Remember when everyone told you Merry Christmas and smiled while you shopped? Christmas carols were always being sung slightly off-key in random locations like the grocery store or the parking lot of the mall. Hanging lights was a joy that had the entire family anxiously awaiting the sun to go down. Snow falling didn't mean back-breaking shoveling and icy roads, it mean snow angels and snow-ball fights, a white Christmas, and a beautiful reflection of those Christmas lights making things seem warmer inside...
I dread leaving at Christmas to go anywhere these days!
People are nuts. Rude, pushy, and you'd think the holiday was a chore rather than a happy time. You just need to remember what this holiday is all about. For us, it's bringing the family together and having fun.
We watch Christmas movies and still laugh at the same parts, sometimes a small little thing that has been previous overlooked in the background will appear and the laughter resumes with intensity.
My husband walks in the door and the smell of Christmas cookies baking makes him pause, breathe deeply. and smile before coming in further. The scents of evergreen and spices when you come in from the cold always makes me do the same.
My favorite things to do this time of year:
Show up at school unannounced with sleds in the back of the car, grab the kids and play hooky in the snow the rest of the day.
Skip dinner and have a carpet picnic with hot chocolate, popcorn, and those cookies while watching a Christmas DVD.
Sneak out of bed early and have a breakfast feast of cinnamon rolls in the shape of a Christmas tree, bacon stacked so high you start to drool thinking about it, and pancakes in a variety of flavors like chocolate chip, gingerbread, and blueberry. I do this mid-week when everyone is usually on cereal and toast (by choice), but when those smells reach them, I've never seen my family get ready for the day so fast! Then I drive the kids to school rather than the bus so they have more time to enjoy it.
Wear a random headband of a Christmas theme. Reindeer antlers, tiny Santa hat, elf ears... I'll wear it all day and everywhere I go, just to see how many people will smile instead of frowning. My family is so used to this, they don't even notice when I do it any more, but a waitress of checkout clerk always pauses.
Pile everyone in the car and drive around looking at the Christmas lights in highly populated neighborhoods, follow it with dinner inside a pizza place.
Spontaneity and fun will do more to put people in a great mood than anything else. If only every family took the time to do little things like this, the world would be much more pleasant to be out in for the month of December.
It's Christmas. If you plan for a happy time during the year, it will be. I set aside a little money throughout the year into a jar specifically for this season. Pizza night, movies, the unexpected things you can do in a time that is usually stressful for parents in this economy can make a wonderful difference in a person's temperament.
If you start at home, you can spread the joy and pretty soon I won't be afraid to go to Walmart any more.