Friday, December 12, 2008

Zooming Thru Life:
Make the Most of Your Holiday Season

by Paul M. Carhart

Lots of people revere the holiday season as their favorite time of year. And I’m right there with them. So here are a few ideas to help spread further the holiday cheer.

Understand the reason for the season
There are many holidays celebrated during this time (Chanukah, Kwanzaa, etc.). Whatever your beliefs, you should always take a moment with your family to acknowledge why we celebrate. Christmas, for example, celebrates the birth of Jesus the Messiah. For Christians, this is an important time in history when everything in Christianity started. There’s nothing wrong with also partaking of secular Christmas traditions as long as you keep it in perspective and acknowledge the real reason for the season.

Start early
For the die-hards, the holiday season can’t come soon enough and it always ends too early. My family celebrates a wide array of holidays at the end of the year. We start in October with harvest-type decorations. We celebrate Halloween in our own way, allowing Melody to dress up without over-emphasizing the darker aspects. Later on, Lori and I sometimes cuddle up on the couch and watch a spooky movie. Once November starts, it’s popular nowadays to put up the Christmas decorations. However, Thanksgiving is important too and we don’t want it to get lost in the Christmas hype. So, although the jack-o-lanterns are retired, Lori usually continues with the harvest-style décor right on through Thanksgiving. The day after Thanksgiving is a great time to go all out for Christmas. It’s always a Friday and usually a paid holiday. If you don’t mind the crowds, you can cash in on the sales by getting a head start on your gift buying. It’s also the perfect time to break out all of the Christmas stuff and a good day to go pick out and bring home your Christmas tree. By the end of the day, your home can be transformed into a Winter Wonderland that’ll last through the New Year.

Let the music play
Decorating the house is also the perfect time to break out all of the Christmas CDs that you’ve had in storage. If you don’t have any, it’s easy to spot the Christmas section in any department store. We put them in a CD changer and hit the “random” button. It’s a great way to jump-start the season while you’re doing your decorating duties and throughout the season whenever you need a burst of Yuletide cheer.

Soak up the classics
Every year we put on classic Christmas films. It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street are two of Lori’s favorites. I can’t get enough of The Muppet Christmas Carol and Melody loves Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas. Of course there’s Bing Crosby’s White Christmas, Bill Murray’s Scrooged and Will Ferrell’s Elf to contend with as well. Love Actually is a modern favorite for later at night. Don’t forget all of the great Christmas TV specials from the 70s starring Rudolph, Frosty, Heat Miser and Charlie Brown that are now freshly available on DVD. No matter who you are, there are great holiday films to remind you why it’s such a special time of year.

Feed the fireplace… and your face
It’s cold during the holiday season, so it’s only natural to introduce some warmth into the fray. In our family, we like to put a log in the fireplace and let it glow, let it glow, let it glow. Fireplace or not, ‘tis also the season for baking. Cookies, cakes and pies are welcome treats in addition to the usual candy canes, fudge and all other things chocolate. Keep up that workout though or when you get too cold, you won’t need a fireplace. You’ll have your extra girth to keep you warm.

So enjoy the season. Own it and bring it to all you come in contact with.
Next time, we’ll look at five more things you can do to extend your holiday reach.

Paul Carhart’s book, Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle, will be available from your favorite online bookseller, August 2009. Stay up to date:

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