Well the season of Christmas is upon us. There is so much I really enjoy about this time of year, and of course there are a few things that kind of annoy me. So I thought I would write a little Monday post about the joys of the season and a few bah-humbugs.
Tradition. I am a traditionalist and there is no better time to be one than the Christmas season. It brings out the best and worst in me.
I love going with my family to cut down our own tree and decorate it the day after Thanksgiving. In fact the day after Thanksgiving I enjoy decorating the entire house, even the outdoor lights. Play the Christmas music, start watching holiday movies, sip the nog, whatever you like, but I loathe, like the Grinch “loathe”, any tree, lights, music or holiday movies being put up, played or watched before Thanksgiving. This should be a rule. Nothing says bah humbug like going to the store the day after Halloween and seeing a bunch of Christmas stuff up and Christmas music being played in the background. I mean come on, how are you supposed to enjoy the season if it lasts longer than it should?!
That goes for leaving your Christmas lights up longer than January. Driving down the road in the middle of July and seeing Christmas lights up on the porch and roof tops really chaps my reindeer hide. However, I feel there are exceptions to the rule. Like if you have a loved one who is going off to war and won’t be home for Christmas, then by all means deck the halls and trim that tree, even if it’s in the middle of August. Another exception to the rule, is that perhaps if someone became very ill or injured and they couldn’t take down their lights so that’s why they are still displayed in the middle of July. It would be nice if perhaps a neighbor or friend could do them a solid and take the lights down for them, but who am I to judge?
Lights and Christmas tree decorations. This is where my OCD comes out. The tree must have lights! I don’t care if you choose white or colored but there must be lights and lots of them. The people who only put up a couple of strands around the tree, I understand you the least of all. Also, the best way to give me a seizure is to make those lights blink, dance, and constantly change color. I just can’t do it. I have to leave the room. Drives me crazy.
Also, I love a tree with a lot of decorations. Now, I understand it might take some time to acquire decorations so the first few years perhaps there aren’t as many decorations on the tree and that’s okay! However,when decorating the tree the following rules apply in my house:
- No same ornaments should be side by side. For example: Red bulb right next to a red bulb. It can be higher, lower, but not side by side. Mix it up with a different bulb, like green, silver, blue, I don’t care, just not side by side.
- Please don’t hang a Christmas ornament on the same branch. There are plenty of other branches on the tree, use them.
- Fill in the holes. If you see an area that has a big hole in it, put an ornament in there or more lights or both!
Now onto more positive traditions that bring me joy.
Christmas movies- My top five are:
Christmas Vacation ( I quote this movie all season long)
Elf (Another one I quote)
A year without a Santa Clause (classic clay animation or maybe it’s wood… either way it’s a classic from my childhood)
The Grinch (cartoon one)
It’s a Wonderful Life (We watch this every Christmas Eve)
Christmas Music. I love the classics, not a big fan of the modern songs. There are a few newer ones I like, but I prefer the classics. I think if I had to choose my favorite it would be, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
Parties. I love a good Christmas party. Where we gather with friends or loved ones and have a wonderful time ringing in good Christmas cheer. I prefer the parties that are casual and don’t require me to dress up, but I can be bribed with a good glass of wine and put on my best.
The Advent Calendar. We have two. One where we read out of the Advent book and light candles and pray and then a chocolate one that the boys share.
24 Days of Togetherness. This one is new for us. We put our heads together and wrote down 24 things to do as a family before Christmas day. Each night we pick one. So far it’s been fun. The ideas are pretty simple. A few that we came up with are: go for a ride and look at lights together, do a random act of kindness for a stranger, go ice-skating.
Christmas baking. We bake several different kinds of cookies and share them with the neighbors and friends. This year I’m going to make a new cookie. It’s a melted snow man. So cute! Also, ever since I was little, it was always a tradition to make and decorate sugar cookies for Santa on Christmas eve. The boys love this tradition as much as I do.
Gifts are a tricky one for me. I love giving gifts, but don’t like the pressure to buy. If I see a gift that would be perfect for someone then I love buying and wrapping, but buying a gift just because it’s Christmas and time is running out, is the worst. I choose not to.
The last bah-humbug I will mention in today’s post is when all the lose weight posts and comments start happening. Comments at parties like, I shouldn’t eat this, or starting in January I’m going on a diet. Or even worse, I’m going to have to run 10 miles to burn off these cookies. Couple that with all the lose weight fast gimmicks and pictures of before and afters. Yuck! NO!!! Here’s a better perspective for you. Enjoy the season! No, you don’t have to go crazy and eat all the fudge and drink all the booze, but choose the things you absolutely love and bring you the most joy. If you love Christmas cookies then bake the ones you just can’t resist and enjoy every single bite of them. If you can live without crackers and cheese then skip those things at the party and fill your plate with the foods that you really cherish the most. Exercise or move your body in a way that brings you joy and health, not as a way to punish yourself for eating too many treats at a party. That is just silly!
When you are at a party avoid bringing up conversations about diets or how certain foods are so bad for you. Food is not bad or good. It holds no moral value. It’s just food. Besides, no body wants to hear about that anyway, it’s a party so enjoy it. Also, when making New Years resolutions, try something new. Instead of making it about weight/fat loss or something body image related, try something new. Instead of saying,” I’m going to start exercising” try, “This year I’m going to move my body in ways that bring me joy.” Or instead of,”January first I’m going to do the Whole 30 again!” Perhaps you could say, “I’m going to choose food that promotes a healthy version of myself, and I’ll choose progress over perfection!” Remember, thoughts become words and words become action and actions become habits. Choose love, choose self acceptance this New Year. Instead of trying to become something different, try starting by loving the person you are now, and then slowly work on ways to bring out the best in that person.
Okay, your turn. What do you enjoy the most about the Holidays? What makes you a little bit of a Grinch? Favorite Christmas movie and song? I want to hear from you! Also, I would love to hear your thoughts on changing your New Years resolutions from one of weight loss and diets to one of self love and care.