Our second Christmas in the desert is quickly approaching and I’m eagerly awaiting the delivery of two holiday scented candles and the second and third book from A Boy Called Christmas series. I’m quite pleased with how the change of season has ushered in cooler temperatures that nip the nose. The other night, just before dinner, I started off towards the mailbox and strolled for twenty minutes. Bundled in my furry coat, I couldn’t help but notice how charming the desert is in the fall. The mountains and palm trees seem softer around the edges, as if they too know we’re approaching the season of gingerbread house building, light seeing and egg nog.
I just love the build up to Christmas. I like digging out last year’s holiday devotional and unpackaging this year’s new advent read. I like sipping from festive mugs and sampling my husband’s cookies. I love the warmth I feel when I look at the decorations the kids have scattered throughout the house. I really just love the middle, that chunk of time between the Marine Corps birthday and Christmas day, when everything feels so merry and cozy.
If I’m being honest though, sometimes there’s a little ache that sets in when I spy the limp wrapping paper that lines the floor on Christmas morning. Scrunched into paper clumps of various sizes, the tossed aside paper mingles with needles that have fallen from the tree and in their vulnerability I think of how quickly that joy-filled middle flew by. Amid the holiday hustle and shuffle, it’s so easy to become swept up in all the shopping, baking, cleaning and wrapping that sometimes Christmas Day feels a little achy because of how quickly it went by.
This year, though, I’m making some changes. I thought of myself in early November, before biting into the last piece of pumpkin pie and scraping up the last bits of flaky crust, and I imagined the things I hope we’d done the month of December when Christmas Day was over. Thinking of the tasks that inevitably come with Christmas, I imagined the cozy and comfy I’d like us to feel in our home and in the things we do around all of that. This is what I came up with.
I want to bake.
I want my house to smell like baked goods this month. I want to dig out my tried and true cinnamon roll casserole recipe and dish it up for breakfast. I want to bake cookies and brownies or whatever the kids ask for (within reason.)
I want to read out loud.
As I’m writing this we’re a quarter of the way through reading A Boy Called Christmas. I plan on reading book two when we’re done in addition to a Christmas themed picture book each day this month (so long as I remember.)
I want to spend less time online.
When I’m online over the holidays I’m witness to decorated homes, holiday-themed activities and presents that’ll soon go under the tree. If I’m not careful it’s easy to measure my holiday against the filtered version of theirs. Less time online this season not only limits the margin for comparison, it gives me more time with my family too.
I want to appeal to my senses.
I’ve become slightly obsessed with candles and scent products since summertime. This season I have a couple different seasonal scents from Mrs. Meyers I’ll be using in place of my usual clear and unscented hand and dish soaps. I also have a small assortment of candles from Bath & Body Works I plan on lighting every. single. day. In my opinion, their candles smell just as advertised and this month I plan on filling my home with lots of their holiday scented goodness.
I want to crochet.
One of the ways I recharge is by having a moment to myself at home. One of my most favorite ways to do that is crocheting. I currently have a couple blankets, scarves and people that need finishing and I can just how imagine how cozy I’ll feel crocheting with a candle lit on the television stand.
I want to do crafts and puzzles with the kids.
Each year I love pulling out some of the things the kids have made from previous years when we take out the decorations. I love crafting and putting puzzles together with the kids because it’s an intentional way of getting us all together.
I want to look at lights.
Our neck of the desert doesn’t have any drive thru light exhibits, but I fully plan on walking around the neighborhood with the family to look at lights and inflatables. I might even prepare hot cocoa in disposable cups for the kids to tote around.
I want to watch holiday movies.
I can’t wait to see what movies Hallmark has on the app. Maybe I’ll put one on during the day when I have a moment to sit and sip coffee and watch or perhaps I’ll just put them on as background noise. What I especially can’t wait for though are all the kids holiday favorites we’ll watch this season.
No matter how or where you celebrate I hope you’ll find peace and joy in your daily tasks, activities and celebrations. Happy Holidays!