right this very minute! At least a little bit. This will definitely not be the best Christmas ever, in fact it is going to be a hard candy Christmas at best. We are going to have to work harder than ever to find holiday cheer and joy this year. I went back and reread my own posts from early in this pandemic and all your comments on Carrying On, and Making Connections. It is hard to believe we are now in our ninth month of this! My posting has slowed down, as I struggle have a project to post about. But we have been fortunate in our isolation. For more than 266,000 families in our country, this will be their first year without a loved one due to covid. So, we won’t be seeing family that live out of state. I don’t want to travel, and I don’t want them traveling either. Concentrating on ways to lift our spirits, without putting our loved ones at risk will be the order of the season. So, I am looking for safe things to do, and ways to have some fun this season. One thing we’ve done in the past, and will do again this year, is drive-through light shows. There is one at Lake Julian again this year, and tickets have to be purchased online. There is also one in Tryon at the Equestrian Center.
Then, the one at the North Carolina Arboretum called Winter Lights will be a drive through instead of a walk around this year. Again, tickets are by the carload, and can be purchased online for particular days. There is a discount if you go on Tuesday. Look around in your area for a drive through event you might do, or perhaps a wonderful neighborhood of homeowners with the Christmas spirit.
I’m going to start wearing my red hat with the rhinestone tree pin everywhere I go, along with the Christmas print mask I just made. Bringing a bit if cheer to myself, and maybe a smile to someone else’s face, even if it is behind a mask. I put my rhinestone reindeer on the mask too, and but it was too heavy, so I put two pins on the hat, and went shopping. I got so many happy comments, even the grocery store can be a place to spread cheer. I have a collection of rhinestone Christmas pins, and will be sure to wear them as much as possible, maybe more than one at a time.
I baked the pie pumpkin that was on the table for Thanksgiving. If you have one, bake it for one hour at 350º, then put the cooked pumpkin in a container and refrigerate, or use a canning recipe to put it up for winter. Use two cups of baked pumpkin in your bread recipes that call for a 15-oz can of pumpkin. Fresh pumpkin bread baking in the oven will fill your home with the aroma of the holidays.
I had a crazy idea about having a Zoom Christmas party. I invited some friends, and we will gather around on our computers to have a toast to the holiday season. Here’s my idea of a Christmas libation – Egg Nog with Vanilla Bourbon!
Of course, we’ll need a few games, and quiz games are great for Zoom. I printed off the Christmas Carol Opposites game from Crafting Chicks. It is a list of titles that are the opposite of the actual song. The first one on the list is pretty easy – Cacophonous Morning – answer Silent Night. There are also links on that website for lots more games. We are going to do weekly Zoom calls with my MIL and will play some of these with her through the season.
One way to chase away the holiday blues is to do something for those less fortunate that we are. Last year, I made small gift bags with handmade cards and a couple of treats for the residents of the Safelight shelter. I’ll do that again this year. It gives me a creative outlet and lifts the spirits of the women at the shelter, too.
Send everyone you know ecards, what fun it is to open up your email and find Christmas or Hanukkah cheer there! None of these are affiliates for my blog, just linked for your convenience. Most are subscription based services, and all have animated cards to send, and the ability to schedule cards in advance so you never miss a birthday. E-Cards offers online card and gifts that support our environment and wildlife for $12/year, plus they have some free ecards to send. Blue Mountain ecards memberships are $4.99/mo or $19.99/year, and they have a free trial membership. They have ecards where you can add your own photos, too. American Greetings has a 7-day free trial, then their memberships are also $4.99/mo or $19.99/year, plus you get deals on online ordering of their paper products. I have personally used Jacquie Lawson in the past for her charming ecards, membership is $20/year. Hallmark Ecards subscription is the most expensive at $5 a month but no annual subscription (so $60/year), and doesn’t offer a free trial, but they have Snoopy cards.
Here’s a card for you, dear readers! Click on the link so you can see my wish for you. Happy Holidays!
Stamp some of your own cards to send happy mail. I’ll be doing some of these soon, and will share this year’s designs.
Mail a little something to go under the tree for family far away. This year, the deadline for mailing is the 18th, but I’d go a bit ahead of that. With more packages than ever, it may take another day or two. Small delights under the tree to open on Christmas morning will help capture the magic of the season. See my post on Making Packages Bright for creative ways to wrap for mailing.
Or send some home baked goodies. These are my Fantasy Cookies…
and these are Chocolate Covered Oreos. I’ll send something to open and eat as soon as the package arrives, and a few little things for opening later.
Set a festive space for breakfast, even if it is just for yourself.
Don’t skip the tree. Even though there may not be a full house for the holidays, the twinkle lights and cheer will bring a smile to your heart each time you see it. Hanging some ornaments with your Sweet Babboo while you listen to a new Christmas music cd or watch a favorite movie is a wonderful evening.
Speaking of favorite Christmas movies, maybe find a one you haven’t yet seen. Get a new movie on DVD, watch it then send it to someone in your family. If you haven’t seen One Special Night with James Garner and Julie Andrews, it is wonderful. Recipe for a Perfect Christmas starring Christine Baranski is also one of my favorites. My Sweet Babboo insists that Die Hard is a Christmas movie, so it is included in the holiday lists. A new favorite I could watch more than once in the season is The Holiday with Jude Law and Cameron Diaz. Here’s my collection, see your favorite?
Even though the Christmas parade was canceled, there are still window displays to walk around and see outdoors, in historic areas and outdoor malls. This year downtown Hendersonville is doing Who-ville inspired displays, with main street closed on Saturday allowing people lots of room to move safely. We’ll try to get down there sometime this month.
That should help fill the days, as I don’t have any parties or getaways to shop or pack for. I hope you have a safe holiday season this year. Do you have another idea to bring cheer to those you love in a safe way? Will you be doing some of these as well?