December Bucket List
I could never have imagined how difficult these last 12 months of bucket list challenges would be when 2020 started. I thought all of my ideas were fun and doable but I also didn’t figure in a global pandemic so there’s that… As for my final bucket list, all of these challenges were a blast because they were all so festive. Most of these are things I would typically do in my holidays anyways but this just made it even more joyful.
Holiday manicures are the best because glitter is always appropriate. During the holiday season I switch between glittery reds, greens and golds.
Advent Calendar/ Advent Jesse Tree
Believe it or not, I’m a lover of Christmas that has never had an advent calendar. In fact, I don’t even have the little décor versions that helps keep track of the days. Every year I say I’m going to get one but I always come up with an excuse but this year I decided I’d go for it because why not? But here’s the thing… the advent calendar market stinks! Your options are either great gifts that cost a fortune or really crappy options for cheap. The beauty ones were bonkers pricey and the food ones were either cheap and boring or over the top excessive for one person. Also, have you noticed that there aren’t savory advent calendars? That needs to be fixed. In the end, I had to settle for a dog treat advent calendar for the boys from Target and a really interesting Stollen calendar that had no English on the packaging so I had to guess flavors based on the pictures provided but it was pretty good.
“The Advent Jesse Tree” is a book written by a local author and it works as a devotional advent for the holiday season. It has a quick devotion for adults and one for children that leads up to Christmas Eve. It’s a great way to direct your heart to the true meaning of Christmas in a season when it’s easy to get caught up in the details and forget the focus.
Cookie Day 12/4/ Gingerbread House
I’m not a huge cookie person but there’s something so perfect about a dessert that can be easily carried around. Actually, one of my favorite cookies is a breakfast cookie that I first had when a dear lady at church brought breakfast for our Bible fellowship class and they’ve been a favorite ever since. It’s essentially a sugar cookie with cornflakes, bacon and raisins so it’s salty and sweet. Strange that I love these so much when I hate cereal AND raisins.
As far as gingerbread houses go, I’ve only ever made maybe two because they are difficult to make truly pretty without a great amount of skill but I love the concept of a gingerbread house. However, I found this precious little cottage at Walgreens of all places so I knew he would be perfect for this challenge. I'm not sure why my parents have King Cake babies in a variety of sizes or this tiny Kewpie doll but my father thought they'd liven up the little cottage and I definitely agree that they add a colorful flair.
My mother and I have very differing opinions on how you should decorate a Christmas tree. I like a cohesive look while she prefers to hang every ornament that was ever brought into our house including a 30+ year old mason jar lid with my thumbprint reindeer in it. I get why she does this because there are so many lovely memories attached to each thing we hang on the family tree. Ultimately, they tell our story.
Personally, I had an original tree that was the traditional red/green sparkle that looked like something in a department store which I love because it is aesthetically pleasing but it doesn’t have the sentimentality attached that I so associate with Christmas and because of that I’ve put up my grandmother’s silver foil tree for the last few years. This tree is a glorified broomstick with tinfoil shish kabobs attached and it’s nearly 60 years old but I love it dearly because it’s so quirky.
Because of my lack of randomness on my tree, I’ve not purchased an ornament for myself in YEARS but this year I was gifted a very special and beautifully made ornament by some of my favorite G Hall stars. And yes, it matches my traditional red/green tree perfectly!
Wear an Ugly Sweater
I love ugly Christmas sweaters because I wore similar sweaters unironically as a child. Once again, if you know me you know I love a good themed event so having a reason to wear something tacky is so fun! I also love seeing everyone’s personality come through in their sweater choices. Unfortunately, we didn’t have our traditional tacky Christmas party this year but I still had the opportunity to parade my bold fashion choice at school.
Watch Your Favorite Christmas Movie
There are tons of fabulous holiday movies but the two of my favorites are “White Christmas” and “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Both movies make me cry hysterically no matter how often I watch them but they are classics for a reason and the music of “White Christmas” is superb. Of course, “A Christmas Story” and “Christmas Vacation” are definitely on the favorites list as well. How could they not be?
Read a Favorite Christmas Book
My favorite Christmas book of all time is a book from my childhood called “The Story of Santa Claus” by Scribbler Elf. It’s written from the perspective of one of Santa’s elves as he tells the tale of Santa becoming the figure of modern times. It is absolutely beautifully written and illustrated. It’s so beloved that my brother and I fought over who got to keep it when we both moved out so I scoured the internet and found a copy for him. I highly recommend this for all lovers of Christmas, though you may have to look on eBay.
Enjoy Christmas Lights
One of my favorite things about the holidays is the ambiance created by the variety of lighting options. So much is lit by fairy lights, fireplaces and candles which makes the world seem very magical. This year, my squad decided to go on what I called “A Very Merry Country Christmas Extravagance” to Tennessee and one of our main events was the Franktown Festival of Lights. I love that Christmas lights and fireworks turn us all into children full of wonder and amazement.
Letter to Santa
I haven’t written Santa in a bit and the last time I visited Santa was in college but I adore the story of Virginia writing Santa Claus so with that in mind I sat down to pen my letter to St. Nick. I hope that in spite of 2020 I’ve made the “nice list”.
Play Cards with Mother
This is an old tradition my mother and I have done for decades. During the holidays, when I’m staying with my parents, mother and I will stay up late playing rummy. I love playing rummy and this is one of the few games I would consistently play with my family because they are definitely not board game people.
I’ve always wanted to make mince pies because they are a great piece of historic food culture but they also require a good bit of work and 2020 isn’t giving me a lot of free time to devote to preserving pie fillings so I decided to order some online and while I was there I found a Christmas pudding which I’ve also always wanted to try and I thought, “Why not?” and then a plum pudding popped up and that’s a comedic food moment for Anne Shirley so OF COURSE I had to purchase it. Check out my new series, "Bailey Tries..." in January for my opinion on these festive treats from across the pond.
NYE Get Together/ Goals 2020
New Year’s Eve makes me happy and sad because it’s the end of the holidays but it's the start of a new chapter. I love getting together with family and friends to stay up late and ring in the New Year. As much fun as it is to get dressed up in sequins and heels to party the night away, I have just as much fun sitting on the couch in sweats laughing with the girls.
I did a post recently looking back on 2020 and that included my goals for the year. Not meeting all of my goals and not hating myself for it proves that I’ve grown this year which has led me to create goals for 2021 in the hopes of another wonderful and growth filled year. I can’t wait to see all the Lord has in store for this next chapter.
Little did I know when I created these lists of challenges a year ago, that many would become very challenging because of a global crisis but that they would also give me direction and goals during a time of uncertainty. It seems so silly but at some points in the quarantine, these challenges were the only things giving me motivation to go beyond my little bubble. Proof that the Lord can use the trivial moments of your life to grow and develop you as a person.