Some Tips for Making Christmas Special

Erik Cooper —  November 30, 2011 — Leave a comment

Today’s post is less vulnerable, spiritual insight and more Martha Stewart Living (the post-prison edition). The avalanche of requests for my thoughts on Christmas crafts, recipes, and home decor have been so overwhelming that I’m finally giving in. So here’s a few holiday tips and tricks for you and your family.

Yes, I’m serious. (Not about the requests, but about some holiday suggestions).

December 1 starts a decades-long tradition in the Cooper family. One that goes back multiple generations now: The Advent Calendar.

Every day from the 1st to the 24th of December, our family has a special activity we do together to celebrate the Christmas season. Some are spiritual, and some are silly. A few cost money, but most are free.

Each day’s adventure is written on a small slip of paper and placed in the corresponding day of the calendar. And in a grand display of “let there be peace on earth” irony, our kids beat each other senseless to see who can be first to pull that day’s activity from it’s secret cubby each morning. ‘Tis the season.

Here’s a list of some things we’re planning for this year:

Free (or Really Low-Cost) Stuff

  • Decorate the windows with Christmas stickers and spray on snow.
  • Make homemade pizzas and watch a Christmas movie by the fireplace.
  • Bake cookies and take them to the neighbors.
  • Play hide and go seek in the house.
  • Slumber party on the floor in mom and dad’s room.
  • Read the Christmas story together.
  • Make gingerbread houses.
  • Candy cane scavenger hunt.
  • Drive around the local neighborhoods and look at Christmas lights.
  • Family game night.
  • Visit Watt’s Christmas Tree Shop to see the trains and feed the reindeer.

Bigger Ticket Events

IRT’s A Christmas Carol – a masterpiece every season! (Confession: we have connections for free tix).

The Polar Express Train Ride – this is a new one for us this year, but we’re looking forward to making some new memories.

Yuletide Celebration – a holiday classic with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at Hilbert Circle Theater.

Regardless of what you do, I strongly encourage you to build some family traditions around the Christmas season. Embrace the smells, the sounds, and the sights of a time of the year that is like no other. Use it as a time to intentionally connect and reflect with those you love.

I promise, you’ll never regret it.

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