The one thing that I love most about Christmas is the slew of fun activities that we get to do. Like carolling. And making gingerbread houses. And decorating (though our decorations are not totally old-fashioned...hubs and Stenni love their fiber optic tree and LED lights). And driving around to see all of the Christmas lights. And watching old Christmas movies together.
I love to go caroling. I have gone with friends and family since I was in Daisies. I only recently stopped going, but now that Stenni can sing I think it's time we start it up again. I am currently in the midst of trying to teach Stenni Jingle Bells, Silent Night, and Deck the Halls, which is a tall order for a 2 year old. We will either go tonight or Sunday, but either way I can't wait? Never gone caroling? That's ok! Just try to remember all of your favorite Christmas songs, and then get bundled up and show up on the doorstop or your favorite friend or relative, or just someone you know is in need of some Christmas cheer. Begging for hot chocolate is optional.
Gingerbread house making, friends, is an activity that I believe should not be confined to the Christmas season, but that's ok. I like to buy the house kits with pre-made gingerbread, wait until everyone at my Chrismukkah party gets a little toasted, and let them have at it. It's kind of fun to see a crowd of half-in-the-bag adults put one of those suckers together! We got two kits this year, one for party time and one for family time.
Decorating...eh, I almost didn't put this on the list. We decorate the tree in our house the day after Thanksgiving. We put some Christmas music on Pandora and light up the whole inside of the house with lights. I prefer the simple, rustic accoutrements made of things like actual wood and pine and fir and popcorn and cranberries and whatnot, but I have been overruled this year. Stenni said all she wanted for Christmas was Christmas lights, so that's what she got! We lit up the house like the 4th of July and she loves it, and that's the important part. (Remember between grumbles that Christmas is for the children.)
We also like to drive around to see all of the lights and decorations as a family. Lots of surrounding towns put up snowflake lights and holiday displays, and I took Stenni just the other day to see the Nativity, Christmas trees, and menorah outside the library while we were there to pick out a Christmas book. Then at night we drive around to the same houses that my parents took my sister and I to see as children, which still have elaborate outdoor decorations now! Oh, and also, if you're in the Northern New Jersey area, you need to take your kids to the Ice Caverns. Like, yesterday. It is this awesome Christmas display that is lit up and animated and kids love it and who am I fooling, I love it too. The only downside is that it costs a nominal fee these days (it used to be free years ago). But I think it's totally worth the $2.50 a person to see Stenni's eyes light up when she sees Snow White or Santa Claus or baby Jesus in the manger.
My last, most favorite activity, is one we started last night, kicking things off with The Muppet Christmas Carol. I love love love Christmas movies! We usually watch Emmit Otter's Jugband Christmas at my folks' house (if you haven't seen it, do. It's like Gift of the Magi, but with poor singing muppets). I do like musical movies with muppets in them...! But I'm also a fool for the old animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph, Miracle on 34th Street (hubs has never seen it...this will be the year!), and Little House on the Prairie's The Christmas They Never Forgot.
What other Christmas activities do you like to do to get into the groove for the season?