We Need a Little Christmas…

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?

31 thoughts on “We Need a Little Christmas…

  1. June

    Thank you
    We are under restrictions here in England with limited rules for meeting family.
    You have some very good ideas I appreciated you taking the time to share them.
    Thank you

  2. Judy Ross

    Wonderful ideas! Another suggestion is to put together gift bags for homebound seniors that your local Meals on Wheels delivers. The dollar stores are good places to shop for necessities, and a homemade ornament would be a great addition. Merry Christmas!

  3. All great ideas, Carole, many we ourselves will do. We are decorating our home and putting up our trees (yes, more than one!) this week. We have our larger, traditional tree and a smaller one dedicated to handmade ornaments. Many of the ornaments on this tree were made by husband Denis’ mother, who is no longer with us. We live in Wisconsin, about an hour’s drive from the city of Manitowoc, on the Lake Michigan shore. In the 1950’s, Evergleam aluminum Christmas trees were manufactured there…do you remember those? Every Christmas, merchants in the downtown area put Aluminum trees in their store windows and light them up at night. We are going to take a drive over there, walk the downtown streets and take in the sights. A wonderfully nostalgic experience! Yes, COVID is throwing the monkey wrench into many plans and traditions, but it WILL NOT take away the happy that we get from Christmas. Life is what we make of it, and Denis and I intend to make the most of what we do have! Merry Christmas to you, Carole and to your readers.

    1. karenfae

      Grace, I saw your comment on Carole’s page and have to say I remember exactly what you are talking about with the aluminum trees – I grew up in the same area only in Manitowoc and 15 miles or so west of there

  4. Julie

    “We Need a Little Christmas'” is such a fun song. In it’s original context it’s used to distract from the 1929 crash. Auntie Mame wouldn’t let the crash spoil her world & we won’t let a pandemic spoil ours. You’ve expressed it well, so many people are having a Christmas this year without someone they love. Make the best of your Christmas and share the love with someone who is having a difficult time.

  5. Ginger Michael

    Thanks Carole. I have “We Need A Little Christmas” running through my head and my eyes are all teary from your sweet card. Good start to the day. We’re putting up the decorations today and it even feels a tad wintry here in low country South Carolina for the occasion.

  6. Susan Salo

    Thank you for the reminder of all those who have died. Our Christmas will be very different, but not like the one those families will have. I am doing more decorating this year, including bringing out the Christmas Spode dishes today to use all month!

  7. It definitely is hard to believe we’ve been going through this for 9 months now! It will change Christmas at our house, too. Love all your suggestions, Carole! I love Christmas light displays, too, so that will be on the list at our house. Plus some Zoom get togethers, for sure. Thanks for the link to the Christmas Carol game. I bet my quilt group would have fun with that during our Zoom meeting next week.

  8. Sylvia Anderson

    Hello Carole, and thank you for the beautiful Jackie Lawson interactive card. For years I subscribed to her website, and so enjoyed sending out her enchanting holiday cards. Tomorrow is the start of my cookie baking. This year I have 14 different varieties of double and triple batches of all kinds of cookies and candy. Since the family has grown so large, this is what I’ve given as gifts for all family members. It takes me longer and longer with each passing year, but I do love to bake!

  9. Brenda @ Songbird Designs

    Great suggestions, Carole! And I told Gary just the other day, that I NEED to ride around this year and see the Christmas lights! That was one of my favorite things growing up that continued into our daughter’s time at home. Now they take the grands riding to see the lights. I think that’s a wonderful tradition! My dad passed when I was 16, and I spent most of my time, at least every night, with my grandmother. Granny loved to ride into town and see the lights and then go to the Dairy Delight for a cherry malt, and sometimes a hot dog! Makes me smile just thinking about it! I haven’t tried the Jim Beam Vanilla, but sounds even better than rum with egg nog!!

  10. kathyinozarks

    Very joyful post-I enjoyed it. allot of great ideas.
    I always loved Jacquie Lawson’s cards and used her cards for many years.
    I posted about the christmas light show near us last week-I had never been to one before this one was very large and free but they accepted donations at the end of the tour. the town near me still had their Christmas parade people just wore masks
    we just need to find happiness for ourselves and families where ever we can

  11. Linda B

    Our first Christmas card! Thank you Carole! We loved Holiday and have watched it a couple times…I am hoping maybe this year we can binge on Lord of the Rings again. Well, you have started me thinking… (:))

  12. Thank you for the lovely card!!! I have loved Jacquie Larson cards since about 2000 or so. They continue to charm! The suggestions are so clever and I need them! I have been IN MY HOUSE since mid-March and have brain fog!!! Happy Holidays to everyone…..we can get through this weird time! The vax is on the way. I have a friend in England and they are over the moon about it!!

  13. Nikki Moshier

    Thank you for a splendid post. You have inspired me! I looked at the trivia games and plan on putting a zoom call to play with family far away. It is time for me to make this holiday special! Thanks for inspiring me.

  14. Jennifer Rauch

    Loved the e-card! Our first card (yay it wasn’t the gastroenterologist!)! I made a list of things to do to change-up our usual Holiday madness. Ordered matching pjs for hubby & I. Never did that before & he was ok with it! In addition to the wreath I hang on the front of my car, he agreed to let me make a little one for his car, & it turned out great. Nice & sparkley. Light shows list in hand – some drive thru this year, some online, a couple walk thru but ticketed. An hour away, so still await the newspaper list of local light spots too, in case the weather is horrific. One @ the Zoo! Got out a hoarded (from kids’ days) Advent candle, & hubby went looking for the matches, so he is supportive. Reading all my Christmas stories – a fave is Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham. Really a hoot! Also have a Pearl Buck book of stories that was Mom’s. Will check out your list of games to play with the kiddoes on Zoom – 7-y-o grandson called last week to see if we wanted to play a MadLibs (or 2 or 5) on Face Time! What a chuckle. Looking for Holiday one to send him. . . it will all be worth it when we look back at 2020 & how we handled everything!

  15. AJ

    Thank you for another wonderful post. So many great ideas to help bring cheer to our families and others.

    Without holiday entertaining, I won’t need the usual amount of Christmas baking. Instead I have surveyed my household for special baking/food requests. My goal is to spread out these treats throughout the month, allowing us to still enjoy our favorites and the season without a huge amount of leftovers…we all know where those will go!

    Thanks for the gentle reminder that Christmas will be tough for the many families that have lost loved ones this year. It’s hard to remember that those numbers are people, and each one has left behind family and friends.

  16. Patricia Evans

    Thank for the always delightful Jacqui Lawson e-card. A friend sends me one those every once in a while. As most of our family lives out-of-state, our celebration will be much the same as always. – quiet. I’ve started bringing out the Christmas decor. I never do much baking as my husband devours all of it and he shouldn’t. Thanks for your suggestions.

  17. What a lovely card–thank you for the uplifting post today…we are not traveling and neither is our family…so it will be just the two of us here–hoping to whip up something special for dinner a deux…and some eggnog of course…It is hard to get “into the holiday mood” this year for sure.
    hugs from far away Julierose

  18. Sharon Vrooman

    What a great post! Oh, I haven’t read the CHristmas Shoes in so long – must revisit. I support the local bakery and confections – she does such a better job than I.

  19. I am going to check out those movies and the Zoom games, they sound like great additions! This week I am recording my students’ Christmas songs. We usually go to a senior apartment complex for a Christmas recital, but this year we will be doing it on YouTube, which means it will be available for any one. I’m hoping that more than one care home and/or senior living center will use it to spread some cheer.

  20. Mary

    Thankyou Carole for your cute Christmas card. My first!

    You have made a lot of good suggestions for making Christmas a fun time. Of course, the hardest part is not being able to have family come home for Christmas.

    Let’s make a Christmas wish that the world is in a better place very soon.

    Wishing you a really wonderful Christmas from our House to your House. :))

  21. Deby Wettges

    Hello Carole

    Enjoyed all the info you shared yesterday with our quilt Guild WCQG. So many ideas and wonderful patterns. Your blog is amazing ! Hope you and yours enjoy a merry and safe holiday season.

    Deby Wettges

  22. Rosalind

    Loved the card.
    Enjoyed looking at your tablescape.
    Can the oreos just be dipped in the chocolate?
    Can hardly wait to see your cards.
    I get depressed during winter and find myself looking forward to your letters.
    Merry Christmas.

  23. Sue H

    Thanks for the recommendations for Christmas movies. I put a couple on my list. We recently watched Christmas Chronicles Parts 1 & 2 with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. Enjoyed both but especially 1. I’ll be making snickerdoodles, peanut blossoms, 6-Layer Bars, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Cookies are a BIG part of Christmas for me! Thanks for the fun post!

  24. You have some wonderful plans for Christmas. Great to see your lovely ideas. It is going to be a very different time, but no reason why it cannot be fun.

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