Our daughter is a teenager now. No more trips to Southpark Mall for her to sit on Santa’s lap. Oh, that used to be one of the highlights of the season…and she did it 15 or 20 times a year.
She doesn’t want to hang out with us like she used to, and we’re cool with that. She’s growing up, and I’m glad she is becoming more independent every day. During the Christmas season, she’ll join me for a few fun Christmas things, but we used to do a lot when she was younger. Every city has its own places to visit, but here are my favorite fun things to do during the holidays that can be done anywhere:
- Neighborhood Lights. Riding around looking at Christmas lights never gets old. Fortunately, our daughter will still do this with us. She will invite a few friends, and I’ll get a mom friend, and we will drive around looking at lights. Sometimes, we might even stop for the girls to “carol” at a friend’s house, which really means they want to visit with someone for a little while.
- Host a Cookie Swap. This is something we haven’t done in years, but when we did it, it was fun. Maybe this year, my daughter and I will pick a weekend day to invite friends over and have an old-fashioned cookie swap. We’ll make a few dozen of our favorites and ask our friends to bring their favorites, and we’ll swap them out while we drink hot chocolate or coffee…or maybe champagne for the moms!
- Decorate the Tree. I know, lots of people hire folks to decorate their tree and do their outdoor lighting, and that’s great if that’s what you want to do. Not me. Part of the fun of the holiday is doing that stuff! Sure, it’s frustrating at times, but it helps with the spirit of the holiday. Often, teenagers think they’re too cool to help decorate the tree or help with outdoor decor. At our house, it will be a family event…again. Besides, the best memories are made when the tree isn’t perfect! I remember when our daughter was four, we let her hang the ornaments on the tree, and they were all on the bottom third of the tree. Good times!
- Christmas specials. Maybe I’m the only 51-yr-old mother who loves the old Christmas TV specials more than my child does. She cares nothing about watching the old animated shows I watched as a child, so I usually end up recording them and watching them by myself. My husband thinks I’m a nut, but it never really feels like the holiday season till I see some of my favorites: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming To Town, A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Little Drummer Boy, and The Year Without A Santa Claus. Those were the ones we could hardly wait to see every year when I was a little girl. We’d get an early bath and get into our pajamas. Mother would turn off all the lights in the den, and we’d lie in front of the TV, watching the special of the night.
- Christmas Movies. When I was a teenager, I still looked forward to those specials, but I loved staying up late at night with Mother, watching classic holiday movies. Our favorites were Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Holiday Inn…all on TBS. One year, when It’s a Wonderful Life was on earlier in the evening, Daddy came in and wanted to watch something else on the television in the den. I pouted, but I went upstairs to finish watching my movie. He ended up coming upstairs and telling me we’d watch the movie in the den. He watched with me, and it became one of his favorite movies of all time. His other favorite Christmas movie? National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Daddy had a good sense of humor. I can remember his laugh like it was yesterday.
- Bake, Bake, Bake! Every time I go into Target between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I pick up some baking supplies: sugar, flour, butter, Karo Syrup, or even just cookie or cake mix. I have some favorite things I like to bake for the holidays: Fudge Pecan Pie Bars, Cardamom Cookies, Sugar Cookies, Buttermilk Pie, and Beer Bread! Maybe I can get my daughter to stay home long enough one weekend afternoon to do some baking with me. I’ll share some recipes soon too!
- Knitting. In Charlotte, December is when it starts to get a little cold, which puts me in the mood to do some knitting, and this year is no exception. I’m dragging out the yarn and knitting needles, getting ready to make a new snow beanie for my husband. He has one I made last year, and surprisingly, he loves it. He actually requested another one. It’s very relaxing for me to knit, and it’s great to know he likes what I made him.
- Visit Local Holiday Sites. Every city has different things to enjoy during the holidays, and every year, something is added. I love to get online and search for holiday fun in Charlotte every year. Maybe it’s a tree lighting or candlelight tour of a local attraction. There are so many fun things in Charlotte around the holidays. Lots of them are listed here. Our favorites are Winterfest at Carowinds; Christmas at the Library, Billy Graham Library, click here; Christmas in the Gardens at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens; Gingerbread Lane, Holiday Tea, Hot Chocolate and Toddies, and more at Ballantyne Hotel…see their events here; Charlotte Christmas Village (click here), and the drive-thru Nativity at Carmel Presbyterian Church located at the corner of Carmel Road and Sharonview Road (click here).
Now, I’m getting my calendar out to schedule everything we can possibly do between now and Christmas!