My reminders are a gentle nudge to prioritize the season at hand. I had the kids sit down early last week and help me plan out a rough calendar for December. We chose one Christmas activities for each day till Christmas. Some days got two activities. Then we put the list up on the refrigerator. It is another reminder to do the important things first this season and to keep things simple. One thing a day. Making cookies, making crafts, putting gifts together, a couple of special outings, a peppermint day, and a Christmas movie marathon with popcorn (at home) are among the ideas.
The list is a huge motivator for me, prodding me to get busy and do something fun each day, whether I feel like it or not. And some mornings I really don’t feel like it, but I am finding that if I can pretend enthusiasm for just a few minutes, I don’t have to pretend for the rest. It’s getting going that is the problem sometimes.
So far we have spent a morning on each of these things: making Christmas Jam, making thumbprint cookies, making chocolate kiss cookies, shopping for a special holiday candle, celebrating St. Nicholas Day, and of course, finding our Christmas tree. Rose really enjoyed counting the rings to see how old our tree was – 9 years!
This week our plans include making candy cane and feather decorations for the sun porch tree, making and buying a couple of gifts for our pets, going on a special Christmas outing, painting the little wooden ornaments the kids found tucked into their shoes on St. Nicholas Day, and celebrating Grace’s 14th birthday. Or, as I remind myself and the kids frequently….those are the plans, for now. We are of course, at the mercy of the weather and anything else that can and probably will crop up to derail our plans. The important thing, I think, is going into these next few weeks with intentionality and the realization that things will not be perfect.
We overcooked our jam, used the wrong thumbprint cookie recipe, and forgot to bring our snow boots to the tree farm…where Rose refused to watch the tree being cut down because she was mad about having her picture taken. Then we went home to decorate the tree where Christopher got mad about something I can’t even remember and spent the entire time the lights were going up fuming in his room. Things rarely go perfectly, especially with four kids.
But…. the jam is perfectly edible, if a bit stiff, we still have time to make the right thumbprint cookies, Rose perked right up when she got a candy cane from Mrs. Claus in the farm shop, and happily, everyone did show up to decorate the tree.
All’s well that ends well, as my grandmother used to say.