It's been a rough year. It's been an especially rough month. It's been kind of difficult to get into any kind of holiday spirit.
That's not to say that there haven't been bright spots, and things to be thankful for, because of course there have. We had a nice dinner with Bob's family on Saturday night -- turkey and dressing and mashed potatoes (that I peeled and boiled, but neglected to start early enough, so they were a little lumpy) and gravy (that Bob made). We had a dinner on Thanksgiving day at my brother's house -- my brother and sister-in-law and niece and nephew, me, our parents, my sister and her boyfriend and my niece and her boyfriend. Bob had to work -- he worked 1-7:30 on Thanksgiving day, and 5:00 a.m. to 3 on Friday, and he just left for work. Today he works 2 - 10:30. But, of course, we're thankful that we both have jobs!
My sister-in-law goes all out as far as decorating for Christmas; she had a lot of things already out, but she said she hadn't yet taken the pictures off the walls and wrapped them up like presents and put them back up. I don't intend to do that, but I decided that this year I'm going to go all out, too. I'm going to do my best to make this a really special Christmas. The last couple of years I've kind of slacked off on it, not made any particular effort, but this year I'm going to.
I'm going to send out Christmas cards early, not make it into a last-minute chore like I have the past few years. I'm going to make an effort to watch my favorite Christmas movies, and the ones I don't have on DVD, I'm going to find out when they're on television so I don't miss them (and I'm going to buy a TV Guide). I put up a wreath outside the front door this morning, and one on the downstairs bathroom door, and as soon as Bob goes to work I'm going to go to the basement and bring up more Christmas decorations. I might put the stockings up on the fireplace, too.
I cooked a big breakfast this morning--bacon and eggs and fried potatoes--and while I'm not sure if I'll be able to sustain this one, I'm going to try to cook more. I might even bake cookies if I get really ambitious. I'm making a list of things that I'd like to do this month, and "bake cookies" will be on it.
I've been looking through iTunes to see if there's any Christmas music that I don't have (Los Lonely Boys has a new Christmas CD out, I see), and I'm always on the lookout for Christmas movies. I bought "Die Hard" yesterday at WalMart for $5.00; I'd been wanting a copy of it for awhile, but it's one of those that I find a little hard to justify, but not for $5.00. I had lunch at Panera Bread yesterday and had a wonderful chai tea latte, which felt kind of festive, a little bit extravagant, and Bob and I met for dinner at On the Border for a belated birthday dinner for me.
Some of my favorite things during the Christmas season:
- Christmas music in the stores
- Special Christmas flavors of ordinary things, like peppermint McDonald's shakes
- Christmas-patterned paper goods, like paper towels, napkins, and paper plates (I got Christmas-patterned insulated coffee cups for Bob to take his coffee to work in the morning in)
- Christmas-patterned plastic ware--plastic storage bags and storage ware
- Cheap Christmas-themed notepads and pens
- Special Christmasy scented bath products like peppermint, chocolate and vanilla
- Spending a long time browsing the Christmas ornament aisles of stores like Hobby Lobby and Target
- Pine-scented candles (Yankee Candles' "Mistletoe" is the best)
- Christmas stickers to decorate my planner pages and stick on Christmas card envelopes
- Christmas movies, and Christmas episodes of television shows (I watched the holiday "Monk" and "Psych" episodes last night)
- Christmas mugs. I bought a new one from Stash Tea this year, it was on clearance. It's red and has a reindeer on it. I'll take a picture of it when I get back to work on Monday.
- Buying expensive wrapping paper, cards, and tags for a fraction of their regular price after Christmas and discovering them a year later (like today!)
- Putting a bowl of Christmas Hershey's kisses on the coffee table
- Painting my toenails Christmas colors (red and green!)
- Christmas wallpaper for my laptop and iPhone
I suppose it sounds counter-intuitive, but I'm going to make a big effort to enjoy this holiday season. I've got an idea of something special to do here during the month of December: stay tuned.