I enjoy reading about my blogging friends’ Christmas activities, but I feel like I don’t have many good ideas to offer in return.
You see, a lot of times holiday preparations center around kids, and we don’t have any. Granted, we’ve felt a bit like new parents with the marbled kitty we’ve been fostering this week…but when it comes down to it, you can’t really cut out Advent ornaments with a cat.
We are going to spend the actual Christmas day with my family, but the weeks cushioning it on either side are up to us.
On the one hand I don’t really mind having a quieter holiday season. There’s less “stuff” to deal with. Less bustle. No class parties, no “I want that present” meltdowns (not that my kids will ever have those 😉 …), no Christmas pageant practices or holiday recitals.
But the holiday season is still really important to me. Anticipation of Christmas makes the darkest days of the year more warm, and I don’t want these November-into-December days to slip away into mundanity. I want to savour them.
Because in any and every situation–not just this Christmas season–I want to savour the abundant everyday grace we live in. I want to know the days as they pass, and etch them in my memory with senses fully engaged. That’s why I made a bucket list this fall, and why I’ll soon make another for winter.
So how does a couple (or a single) without children still capture the beauty of an intentional holiday season? Here are some of the things we’re doing:
1. Put up indoor Christmas lights
We’re not spending money or apartment space on a tree, but I still want something beautiful to make our space festive. We’re hanging a string of lights around our balcony door–on the inside, so we get to be the ones to enjoy it the most! Likely, they’ll be up all winter. These Michigan winters are long, and we crave light.
2. Have other single or married friends over
I’m thinking about having a Twelfth Night party this year with friends after Christmas. (Fun fact: The 12 Days of Christmas actually begin on Christmas and go until Epiphany. They’re not the 12 days leading up to Christmas.) So more on that to come!
3. Make Christmas cookies
I will definitely be making my favourite-ever Christmas cookie recipe, Russian teacakes. I’m also hoping to try some of the recipes in the brand-new cookbook Nourishing Cookies by Diana of My Humble Kitchen. You can order her book through my affiliate link if you need tasty, healthy cookie ideas!
4. Do a special devotional
Our church doesn’t celebrate Advent, so we’re doing our own Advent readings at home. Which reminds me…I have a few candles I should pull out for that!
5. Listen to Christmas music often
I work at home, so it’s easy to spin a CD for a little background music. Instant festiveness.
6. Indulge in hot drinks liberally
I make it my goal to have tea at least once a day, and I’m trying to work in more hot chocolate and cider as well.
7. Have cozy nights in
This is where our temporary cat comes in very handy. She sits on the couch and keeps us warm. We’re going to make time for popcorn and game-playing and Once Upon a Time.
I look forward immensely to the day when we have excited children begging us on Christmas morning to open presents. I can’t wait to see the wonder of Christmas through their eyes.
But in the meantime, it’s just Eric and me. And I treasure that.
Update December, 2014: The “temporary cat” became a permanent member of our family, and we are expecting our first baby in April! Although our family is growing, we still love to celebrate Christmas in these simple ways.(: