Savoring December 2023


This is one month that can be very busy and hectic.  It's also a month just full of things that we can enjoy, many of which cost next to nothing.  It's not hard to right a 'Savoring' list for a month like December. 

I'm not going to say I'm doing every one of these things, but I am listing a load of things that I find pleasurable in this month and perhaps some of them might go on your bucket list as well.

#1.  Obviously the putting up of a tree is a moment to enjoy.  I encourage you, even if you live alone or generally don't put up a tree, get a small tree and just put lights on it.  The soft glow is the best sort of ambient lighting, and you'll find it oddly consoling in the dark of the evening and early morning, to see those lights glowing softly.  

#2.  As for me, I thoroughly enjoy the whole decorating the tree thing and finding a new look or theme each year.  It is a creative outlet for me to decorate. I already know my theme, which rather surprised me, because I truly had no idea when I planned to put the tree up.

#3.  There are so many ballet company videos of "The Nutcracker" on YouTube.  The music is lovely, and ballet is one of my favorite forms of dance to watch.  I enjoy seeing how different productions design costumes and sets.  I've already watched one on Thanksgiving night.  I've told John I'd like to watch more of them.

#4.  Create a list of favored movies for the holiday season.  Some of my favorites: We'll start with Dicken's A Christmas Carol.  Most all of the films we watch are black and white, but we do include the Patrick Stewart and George C. Scott films.  I think currently we enjoy five different variations on this.  And every now and then we throw in the Bill Murray film "Scrooged".

We also love: "White Christmas", "The Bishop's Wife" with Cary Grant and Loretta Young and David Niven.  "It Happened on 5th Avenue", "The Shop Around the Corner" two versions one with Jimmy Stewart in the male lead and one with Judy Garland in the female lead.  "Christmas in Connecticut" is a fun film. Though it's not solely based on Christmas, "Meet Me In St. Louis" has a lovely Christmas scene and I tend to think of it often during the holiday season. I'm sure there are more I can't even think of at the moment, but we watch lots of Christmas-y movies in this month. And of course, technically it begins on Thanksgiving Day, but the original version of Miracle on 34th Street is pretty awesome as a Christmas film.  I'm sure I've left off something but these are a few of the many films I expect we shall watch all through the season.

#5. I always look to attend some church production or another.  John wants to go to a Living Christmas tree program, but alas we never find one in our area.  

For years I participated in a seasonal cantata program and now I look for one to attend each year.  Months of practice go into most of these and the nativity story told through song is powerful.

Our own church has a big production with four showings over a weekend prior to Christmas and it comes complete with a hot cocoa booth, a petting zoo nativity, decorations in the lobby to rival any fancy department store and photo opportunities for families, friends and individuals.   They even have a Santa for little kids to share their wish list with.

#6.  Provide meals and gifts for those who are in need.  There are multiples of clubs, groups, organizations, groceries, etc. leading drives for gifting to underprivileged children, feeding families, homeless etc.  In this season, I think it is important to give back in whatever way you possibly can.

#7.  Read favorite Christmas books.  I have Dicken's A Christmas Carol, Advent books to follow along day by day (or week by week), and a few books that are centered around the Christmas season, or even a chapter or two.  One of my all-time favorite Christmas stories is the opening chapter of Louisa May Alcott's, Little Women.  And that is a good film to add to my movie list, anyone of the many productions.

#8.  Gather fresh greenery to bring indoors.  I have mostly Cedar and pine here on our place, but I recall Granny also sent Grandaddy out to bring home Mistletoe.  We have plenty of Mistletoe in some of our trees here.  I'll just go stand under one of those and gather my kisses rather than bring it indoors, lol.  But I do like to add Cedar and Pine to my mantle and dough bowl and to my floral arrangements and since it is free and a renewable source, I can freshen it as often as I like.  Honestly, it takes a lot longer to dry out than you'd think.

#9. Buy Amaryllis and Daffodils to force for February blooms.  Often these bulbs go on sale this time of year.  I always buy in December with an eye towards February and I plant the bulbs after Christmas, but before the New Year.

#10.  Buy a variety of citrus.  This hearkens back to my childhood when we always had a lot of citrus in the house, especially tangerines and navel oranges and grapefruits.  We're a bit spoiled now with citrus widely available and in season all year round but I'm especially fond of it in the winter months and most especially at Christmas.  I like to keep a big bowl of citrus fruits on the counter.

#11.  Make yourself and your spouse a Christmas stocking.  Nothing pricey or expensive.  Include fancy flavor packets of coffee or cocoa, a favored candy bar, a pretty new pen, a gift card for a fancy brewed cup of coffee outside the home, peppermints, coupons for dates or foot massages or back rubs (those are for your partner you can tell him you'd like coupons, too).  

#12.  Make time every day to just sit and enjoy the tree lights.  It's easy enough to put it up and forget it.  Make time to enjoy it every day and you'll find you appreciate it that much more.  Make a ritual of having a morning cup of coffee before the lit tree in an otherwise dark room.  Or have a cup of cocoa at night with nothing but the glow of the tree.

#13.  Make at least one evening outing to view Christmas lights at homes in town.

#14.  Wrapping gifts and piling them under the tree...

#15.  Putting out a big bowl of mixed nuts, mostly walnuts and pecans.  I love when people come to visit then stand there at the counter or table, cracking nuts and picking them out to snack on.  It's one of the few 

There are so many more things that one might do in this month of the year....What are some of the things you most look forward to doing in December?  Do you have a favorite book or movie reserved for this season only?

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mikemax said...

Terri, you've forgotten my two favorite Christmas movies--National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story. A Christmas Story reminds me of the era I grew up in. And Christmas Vacation--what can I say?!!!!!!!!!!!!

Two years ago, my Christmas cactus fell apart--branch by branch. I stuck a couple of branches in cactus potting soil and they are blooming now! Also, my most impressive Christmas decoration is also the easiest. We have an open plan house and the kitchen is visible from the living room. Normally, I have my teapot collection on top of the kitchen cabinets. But, in December, I take them down to wash and replace with 8 red fake poinsettias (one atop each cupboard) until New Year's. They cost $4 each and I've used them for about 10 years and counting. They are stunning when massed and you absolutely cannot tell them from the real thing when they are up high. I had a plant shelf between the living and dining rooms in our other house and also used them there.

Cindi Myers said...

I love the poinsettia idea, MikeMax. I also decorate above my kitchen cabinets -- lots of miniature Christmas trees and stars.
We are located about 6 hours from Salt Lake City and this year I have tickets to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas performance on Dec. 15. My girlfriend and I are going to drive over and spend the night. I am really looking forward to this.
Our own church's Christmas program is this weekend -- Saturday and Sunday. Saturday morning we decorate the church. I'm hoping those things will put me in the holiday spirit and I'll be inspired to come home and put up my own decorations.
We host a Christmas Even brunch for neighbors every year. This year it will be on Saturday, the 23rd. That's always an enjoyable time.

Grammy D said...

I am spending Christmas clear across the country in AZ. I am my son in laws surprise gift to my daughter and granddaughter. Hope they aren't disappointed. LOL. My other daughter is disappointed I wont be here but haven't spent Christmas with Granddaughter for 10 years. Son and friend are going to London so we will celebrate in January. My first year without my dear hubby so glad I will be doing something new. Gramma D

Tammy said...

We'll have the kids overnight on the 9th, so I'm thinking Christmas Vacation movie night with a snacky supper and some treats. The next day we'll do Christmas cookies and gingerbread houses.
We'll also do an evening drive to town for lights, and I was just wondering where I could borrow a thermos to take along some hot cocoa...
Layla's school program is next week, the boys' concert the week after.
I have several crafting items to finish for gifts, but will start wrapping early.
Our family gatherings will all be done by the end of Christmas day!
We've already watched Elf, have plans for Christmas Vacation, but of course we'll watch It's a Wonderful Life, and I'll probably watch a few versions of Little Women.
(A p.s. from my last comment: the calendar for Caleb to start back to school is a wonderful idea!)

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