the lights.  Noah hasn't seemed to outgrow this tradition - and actually I hope he never does feel too big for the magic of Christmas.
This seems to be a lost activity and I miss it so!  I remember carolling with my youth group as a child and I loved it.  Of course, it was extra fun that the last stop - "the pastor's house" was my Grandpa's house.  Several years ago, when I taught the GAs, I got to reprise my role as we took the girls to a local rest home each year.  I may just have to round up a gang and go a knockin' to get my fix!
One of the reasons I love this time of year so is the extra time it means with family.  I love any excuse to get together and Christmas seems to give us that.  Meals, games, or whatever the activity, it seems to be a little more special when mixed with the jolly music of the season and the twinkling, sparkly decorations of home.

But of all activities, it is those spirit-filled, often quiet,
simple moments shared with God during Christmas that mean the most. 

My wish for each of you is a season full of all the wonder and joy of the season,
as well as all the family, peace, hope and God's love
 your home and heart can hold! 


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