Thursday, December 6, 2012

15 Ways to Celebrate Christmas

My husband and I are a 40-something couple with no children, living in Florida far away from our families in California. This post is a list of things this childless-familyless-middleaged couple do to keep their Christmas spirit soaring during the holiday season.

Over the years I have learned that celebrating Christmas is a month-long celebration, not one day. Many a year have I walked away feeling disappointed and unfulfilled because so much effort and hope was put into one day. I've learned that when I take time to savor the moments throughout the season, meaning is brought back to Christmas. In this house Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving, not December 24.

Also, because we do not have children, Christmas is an easy trigger to set off the bitterness of "Scrooge" and self-pity. To combat that along with society's portrayal that Christmas is less meaningful without children, we've created adult-sized traditions and focus our thoughts on thankfulness and the real reason we celebrate.

Here's some quick thoughts to bring a little emotional stability to the holidays:
  • Self-pity cannot dwell where there is thankfulness.
  • Expectations most likely always lead to disappointment so try not to have too many.
  • The best way to get out of a funk is to do for others. And drink wine.
  • The grass is always greener. What is desperately wished for is another's source of pain/stress/curse, etc.

So here it is...
15 ways to celebrate Christmas for the single/childless/no family adults.

Photo Credits: Gingerbread House Challenge, Savory Sweet Life,
Harry and David's, Maple Spice

  1. Attend a Trans Siberian Orchestra concert - amazing light show, great music and all held together with a touching Christmas story. They will not disappoint.
  2. Have a Gingerbread House Making party - they BYOGBH and you supply all the extra decorations. Spice up the party even more with some wine and appetizers!
  3. Visit an amusement park's holiday celebration - this includes your local zoo, museums and civic centers. Someone is hosting a party-of-sorts somewhere. If you are lucky enough to be a stone's throw from the "big boy" Disney, spend the money and go. They do Christmas right. 
  4. Hand make some Christmas cards for a few special people in your life - for me, crafting of any kind is therapeutic but I have to be intentional and make the time so I do. And who doesn't love something handmade? 
  5. Send a handwritten Christmas card to a military hero - you cannot put a price on their sacrifice.
  6. Sip spiked eggnog out of a wine glass under the Christmas tree - who knows, it may turn into a "sleep under your Christmas tree lights" kinda night and that may not be a bad thing.
  7. Be on the lookout for a new ornament - don't forget to mark the year on it. Best part about decorating the tree is pulling out all the ornaments and remembering where they they were collected from.  
  8. Bake your favorite Christmas cookies - nothing says Christmas more than a home filled with the scent of fresh baked cookies!
  9. Attend a Christmas Eve candlelight church service - even if you are not the religious kind, Christmas Eve is the perfect time to go. Church's experience so many new faces on Christmas Eve, it's impossible to feel like you are the only new guy stepping in to the place. Plus, the candlelight service is simple breathtaking.
  10. Order a fruitcake from Harry & David's - after years of not eating fruitcake, I gave it another shot and upon one bite I was instantly transported to my childhood and the days I could barely sleep at the thought of Santa coming, kinda like the smell of playdoh and crayons taking me back to Kindergarten. Fruitcake is traditional in every sense of the word and quite delicious. You should give it another try. 
  11. Have a countdown to Christmas movie list. There are some great movie lists out there in Googleville so compile a list along with your favorites!
  12. Build a box for Operation Christmas Child - great organization giving to children in need.
  13. Plan a homemade gift for your neighbors - baked goods, homemade tea blends, soaps and scrubs... when all fails, look up some ideas on Pinterest
  14. Find a reason to get dressed up - whether it be a company Christmas party or a nice dinner out, gettin dolled up is always special.
  15. Go away for the holidays - take the opportunity that most do not have!

Lastly, we attended Epcot's candlelight processional last week. It was a beautiful presentation of the Christmas story. At one point I found it hard to hold back my tears. Here are the words.

He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a house. He didn’t go to college. He never visited a big city. He never travelled more than two-hundred miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things one usually associates with greatness. He had no credentials, but himself. He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. He was turned over to his enemies, and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to the cross between two thieves. While he was dying his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Twenty centuries have come and gone and today he is considered by many to be the central figure of the human race and the leader of mankind’s progress. All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned put together have not effected the life of man on this Earth as much as that one, solitary life.

The lonely, the unmarried, the childless, these are the people who Jesus relates to. Christmas is about Him and what He came to give us. Christmas is for everyone.

Season's Greetings!!

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