In our home,
we I love the month of December. I’ve been trying to make it “we” for four years. My husband just doesn’t embrace my excitement! Oh well, in time… I can’t really put my finger on one thing I love – it’s the meaning, the smells, the crisp air, the music, the decorations, the spirit. So I’d like to tell you about some of my “favorite things” (cue the music) that come with the month of December along with some insider tips.
- Angel Tree: I participate in two different Angel Tree projects every year. The basic idea is: you provide clothes, toys, gifts, etc for a child who may not otherwise receive these things. I encourage you to find a way to participate in an Angel Tree project and try to involve your children too. They are never too young to start learning the importance of giving back and being thankful for how much they have.
- Holiday music and concerts: It usually starts the same way every year, I turn my radio to 103.7 and I hear those familiar jingling bells and I get all giddy like a kid! My radio basically stays there for the next month or so, alternating between holiday classical music on 101.1 too. There are SO many opportunities to expose your children and yourself to quality live music in the month of December. Starting with free: there are wonderful school groups of singers and instrumentalists who put on daily concerts at Northpark Mall outside of Dillard’s by the fountain. Check out the mall website for a schedule. Another way to hear student groups perform is to attend a holiday concert at a local elementary, junior high, or high school. The concert day/time is usually advertised on their marquee sign or you can look at their website. Not only is this free, it’s a great way to show your children what they could be doing in just a few short years! If you’re willing to dish out a little money, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra puts on a great holiday concert that runs December 2nd thru 18th. More information here.
- Iced sugar cookies: I love to make a huge batch of sugar cookie dough and then use my cookie cutters to create little iced creations. These cookie cutters are a great deal and their uses can go far beyond cookies (think – play-doh, outlines for art projects, etc). They also come in a giant, plastic container for easy storage. You can make this a fun afternoon with your kiddos or invite some other mama friends over and serve a big pitcher of poinsettia punch. I say ‘big’ because it is delicious and every last drop will be enjoyed. To encourage the idea of “giving” with your children, you can wrap up a few cookies in a festive bag and hand-deliver them to a friend, neighbor, or local shelter. A work in progress last year:
- Lunch & Santa pictures at downtown Dallas Neiman Marcus: Okay, seriously, this guy is the real deal, along with the photographer. Just look at this: she pouts, he pouts, precious! So here is how you do it: do NOT wait until the last day or the day before. Go as early as your schedule allows. The schedule is usually something like December 1st thru 24th. He is usually set up in the same area as the purses and perfume. As for lunch, call in advance and make a reservation for the Zodiac Room (located on the 6th floor). This is a fancy-schmancy place so you can put on your cutest duds and then enjoy a fabulous buffet spread. My personal favorite: the smoked salmon. I always make a few return trips to the line to get more. The cherry on top of the cake (sometimes literally), is their special little desserts they bring out after you eat your meal. It is different every year and always delicious and adorable. *Note: you CAN take your kiddos here. They have highchairs so they must be expecting it! It’s also a nice place to enjoy lunch with your friends who don’t drink from a sippy cup.
- Gingerbread latte at Starbucks: No emotional or heart-warming story here…these things are just pure tasty goodness. I can usually still get one into January but there is always that dreaded day when I pull up to the speaker and ask for a tall gingerbread latte, and the nice voice on the other end informs me that they’re OUT. It’s always a sad, sad day.
- Parties: I love any excuse for a good party! Whether it’s a playgroup party for my daughter or a grown-up party, I love getting together with friends, eating good food, and enjoying each other’s company. If you want to throw a holiday party but aren’t sure you want to deal with the stress/mess that comes with it, consider doing a “progressive dinner” party with a few of your friends. It considerably lessens the responsibility and makes for a fun time!
- The Tree: It is hard to beat the smell of fresh pine needles. We always put up a real tree in December, complete with the embroidered skirt and perfectly placed ornaments and berry sticks. This year, enter the 18 month old ‘spirited child’. Hmm, how does this work? I am pretty much anti-tree gate. I am also anti-broken ornaments and ingested pine needles. So for you seasoned mama’s out there – feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments section.
- Advent calendar: So, I made this super cute advent calendar at MOPS last year (similar to this one). My daughter was just a wee little 6 month old baby so I basically just sat it out on the end table and admired my handiwork. But this year, I am really excited to hide a little treat under each number and help her discover it each day. I plan for this to be a yearly tradition that she and I enjoy together. You can either do the easy thing and buy one on etsy.com, or you can do a quick Google search to find instructions on how to make your own.
- Dallas Cowboys ornaments: I married a Dallas Cowboys nut fan. I am learning to accept it. So, starting with our first Christmas, my mother-in-law started getting us collectible Dallas Cowboys ornaments. I really treasure these as a special gift from her and as a way to include my husband’s interests in my favorite holiday.
- Christmas Eve candlelight service: This is my favorite tradition of the month of December. There is nothing quite like gathering with my church family to remember the birth of Jesus Christ in such a special and quiet way.
So there you have it! I would LOVE to hear about your “favorite things” to do in December – just leave your comment below.
This post brought to you by Miss Jenni!