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Twelve Things To Do To Get Into The Christmas Spirit

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There always seems to be so much to do leading up to Christmas.
Your stress level can be high and it can be hard to get into the holiday spirit.
I've found it's important to remind myself that Christmas is a time to relax, enjoy and have fun! Here's a list of things that help me do just that.
  1. Get yourself a children's Christmas book to read over the holidays.
    Check one out at the library or go to the book store and take in the holiday spirit.
    There are funny books ("The Grinch Who Stole Christmas") or traditional books ("Twas the Night Before Christmas").
    Read whenever you want, wherever you want.
    In fact, read whatever you want.
    Maybe you already have a favorite book.
    Read with someone or read alone.
    Perhaps in a candlelit bath.
    I like to read out loud.
    This makes it more Christmasy.
    I do the voices, which I feel I'm quite good at, but I've never asked anyone what they thought.
    Although I don't normally wear slippers, this can add to the experience too.
    No, not in the bathtub!
  2. Get together with a few friends or family (or both) and make a special recipe.
    It could be one that is brand new to all of you, or it could be one that someone's grandmother handed down to them.
    Pick the person with the best kitchen and get everyone a copy of the recipe beforehand.
    After making sure you're well organized with ingredients and equipment, anticipate a morning or afternoon of fun followed by taste testing the results.
    In case of disaster, "Plan P" should be kept in reserve: "Remember, we can always order pizza"! Sure, you want the recipe to turn out well, but at the same time, you don't want too much pressure either.
  3. Plan your booze shopping.
    I like to avoid the crowds, and go well before Christmas Eve.
    Take into account host gift bottles too.
    I'm already impressed by myself, but I'm not sure others are, so heck, I'll see if a bottle of nice wine will sway their opinion.
    But nothing over $20.
    So I'm not sure that's a strategy that works.
    Some like the line ups that form outside the liquor stores.
    It's a chance to choose what you wear carefully, maybe try out some festive new lipstick, chat up a few people who, you never know, could be potential relationship material.
    Don't forget you can always chat up the workers at the store too.
    And (double bonus) isn't there an employee discount or something? Er no, actually, I don't think there i
  4. Take a walk at night in a residential neighborhood.
    If your block isn't much for Christmas lights, then go to one that is and take a walk there.
    This is free entertainment.
    Try to go with a friend so that you can discuss what you see: How Christmasy is the display? Is it overly gaudy or too understated? Is it traditional? Or is it full of air inflatables and animatronics? Which do you prefer, and why? Just how many lights does the average house put up anyway? Are Christmas displays environmentally friendly? End with a warm up drink back at home before you call it a night, and enjoy dreams filled with smudgy colored lights.
  5. Make a crècheusing simple flour paste figures.
    Google children's flour dough and pick from the list of recipes that come up.
    Most are mainly flour, salt and water, and dry quickly overnight.
    Form figures of Jesus the baby, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, lambs, other farm animals, the visiting kings, the drummer boy, the list goes on.
    Yes, your hands will get gummed up and full of flour paste, but there's also a real visceral pleasure in it.
    The more abstract, the better.
    "Artistic" skill might even be a detriment in this exercise.
    I go "au natural" and don't paint mine at all.
    Form the structure of the barn from cardboard, wood and foil - and don't forget the crib for Jesus, for God's sake!
  6. Decorate your home with Christmas fruits.
    Mandarin oranges, of course.
    But have you ever heard of the tradition of taking a regular orange, completely covering it with cloves and then hanging it by a ribbon? It gives your home a heady holiday scent.
    Also, what about pears? Especially Bosc? Their tawny, russeted skin and pleasing shape bring to mind that famous song lyric and they look great in groups of two or three just about anywhere.
    A mantle, snugged in beside some books, or heck, in a fruit bowl! Let me just mention to do this Christmas fruit decorating no sooner than 7 to 10 days before December 25, or your fruit will get overripe and you'll have those pesky little fruit flies all over the place.
    Also, remember to remove the fruit after Christmas is over.
    You don't want to find a wizened old pear behind a book sometime in March.
    That would be icky.
  7. Do some Christmas baking.
    It can be simple.
    A roll of Pillsbury Dough cookies cut up and thrown into the oven.
    It can be more complicated.
    A gingerbread house made from scratch.
    It really depends what's happening for you that year.
    The smell of cookies wafting through your home is just unbeatable.
    And of course, Santa likes a couple left out for him.
    As you get into adulthood, Santa's glass of milk might include a shot of Bailey's too.
    I don't think many people will think of that, so Santa shouldn't get too drunk to get back out to his sleigh and continue on his gift-giving ride!
  8. Go to a Christmas craft fair.
    Some are free, others charge a nominal admission fee.
    The ones that charge usually have more high-end artisans and it's worth it for the peek at what they've been up to in their studios.
    Any craft fair will all give you a very Christmasy feel.
    They are a wonderful place to get new ideas for your own crafting.
    Also, when you have someone on your list who is hard to buy for, a craft fair can sometimes be the perfect place to get them a gift.
    Just for fun, watch out for the ladies who buy their whole ensembles at craft fairs.
    They're quite a sight to behold: A unique skirt, unique boots, unique tunic, unique jewelry, unique scarf, unique hat, etc.
    It's garish and unbecoming to wear more than one such unique item at a time.
    Okay, two.
    But no more than that.
  9. Think over the lighting in your home.
    Setting a Christmas mood is pretty easy.
    Consider having a string or two of strategically placed lights somewhere in your main living area.
    There's nothing quite like turning all the other lights off and just looking at the little twinkles of your Christmas lights.
    Even having them on during the daytime can be festive and relaxing.
    No Christmas tree?Consider putting a string of lights on a larger houseplant.
    Or along the top of a mantle, piano or book shelf.
    Candles are important too, but don't forget to monitor them.
    I know this sounds bossy, but really, do YOU want to be the one whose bathroom Kleenex box catching fire caused the sprinkler system on your floor to go off? I'm guessing the answer to that is a definite "no"!
  10. Watch a Christmas movie.
    You may want to watch more than one.
    It's up to you.
    It's your Christmas.
    All of this is up to you.
    You may want to watch a heart warmer like "It's A Wonderful Life" or "A Christmas Carol" or you may want to watch an adult comedy like "The Ref" or a family comedy like "Elf".
    They'll all kinda put you in the Christmas spirit.
    There may be a movie that you like to watch that has no Christmas theme to it whatsoever but makes you feel good.
  11. Soak up the Christmas atmosphere while you down a drink.
    You could go to one of the fancy hotels in the city and sit in the bar, nursing your pricey libation while you take in their decorations.
    Hotels make for a good, peaceful break from the craziness at the mall.
    If you go at the right time of day, the music will be a live jazz trio or a pianist or something like that.
    It's a splurge, but you're worth it, right? Or, cut your budget in half and go to a coffee shop and order one of their wintery Christmas concoctions, my favorite being the peppermint mocha.
    Here, you run the risk of a table near a drafty door and water on the tile floor.
    You also get the benefits of trendier music, a more upbeat atmosphere and shopping in the impulse buy section over where you wait for your fancy coffee to come up.
    Of course, do you really need another coffee mug? But it would look so cute filled up with mini candy canes on your desk...
  12. You gotta sing during the holidays.
    You can sing with big choirs, smaller groups, family, in the crowd at a big mass sing while the symphony orchestra plays or just sing along with the TV.
    But you gotta sing.
    Even if all you can manage is more of an out-of-tune breathless chant type of thing.
    Or, if you object to even that, what about taking a turn on the jingle bells? Take part in the family sing-a-long this year by contributing a few well-placed jingles.
    Kids will be very impressed with this.
    In fact, you might become a favorite aunt or uncle just on the strength of having a percussion instrument available for play.
    Having two is even better.
    What about being able to play the spoons, using spoons right off the dinner table? But that takes planning, practice, and well, I'm getting off track.
    All I wanted to suggest is to sing a little this Christmas.
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