I've been thinking this week about people whose Christmas season is looking a bit different this year. Maybe it's different in a huge way, like the loss of a spouse to death or divorce, or the loss of a child or a parent. Maybe your celebration of Christmas Eve or Christmas Day is going to look different due to finances or health or not being able to travel, or your grown children deciding to spend those times with friends or in-laws.
I was reminded of a post I'd written and have shared several years called Christmas Traditions for the Empty Nest. If your nest is emptying, or has just emptied for the first time, you will want to check out that post.
In 2014 I had written a post concerning making every day merry in little ways. The ideas I'm sharing today are adapted and expanded upon from that one.
As regular readers might have guessed, I just love December and the Christmas season. This beautiful and oh-so-meaningful season passes so quickly. One thing I like to do, to make the season last longer, is to give every day during December a little bit of a festive feel. This is especially helpful if, like me, you happen to be an empty-nester, or if you are single -- or even if you are a mom in a busy household.
Even if you are sad today and just don't feel like doing anything Christmasy, humor me and read through these ideas anyway. As believers, we have so much to celebrate this season. You might be especially blessed by the ideas I've suggested for your quiet time:
* Do an Advent Bible study for your devotions. I'm a bit late suggesting this, but it does help keep one focused on the true meaning of Christmas. If you jumped into one now, it probably wouldn't be too late; you could double up on each day and make it work that way.
Abby's 25 Days of God-Given Gifts over at
Little Birdie Blessings is another great option to help you look at Christmas as a time of appreciating the gifts we have as God's children. Abby's graphic for Day 9 is shown below. ↓↓↓
Or read a Christmas devotional and read and/or meditate on any Scripture that is shared. I have a few Christmas devotionals here on my blog. One of my favorites is this one: Comfort and Joy. I also have a Pinterest board featuring Christmas devotionals. You can find it here: Christmas devotionals.
Here are a few more ideas:
* Use festively flavored coffee as your everyday coffee during this month. What we do is to buy Christmas coffee at the after-Christmas sales. Places like Marshalls and TJ Maxx often have it for 75% off a day or two after Christmas. (They often have regular coffee in Christmas packaging on clearance, too. We snap it up. Coffee is coffee!)
* Or use regular coffee and a festive flavored creamer. Sometimes I use fat-free half & half along with just a splash of the flavored creamer. Still gives the jolly flavor with less calories.
* If you enjoy tea, stock up on the holiday teas as you have opportunity and sip a mug daily. Sometimes these are reduced after Christmas and sometimes not. Some of my favorites are Christmas Tea by Twining's, Candy Cane Lane by Celestial Seasonings, and White Christmas by Stash.
* Some people use their Christmas dishes all through the month of December, and I think this is a great idea. I've actually moved my Christmas dishes to a more easily accessible cabinet to facilitate this. Setting the table with Christmasy colored placemats is a nice idea too, and do add a simple Christmasy centerpiece. (Mine at the moment is a red, white, and green striped bowl filled with cookie cutters. And little tea lights in shiny tart molds -- in the Yankee Candle Gingerbread Maple scent. You can't imagine how nice they smell!) Again, even if you are alone at Christmas, take time to use these table-setting ideas. You will be much more apt to actually sit down and eat if the table is pretty and inviting.
* Take time to do some fun things like attend a Christmas concert, watch a Christmas DVD, bake some goodies or craft some simple ornaments. Set up an Advent calendar or a Christmas countdown. Yes, even if it's just for you! A friend sent me an online Advent calendar with activities for every day. So much fun!
* Decorate with fresh greens, fresh fruit, or festively scented candles for an energizing scent.
* In fact, put something small and Christmasy in every room of your house, like this little soft blue tree on my bathroom counter one year. (Both bathroom and counter look completely different now!) Little touches like this will make you smile every time you see them.
Even a little festive votive holder with a battery operated tea light on a kitchen counter, bathroom counter, or a bookshelf can just lift your spirits when you see it. A little light and sparkle is necessary for all of us, especially in winter when the days can be dreary and darkness comes on so early.
* And when you do have opportunity to do some celebratory things with family, friends, or your church family, go for it. Take full advantage of the opportunities! Even if it doesn't look or feel like your usual celebration, or if it's not on your preferred day or in your preferred location (like your own home, for example), go anyway and be in the moment! We all could use a reminder that this celebration isn't all about us.
There are a few ideas! I'm sure you will think of more. We have so much to celebrate -- the coming of our Savior to earth, to be born as a Baby in a humble stable, to grow up and die on a cross, then rise again, so we would have a way of salvation. No, Jesus was almost certainly not born on December 25, but this is one time of year when the focus is on Him. Let's go about each day with a merry heart, ready to share His love with others at this festive time!