Welcome to day 7 of the 12 Days of Christmas! I keep seeing people talking about how different this year is, how the Christmas season is ruined this year, and endless discussions of general disappointment. This is completely understandable, but today I want to talk about some Christmas traditions that are not ruined this year. Honestly, I think most things that are truly Christmas-oriented are manageable even in a year as crazy as this, some just take some adapting. But I digress. I hope that this post is an encouragement to you, and that it might remind you of something fun that you can do this season despite everything going on. I tried to keep this to things that are free or inexpensive so that everything is accessible to anyone.
Christmas Traditions for 2020
Read the Christmas story, and then read ABOUT the Christmas story
- Why wait for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to do this? This reminder of the reason to celebrate it always available, always free, and always a source of encouragement. Whether this is a story that is extremely familiar to you or one that has previously gone unnoticed, there is always something new to see in it.
- Reading commentaries, sermons, or other works about the Christmas story is also especially beneficial this time of year. I’m currently reading The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs, and greatly enjoying hearing in depth about Mary, Elizabeth, and Anna. There are also movies, podcasts, and other media about the true Christmas story, if you’ve got reading fatigue or are simply looking for a different format.
Outdoor ice skating
- Depending on where you live, this one may or may not be free. Here in Oklahoma there is definitely nowhere outdoors that freezes well enough to skate safely, but there are usually a few pop-up rinks like this one that are not too expensive. I love skating any time of year, but there is something extra festive about skating outside in the naturally crisp air with Christmas carols playing through the speakers. I try to go at times when I know the rink will be less busy anyways, so with a little pre-planning and contentiousness, it shouldn’t be too difficult to maintain an appropriate amount of social distance while skating.
Drinking hot chocolate and peppermint-flavored anything
- In my mind, peppermint is a wonderful follow-up to pumpkin spice season! I try to avoid sugar as much as possible, but I’m sure a cup or two of hot chocolate is going to sneak in at some point this season. It’s pure comfort in a mug after being cold outside, and the instant kind is usually reasonably priced.
- Bonus: I just found out that there is a TON of cute clip art in a Google search for peppermint mocha!
- For all of the years that I was in school (before grad school), I was always involved in at least one musical group and therefore performed in an annual Christmas concert. At OBU, the Hanging of the Green concert was always my favorite. As a member of the hand bell ensemble and women’s choir, some years were a bit challenging as I went back and forth from one group to the other. I think this concert held more meaning than any other to me because we weren’t just showing off what we had learned – we were truly celebrating. Obviously many Christmas concerts were cancelled or changed this year, and Hanging of the Green was not unscathed. But, the music department shared this lovely YouTube video of this year’s Ringers playing their Christmas repertoire in the lobby of the chapel, and it is truly wonderful to see and hear.
Putting up your own decorations
- This was particularly fun for me this year, as it is my first time decorating my own apartment by myself! Initially I didn’t think I had much to do, but then I found a Christmas tree on sale, and sifted through the decorations at my parents’ house, and rearranged things in my living room…before I knew it, just about every surface was covered with something Christmasy! I’ll be sharing a few of my favorite decorations in a few days, so I won’t go into much detail today. I also helped my parents put up their decorations, which made for a very nice day.
- Bonus: this is even better when you put on Christmas music while you’re getting things out and decorating. If you need some inspiration for which Christmas music to go with, see my post from Day 4.
- Bonus part 2: If you don’t have Christmas decorations already, break out the craft supplies and make some! I just returned a book about knitting Christmas decorations to the library, and we have a whole section about Christmas crafts including needlecrafts, kid-friendly DIYs, making your own Christmas cards from scrap paper, and so much more!
Keep up with an Advent calendar
- Even though I’ve had the same Advent calendar all my life (or at least as long as I can remember), I still look forward to opening each day’s door and reading the verse inside.
- If you don’t have an Advent calendar, you don’t have to buy one to enjoy this tradition. This year, I found multiple free online Advent calendars! I have not gone through all of these so I can’t necessarily endorse them completely, but they look fun! There are even some that will let you upload your own pictures and send them to family or friends. If you’re looking for something more tangible, this could also be a fun craft to put together with kids or yourself.
I don’t know about you, Reader, but just writing this post has me feeling cozy Christmas vibes! One other thing that I’ve done this year to make Christmas 2020 special is a virtual/remote Secret Santa with a group of people from college. We live in several different states now so even in a “normal” year we would not have gotten together in person; this year we decided to throw a party anyways! There was some stress over shipping delays, but it generally went very well! Would you like to see a post about how we pulled this off?
What Christmas traditions are you holding dear this year?
Until the next chapter,