Have you noticed we are getting down to mere hours until we celebrate Christmas? For many of us, we think there are still so many things to do so we can have everything “just perfect”. Well, to help you along I want to share with you this list of 25 things you can do to prepare for Christmas. Now understand that you should not attempt to do ALL of these in the next 48 hours! If we each took the time though to do one of these things and to reflect on what we are doing … why we are doing these things, then maybe, just maybe, we could find the real joy and purpose of Christmas.
1. Stop. Breathe deeply. Look around at your many blessings and give thanks. Then when you have refocused a moment, pick something below to help you and your loved ones make this a memorable Christmas in your family!
2. Make an Advent wreath. Using a piece of greenery, shape it into a circle on your dining room table. Add four candles around the wreath and then one white candle to the middle. Typically you would light one new candle each Sunday in Advent, and then light the central candle on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. For this purpose though, light each of the candles around the wreath tonight and tomorrow night, and have each person in the family share a special remembrance of Christmas past or a special wish for Christmas future. Then, on Christmas day before opening gifts, light all of the candles and sing “Joy to the World“.
3. Watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” as a family. Then talk about the movie and what makes your life so very wonderful!
4. Put up something special (a family heirloom?) that you have never used before for indoor Christmas decor. Make this a new tradition.
5. Donate food to a local food pantry or take a meal to a shut-in. You are going shopping for those last-minute dinner items so you still have plenty of time to do this!
6. Decorate the yard, porch or another area of your property outdoors with recycled elements to share the spirit of Christmas with your neighbors. Such as, using a garden rake and an old sheet draped over it to look like a robe and a wheelbarrow as a manger. This will get your creative juices flowing and the kids will have a blast! Be sure to take pictures 🙂
7. Spend the evening making your favorite Christmas cookies. Be sure to make extra to share with family and friends. They also make great holiday gifts for friends, church staff and neighbors!
8. By now you have picked out your Christmas tree and probably decorated it, but if not, put up your tree. If you already have, gather a few indoor items and create an “artistic interpretation” of a Christmas tree. Make it a game for everyone to find an item to use for the tree!
9. Share some hot cocoa and cookies as you read The Angel Visits Mary in Mark 1:1-8.
10. Take a small Christmas gift (some of those extra cookies maybe?) to a shut-in from your church or a local nursing home. Handmade cards from the kids always go over well!!
11. String popcorn or cranberries or raisins to hang outside on your “Christmas” tree for the birds.
12. Make macaroni angel ornaments and decorate them to hang on your tree. (For directions, see my post titled “What in the world can we get Momma and Daddy for Christmas?“)
13. Watch “The Greatest Story Ever Told” together.
14. Go Christmas shopping (you are going to be out there anyway!) and buy a gift for someone in need that you had not planned to.
15. Wrap your Christmas gifts and do a little something extra by making handmade gift tags using last year’s Christmas cards or scrapbooking leftovers.
16. Read Luke 1:26-38 together. Make some homemade apple cider.
17. Deliver a surprise Christmas gift to a friend, neighbor or co-worker. (You have already done the shopping!)
19. Go Christmas caroling. Try visiting a nursing home or the homes of shut-in’s from your church – and bring along those homemade cards from the kids!
20. Make some mini loaf breads to enjoy and to share.
21. Watch “The Nativity” together.
22. Build a snowman. If there’s no snow outside, while you are at the pharmacy or grocery store and purchase cotton balls and let the kids craft their own mini snowmen. Decorate with wiggly eyes and pom-poms.
23. Read Matthew 1:18-24 together. Enjoy some of that wonderful Christmas bread!
24. Christmas Eve…read Luke 2:1-5. If it is your tradition, open one gift. Head to Christmas Eve services and enjoy family celebrations.
25. Christmas Day…Read Isaiah 9:1-6. Jesus Christ has come! Enjoy Christmas Day together!