Christmas Addict

It is December 1st, * the first day of my most favorite month of the year! 
 My name is Meg, and I am a Christmas addict. I have absolutely no plans to seek treatment.
I adore EVERYTHING, I said EVERYTHING, having to do with Christmas! The preparation, the celebration, the family gatherings, the smells, the sights, the sounds, the meaning, the obligations, the music and the feelings generated.
I try to schedule only appointments that are necessary during this month so as to focus each day on activities that “fill up my Christmas cup.” The Christmas carols are loaded onto the CD player (yes, I admit…I still have one and prefer it over Sirius or Pandora). My kids think I am a total “out of touch mom” in this arena, and this bit of equipment  has exposed them to Bing Crosby’s White Christmas and Elvis’ Blue Christmas, unfortunately confusing them a bit but they know my affinity for music and I think deep down appreciate it. As the carols play, we ALL bring down the 87 (slight exaggeration) boxes and bags of Christmas decorations from the 3rd floor attic. I do admit that the activity looks nothing like Father Knows Best, but rather something from Christmas Vacation with choruses of “Why is he not taking more boxes down, I took six already, ” and “Mom, why is he laying on his bed?”
Whatever it looks like, it has become a tradition that we do together as a family. With all the music, complaining and ribbing that goes along with it, it becomes a boisterous activity (everything in our house is rather boisterous) that is much more fun when done in the company of others.
After the boxes come down, the Advent calendar countdown goes up. This is one that I did for the past Barn Sale that you can easily do at home with a smaller chalkboard. I strung twine across the board and used a staple gun to secure it the sides. I then used cellophane bags and price tags to write the 24 days of Christmas. I clipped them to the twine with small clothespins. I will slip in a card with an activity written on it that highlights a theme for each day of December. Sometimes I tuck small treats in the pockets that go along with the idea. It is fairly simple, you can can use envelopes, a pre made Advent countdown calendar that can be three dimensional, little gloves, little stockings…really anything you can think of that has the capability to have a small card slipped into it or a slip of paper. 
The themes that the activities are based on are subject based;
Reindeer Day

Angel Day
Stocking Day
Christmas Tree Day

 I think you get the picture.
The subject is tied to an activity that is either just for fun or serves a greater purpose. I have saved a box of the kid’s artwork from past Christmases that I usually hang on a bulletin board in the kitchen that goes along with the subject. The oldest are way past adding something new but under the breath comments are made about their past “works of art.”
I am sure that right about now, you are saying, “Who the heck has time for that?” or “My kids are teenagers, they would never go for that!” or maybe even, “She sounds like a Christmas lunatic with all that we have on our plates to get done this season!” That is exactly the point…Our plates are full but think of it as adding a little dessert to it. Wrap those obligations up in a little sugar and before you know it…pleasure will sneak in.
With a little advance planning, a good look at what is important to you this Holiday season and an assessment of what NEEDS to be done and how you can spin it into a fun event,  you can be one too…a Christmas lunatic that is.
  It does not have to be complicated or filled with lots of stuff for after all, didn’t it all start with a baby in a manger?
I am going to share with you our Advent Countdown this Christmas season on a daily basis. You might be able to take some ideas that work for your family or get inspiration for new traditions in your home.  I would love to have comments about what you do as a family or activities that have made memories in your house.
*I know that at the beginning of this I stated that it was December 1st. It WAS December 1st, when I wrote this Blog on the plane ride home from London where we had spent Thanksgiving with our daughter who is studying over there. Unfortunately, we had a few delays on the way home and by the time we stumbled in the door 16 hours later, it was December 2nd London time, and this little traveler was too tired to type. We were all split up on the plane and when Shane asked me what I did on the plane ride and I replied, “I wrote a blog.” Christopher chimed in,” How did you do that without your computer?” I retorted, “With a good old fashioned pen and paper!”Please forgive me my day’s tardiness. That will happen on our daily journey through December. Events will come up that will way lay the plans for the day. Don’t sweat it, move on and make it up later or combine two activities into one. For more ideas on Theme Days for Christmas, check out an earlier blog that I posted on December 11th, 2011 about this same topic.
The focus is on how to create fun meaningful activities that accomplish goals while bringing your family together in whatever shape that may be.
“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”

Believe me, I am no Martha Stewart, just a mom who is trying to bring to her family a love and appreciation for a season that has brought her much joy and happiness in her life. My hope is that someday, they too, might want to spin some old fashioned Christmas tunes while celebrating all that is this season with their own families.
Meg
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