10 Things to do Before Christmas

Since the holidays are coming up soon, I thought I’d share a few things that I like to do before Christmas!

1) Decorate

In my household, we decorate the house and put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. I know some of you might already have yours up! But, for those of you who don’t, I recommend making it a party when decorating the house.

Gather some friends or family. Turn on some Christmas music. Grab a bottle of wine. Wear ugly Christmas sweaters. Decorate the tree. Simple, yet fun! Some of my greatest holiday memories are centered around decorating. It is going to be done at some point, so you might as well make a party out of it!

2) Gift Shopping

Some of you might have been planning all year what your holiday gifts will be, and some of you might wait until the week before the holiday to buy your gifts. Either way, you know it is a part of the holidays that you’ll have to complete before Christmas. For me, shopping for gifts is such a fun experience and I like to be semi-prepared. I don’t buy presents all year long and hold on to them because I would get too excited and give the presents early, so I like to get the bulk of my shopping done a month in advance.

I know this one can get pretty controversial, but Black Friday can be such a fun experience! Now, I don’t suggest cutting your Thanksgiving short to get door-buster deals, but if you want to by all means! I am more of a traditional, early morning Black Friday shopper. It is a great way to get some gifts at a good deal.

I am, actually, more fond of Cyber Monday–I can do the bulk of my shopping online in the comfort of my own home. Also, you can usually get these deals for a full week before. Plus, it is so much more convenient to avoid the lines and crowds while getting your shopping done!

3) Weekend Away

This time of year can get so chaotic, so it is good to remember how the holidays are meant to be spent: with the people we love. Plan a weekend to go to the mountains, downtown, or to a spa with your people. It will be the perfect time to bond and make new memories with your family!

Taking a weekend away is a good way to relax before the big holiday. There’s nothing like a break from work and real life to get you ready for the craziness of hosting the whole family or trying to make it to multiple houses on Christmas!

4) Go to a Tree Lighting

This is always a fun little outing. In the town I live in, there is an annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on the last week of November. Everyone gets together and watches as Main Street and all of the trees lining it are lit up with twinkling lights. It’s such a beautiful sight to see and they make a huge event out of it. It would be worth it to see what your town does around the holidays and check it out!

5) Go to a Parade

I love going to parades as an adult because I always participated in them as a child when I was on dance teams. From the Christmas City of the North Parade in Duluth, Minnesota to the Parade of Lights in Denver, I have made some of my fondest memories as a child dancing in them and watching them now as an adult.

There is nothing like getting a hot cup of apple cider and standing in the freezing cold to watch bands and dance teams wearing sparkly lights make there way down the street. It seems so arbitrary, but I always enjoy going and it is a fun time for those of you with kiddos, too!

6) Enjoy Thanksgiving

This one is important. Before Christmas comes along, you should take the time and really enjoy your Thanksgiving. Cook your old family recipes and watch football all day long. Sit and chat with your family at the kitchen table. Focus on being present in that moment without being too excited or overwhelmed by what is to come in the following weeks.

Also, I talked about how you shouldn’t let shopping end your Thanksgiving early, and I really believe you can do both. You just have to make sure you don’t rush your Thanksgiving plans in order to go out shopping. Enjoy the day first!

7) Watch Christmas Movies

There are some Christmas movies I could watch year round, like Love Actually, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Miracle on 34th Street. I just love being curled up with a cozy blanket and hot cup of cocoa watching a Christmas classic on a snowy day. That is how I get myself into the holiday spirit leading up to Christmas.

8) Donate

I have mentioned before in my 4 Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season post that donating should be something to consider this time of year. Think of how many extra hats or gloves you could donate, or how many times you could drop your spare change in the red Salvation Army bucket. There are endless opportunities around the holiday season to give back. I think it is so important to include donating as part of your Christmas plans.

9) See the Nutcracker

Growing up as a dancer, I always think of the Nutcracker when I think of Christmas. I still remember the first time my mom took me to see the ballet and I had the time of my life. Honestly, I think that is what inspired me to pursue ballet so fiercely. I saw the ballerina’s leap and turn with perfect technique, and I wanted to be just like them.

Not long after, I began performing in the Nutcracker every year at my dance studio. It would be hours and hours of rehearsals and weekends at the venue for the beginning of December. I loved being a part of that ballet, and now I love watching it! It’s definitely something worth doing, whether it is put on by a studio or a professional ballet company.

10) Friends Gift Exchange

My friends and I have done a variety of celebrations for Christmas. One year we each only bought one present and exchanged gifts among the group in a White Elephant style. That way we would each buy a nice present and receive a nice present without having to buy 5 nice presents. Some years, we have gone with no gifts and just done a dinner and wine night. And other years, we have just bought presents as we have pleased and not done a formal gift exchange.

Of all of these, I think we all most enjoyed buying one gift and planning a night to get together around a Christmas tree to exchange the gift. It was cost effective, we each got a great gift, and we had a night to spend together in a holiday party style. I think it is a great idea to come up with something like this so that you don’t have to go crazy with even more gifts.

What I am Grateful For Today:

My little brother and Lady playing on the couch.

It is day 12 of my 30-Day Blogging Challenge and 30 Days of Gratitude. I am feeling so grateful for the holidays coming up. Although I love the Fall, I would have to say that Winter is my favorite season because of Thanksgiving and Christmas. With all of this craziness beginning, I am really cherishing my down time and time with friends and family.

Today I am grateful for:

  1. Family
  2. Friends
  3. My puppy
  4. Cheesy holiday movies
  5. Stay-cations
  6. Holiday decorations
  7. Holiday music
  8. Good food
  9. Great workouts
  10. A wonderful support system
  11. Productive mornings
  12. Planning ahead
  13. Giving gifts
  14. Quality time with friends and family
  15. Good conversations
  16. Generosity
  17. Creativity
  18. Great nights sleep
  19. Travel
  20. Busy work days
  21. Hot tea
  22. Hard work paying off
  23. Writing
  24. Inspiring books
  25. My blog
  26. Constructive criticism
  27. Cuddles from my puppy
  28. New adventures
  29. Bonding with coworkers
  30. Spending holidays with family

What are you grateful for today? Is there anything you like to do before Christmas? Let me know in the comments!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

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