What do you love about Christmastime? The entire family getting together? Delightful smells filling your home? Watching a loved one open that perfect gift? Would you enjoy adding a little Christmas magic and cheer to your world throughout the year? Here are our top five suggestions to do just that.
- Food. Once a month, pick a special holiday recipe and fill the house with wonderful aromas. Make the memory even more special by involving family members or friends in the preparation. Be merry and laugh while sharing fond memories as well as plates of yummy goodness.
- Music. Feeling blue, crazed or overwhelmed? Why not turn on some Christmastime tunes? For some reason, we seem hard-wired to let the sounds of “Little Drummer Boy” and “Feliz Navidad” fill the air during December. If the song brings a smile to your face, don’t save it for only a few short weeks. Pipe in that Pandora. Plug in the iPod. Let there be holiday music to fill the air.
- Gifts. Presents on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning are a once-a-year kind of spectacle. But give an experience as a gift and the excitement can start now. Day trips, concert tickets and theme park passes (there’s a great deal on Santa’s Enchanted Forest tickets if you buy before the end of October) are all things that can be enjoyed sooner than December 24th. If you still want to make sure there’s a present under the tree, take photos during the event and put the best one in a frame or create an album online at Shutterfly or Snapfish and have it printed for a gift of fun memories.
- Family. It may be hard to get everyone together in person with school and work, but technology can help strengthen your connections year-round. Give your second cousin a shout-out on Facebook, Skype your aunt and uncle or FaceTime your in-laws. Schedule virtual visits – without the stress of cleaning the house, stocking the fridge and ensuring everyone has somewhere to sleep.
- Generosity. The outpouring of gifts and donations at Christmastime warms the heart. But the families and organizations that receive love at the holidays need it all year round. Your time is priceless to organizations with small staffs – volunteer to work at a fundraising event or even in the office for a few hours. Go through closets and toy chests and donate unused items in good condition. Round up your grocery or fast food bill when asked to help feed the hungry. Small gestures can certainly make a big difference and any time is a good time for good will.
So, while it’s probably too early to decorate your house with twinkling lights or throw tinsel on all of the trees, there are no time restrictions on indulging in the spirit of the holidays. Why wait?