Happy December, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and got the chance to think about what you’re grateful for while celebrating with your loved ones.

Thanksgiving is great, but Christmas is really my favorite holiday. I love the time spent with the people closest to me, the bright lights, festive colors, overabundance of sweet treats and delicious foods, joy found in picking out just the right gifts, gratitude found in taking time to serve others, and all the songs and movies that celebrate this special time of year.

I always have a mental list of things I want to do so I can feel like I fully celebrated Christmas, but I don’t typically feel too accomplished unless I can physically cross things off a list. So this year I’m making a Countdown to Christmas List. Some things I hope to complete with friends, some I plan to drag my family into, and some will be things I do by myself. I included both things I’ve done for years and new things to keep the Christmas spirit alive throughout the holiday season.

With that said, many of these activities don’t reflect the true meaning of Christmas in Christ’s birth, simply because the traditions my family has incorporate more of the Nativity story and celebration. I know celebrating the season shouldn’t revolve around gifts or Christmas movies, but for me, those are ways to further enjoy this time of gratitude, generosity, giving, and family.

  1. Sing Christmas carols with friends.
  2. Make homemade hot cocoa.
  3. Make holiday cookies.
  4. Drive around to see Christmas lights.
  5. Build a snowman.
  6. Watch Home AloneΒ 1 & 2, and Prep and Landing with my sister.
  7. Watch Candace Cameron Bure Christmas movies with my friend Jenny.
  8. Watch Elf, Eloise at Christmastime, the Santa Claus trilogy, Charlie Brown Christmas, and Little Women
  9. Watch The Polar Express with my friend Laura.
  10. Watch It’s a Wonderful Life with my cousin Sarah.
  11. Watch Christmas Vacation with my family.
  12. Read Twas the Night Before Christmas.
  13. Make treats for my neighbors and coworkers.
  14. Decorate a gingerbread house.
  15. Decorate the apartment with Christmas artwork and printables.
  16. Host an ugly sweater party. (Plans are in the works!)
  17. Host a Secret Santa gift exchange.
  18. Go for a walk in the falling snow.
  19. Catch snowflakes on my tongue.
  20. Take a Christmas picture and make an e-card to send.
  21. Serve others in some capacity (homeless shelter, food shelf, soup kitchen, etc.).
  22. Donate winter gear to charity.
  23. Come up with a good White Elephant gift for our annual family gift exchange.
  24. Gather Minute-to-Win-It Christmas games for our family Christmas.
  25. Read and reflect upon the Nativity story.

What would you include on your Countdown to Christmas List? I’d love to hear your ideas!

November 26, 2015
December 3, 2015

Jessie

I am a twenty-something recent college grad trying to understand what life in the β€œreal world” looks like, even as I trip over my own two feet quite a bit in the process. I am a firm believer in grace, fitness, community, nutrition, simpler living, travel, books, sunshine, kindness, creativity, living life with my people, and pursuing a full life in Christ. I like to spend my time cooking (and then devouring) healthy and delicious food, running outside, curling up with a good book and a cup of tea, and relaxing with friends and family. I'm a program manager for the maintenance side of a display fixture company by day and a writer/cook/reader by night. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a degree in Communication, but I'm still not sure what I want to be when I grow up. When I'm not writing, you can find me cooking up some new-to-me recipes in the kitchen (inevitably making a huge mess), watching a show on Netflix (lazy Sundays, anyone?), hanging out with my friends or family (they're the best!), or curled up on the couch with a big book (the best way to unwind, hands down). My idea of a perfect day would include all of those things-- getting in a run in beautiful weather, making a delicious and nutritious series of meals, playing games, watching a movie, or just chatting with friends and/or family, and curling up with a good book and a nice soy candle. And maybe some dark chocolate. Always some dark chocolate. It is life. I am prayerfully seeking to live every day with purpose, intentionally pouring into the things and relationships that mean the most to me. I want to make the world a better place, one day at a time, in whatever little way I can.

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