The Christmas Countdown

*Written January 2018*

This year we were determined to not let the holidays pass us by. After Thanksgiving, Lance and I made a list of all the festive things we wanted to do this season. Per family tradition, there are no bad ideas during a brain storm, so lots of things made the list:

Go skiing and sledding and build a snowman; have a snowball fight
Go caroling
Make gingerbread houses, homemade hot chocolate and Christmas cookies; deliver treats to friends
Plank in ugly sweaters
Drive to see Christmas lights
Watch: “Ernest Saves Christmas,” “The Santa Clause,” “The Office” Christmas episodes, “Christmas with the Kranks,” “Claymation Christmas, “Charlie Brown Christmas” ” Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”
Go to live nativity
Read the Christmas Story Luke ch. 2
See a movie in the theater
Go to Disneyland — Jingle Cruise, Small World, Christmas Parade etc…
Avoid sickness
Adopt a Child/ Secret Santa
Have a picnic under the Christmas tree; have a sleepover by the tree
Build a Christmas lego set
Drink eggnog; Sip on Martinellis whilist wrapping presents
Get an advent calendar
Attend Nutcracker ballet
Throw a holiday party
Donate food to a food  pantry
Hang mistletoe in bedroom 😉
Make ornaments and Christmas crafts
Reenact the Christmas Story
Have a birthday party for Jesus: Give a gift to Jesus
Make a special meal / Breakfast / Goose
Write a letter to Santa; meet Santa
Give a gift to UPS, FedEx drivers
Make a “Cookies for Santa” plate

Naturally we couldn’t do everything on the list, but we certainly tried. We assigned an activity to every night in December, as well as a few in the last of November. In the end, our month looked like this:

Last days of November: Decorated the house and tree and went to Disneyland (which is magical during Christmas!)
Dec. 1: Bought Lila Christmas jammies and a Christmas-y book
Dec. 2: Attended tree lighting at Light the Cove (Crystal Cove State Beach) and Adam and Alicia Rose’s ugly sweater party

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Dec. 3: Walked over to Irvine Civic Center’s Winter Wonderland event
Dec. 4: Dropped by the Johnson Brother’s Tree Lot (and though the trees smelled wonderful, we stayed for less than 15 minutes because it was so windy!)
Dec. 5: I went to the RS Holiday Dinner
Dec. 6: We made Christmas cookies and dipped pretzels in caramel and chocolate; met Santa at our apartment complex

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Dec. 7: Delivered Christmas goodies to friends, neighbors and ward members
Dec. 8: Went to Disneyland

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Dec. 9: Attended Ward Christmas party and drove around looking at Christmas lights in Woodbridge

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Dec. 10: Went to the Live Nativity in Rancho San Margarita and viewed the hundreds of creches
Dec. 11: Drove around looking at Christmas lights in Nellie Gail Ranch in Laguna Hills
Dec. 12: Went to Disneyland
Dec. 13: Made and decorated Christmas sugar cookies

Dec. 14: Lance went to “Star Wars” with the Elder’s Quorum
Dec. 15: Went to Disneyland

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Dec. 16: Walked around the well-decorated Irvine Regional Park in the cold
Dec. 17: Watched the Newport Boat Parade

Some days we were tired and had to push ourselves to follow the schedule, but we were determined to. And I’m glad we did! My favorite activities were decorating sugar cookies, looking at Christmas lights at Nellie Gail Ranch (we did that last year, too) and seeing the Newport Boat Parade.

Christmas is such a special time of year. It was so fun to introduce Lila to some of the traditions of the holiday, and to make new traditions ourselves. She did so well meeting Santa this year compared to last year. It helped that we met him so many times (at Disneyland, the ward party, the tree lighting at Crystal Cove and at our apartment complex). We tried to make the season about more than just Santa, though. I’m so glad we got to go to several (two) live nativities. Especially this year, I got so weepy during both. Being 8 months pregnant, with a boy, I felt a renewed appreciation for Mary and all that she went through. Now that Lucas is born, I can’t help but wonder if I felt the Spirit so strongly during those presentations because my spirit knew I was going to give birth on the Eve of the Savior’s birthday.

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