The holiday season has officially begun and, unless you are intentional about the kind of experiences you want to have, this festive season will fly by in a flash. You will find yourself uninspired and overworked heading back to the office the first week in January and counting the days until the holidays come back around again.
This year, be intentional about the kind of experiences you want to create for yourself and your friends and family. Take this list of holiday Hallmark moment ideas, review it with your spouse tonight after dinner, and see what plans you want to set in motion.
Getting into the holiday spirit
There are a few Hallmark moments that you can easily replicate in your own home. No matter if you share these experiences with your small children, your husband alone, or your teenage daughter, creating any of these moments will create shared memories forever.
1. Christmas stories: Get a book of Christmas stories and tell them around the fireplace or by the Christmas tree.
2. Christmas music: Turn up the radio and sing Christmas songs on the top of your lungs while decorating the house.
3. Bake Christmas cookies: Bake together and make the house smell like Christmas too.
4. Make homemade mulled wine: Here is my mom’s favorite Austrian recipe:
1 bottle of 750ml red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, 1 sliced orange, ¾ cup water, ¼ cup coconut sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, 10 cloves. Cook water and sugar, then reduce to simmer and add spices and orange slices for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to barely simmer, add red wine until hot (7-10 minutes).
No matter if you have young kids, teenagers, or the only kids left in the house are you and your spouse, these ideas can bring even the oldest kid at heart to have unforgettable holiday memories.
5. Game night: Dust off your old board and card games and bring the family together at the dinner table.
6. Arts & crafts: Make paper snowflakes and decorate your windows or hang them from the ceiling. Personally, I love these designs..
7. Elf on the shelf: Did you forget about that one? I think this would be fun even if the kids are gone and you create lighthearted mischief for your spouse :).
8. Christmas movies: No matter who your movie provider is, they undoubtedly will have a selection of olden classics and the newest Christmas movies for young and old.
9. Family traditions: Resurrect old traditions or create new ones. For some it’s eating a certain meal on a certain day or the family staying in PJs on Christmas morning. What’s your (old or new) tradition?
10. Volunteer: Have you had a chance to define your family values with your spouse? Is there a cause that fits your values to which you and your family can lend a helping hand to? Why not do good together!
11. The big gift opening: One tradition I truly love in my family is that we only open one present at a time with everyone else in the family watching in anticipation of what's in each present. The JOY is shared and the gift giving will expand throughout the morning.
It’s so easy to get stuck inside the house. It’s warm and cozy and the fridge isn’t far with all its treats. Get outside to get some needed fresh air, to move your body, and to reenergize…and to get into the holiday spirit.
12. Look at Christmas decorations: Walk through your surrounding neighborhoods and enJOY the festive lights, reindeers and Santas, and, if you are lucky, listen to accompanying music to bring the whole scene to life.
13. Go ice skating: What a great way to be outside. EnJOY sharing laughter with friends or meet new friends as you inevitably bump into other people.
14. Mother Nature’s manger: My dad and aunt create this beautiful manger every year with baby Jesus nestled around moss, grasses and small branches collected from their surrounding woods.
Observe the meaning of Christmas
Between wrapping things up in the office, holiday shopping and getting everything else ready for the holidays, it can be easy to forget what Christmas is truly about. Don’t let that happen. Create intentional family moments centered around the birth of Jesus Christ.
15. Read a daily devotional: The bible.com app has many devotional plans that are perfect in the lead up to the big day. Read them together with your family at the breakfast table and talk about it.
16. Observe the real 12 days of Christmas: Did you know that the 12 days of Christmas happen the days following Christmas and not before? See how the time after Christmas can be part of your holiday celebrations.
17. Bring hope to someone: Is there someone in your circle that needs to hear your encouraging words this time of the year? Write a handwritten Christmas card or pay a surprise visit to someone in need.
Make this holiday season so very special for you and your family. Don’t try to do it all. Pick the 2-3 ideas that resonate most and focus on bringing those ideas to life. Which will you choose?
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