I have been having so much fun getting into Christmas this year. It helps a lot that Gareth will actually be a little bit interested in what's happening rather than just chewing on the wrapping paper. And that we'll be on our own for Christmas for the first time. In past years it's been too easy to let the fact that we're going away become an excuse to not pull out our few decorations or to not do any holiday baking.
This year though, I'm on top of things. The few decorations we have that can be placed out of Gareth's reach are on display. The advent my mom sent is strung in garland fashion around our bookcases. I've baked gingerbread cookies, cranberry-orange pinwheel cookies, banana bread, and made fudge and toffee. (Our butter count so far is 2.5 pounds, but it'll soon be up to 3.5 once I make more toffee and gingerbread cookies!) If I were more poetic like my sister or sister-in-law, I'd write an ode to parchment paper, which has been much appreciated and adored during all this baking. All of the gifts are wrapped and ready to go under the tree or in the stockings on Christmas Eve. With the exception of a few hand deliveries, all of our Christmas cards have been sent out. We don't have a tree up yet, but I've purchased a stand and lights and materials to anchor the tree to the wall with (so Gareth can't pull it down) and we will go cut a tree down sometime this week (Ryan's in finals this week, so things have been a little busy for him). It's been years since I've been around for the tree cutting, so I'm extremely excited for this part. If we actually owned any holiday movies, I'm sure we'd be watching them (I'm shocked at this oversight in our movie collection!) And we've got plans to go to a friend's home for their Norwegian Christmas Eve.
We've also had the chance to participate in various community-related Christmas activities, which I think definitely contributes to my feelings of excitement and enjoyment. I've performed for our ward Christmas program and for a short Christmas program at a local assisted living community. And our ward was involved in a community Christmas Jubilee, which helps local families provide toys and a meal for their family for Christmas. I was able to help out when the families came to select their toys from the "toy shop", and it was one of the most fun service activities I've participated in in a long while. I was host to a girl whose son is about the same age as Gareth, so we had fun talking about our kids and her plans for the future.
So, I think we're shaping up to have a great Christmas. How about you? What are you doing that's bringing on the holiday spirit?