Christmas caroling, cookie decorating, tree hunting … these are among my favorite Christmas activities with my family.
I never knew just how special Christmas was until I changed my zip code and time zone from where I was raised. When the holidays rolled around, I yearned to be with family or close friends, doing holiday activities. Even though I have never spent a Christmas away from home, I know the excitement built around the opportunity to depart from one place and truly be home for the holidays.
Every year my family assembles a list of neighbors who are elderly, widowed, or new to the area. Once we create our map of neighbors, we tune up our voices, practice a few carols, and hit the road in hopes of brightening someone else’s holiday season. I won’t lie, we are not a perfect choir by any means, and thankfully most of the people we visit have had decades worth of birthdays and can’t hear us well anyway. Bad singing or not, we thoroughly enjoy getting together and watching our neighbors’ faces light up with pure joy when we visit.
Before Christmas, we usually set a date in the kitchen as a family. Gingerbread cookies, chocolate turtles, peppermint bark, and popcorn balls are a few of the staple desserts a few of us make together. However, we usually bake up more memories than actual desserts. Oftentimes it’s a messy project, but it’s one that 2, 3, or 4 generations get to bond over, giggle, and reminisce past memories. The girls usually bake the goodies, but we do make our brothers and dads press the popcorn balls together and they enjoy that part. That is all they are allowed to do because if we let them hang around too long, there are no goodies left for Christmas.
Sweet holiday treats are best enjoyed on the road to hunt down the perfect Christmas tree, in my opinion. Tree hunting was a concept I had to warm my husband up to a few years ago. He is from the midwest where they all have beautiful, fake trees that can be put up for 4-6 weeks. Where I come from, if you don’t have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree in your house – you are doing it wrong and missing out. We spend up to a few hours “hunting” for the perfect tree, or trees, for my family all while throwing snowballs and telling stories. Sometimes the trees need a little trimming when we finally get them to the house because they are too tall, too fat, or the trunk won’t quite fit in the stand. After a little work here and there, the tree is decorated with traditional ornaments and the smell of fresh Pine fills the house.
The hustle and bustle of the holidays, the stress of 2020, work obligations, and preparation for 2021 can become overwhelming. It’s been a year. But, don’t let those things steal your joy next week.
Whether you are home for the holidays this year, or away due to the unfriendly “Rona”, I hope you enjoy the reason for the season and take time to make a few memories with whoever you are with.
– Alyx, B. Taylor Painting Marketing Specialist