First off, is decorating -- I am lagging a bit behind Pseudodad, who tried to lay a guilt-laden decorating smackdown on me, but I am working on it:
Folks, don't bother trying to out-decorate your gay neighbors.
Each year, I try to come up with a fun list of activities for the holidays. I am not much of a shopper anyway and I really do not want my kid's holiday memories to consist of me dragging them through various stores. And I have a hard time with crowds (I am already dreading the Nutcracker crowd). Therefore, most of the activities are low-key or involve us just sitting at home and doing things together. Our dining room is already a mess of paper and holiday-themed stickers. I don't expect to clear off the table until Christmas morning, right before hosting dinner.
Anyway, this year's Christmas Bucket List includes the following:
- Decorating a gingerbread house which may or may not include a glue gun. In the past, I would make this whole venture SO stressful as I attempted to make it the Best Ever Gingerbread House Ever. Now? I let Team Chaos be in charge. The house will most certainly end up sporting with half of the candy provided as The Team will inevitably sneak pieces down their greedy gullets as they decorate while I pretend to not notice. Yes, it will be hideous, but I have learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gingerbread Bomb.
- Reading books -- we have so, so many delicious holiday books. What are YOUR favorite holiday books? (I was thinking of writing a separate Literally Literary post for this -- should I?)
- The Festival of Christmas Trees that is happening this week in Lawrence, KS -- a yearly tradition with my mom and sister Jill.
- The Holiday Luminary Walk at the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. We love the Arboretum and I always forget about the Luminary Walk -- THIS is the year I finally remembered with enough time to schedule it in.
- The Gingerbread Festival that is happening this weekend in Lawrence, KS. I love, LOVE Gingerbread houses. Another activity I tend to forget about until the date has already passed.
- An after school visit to the Bass Pro Santa. We used to visit the Crown Center Santa, but with my kiddos in school now, there is no way in hell I am braving Crown Center on a weekend.
- A few special night-time neighborhood drives to see holiday lights in our pajamas with lukewarm cocoa. We will be sure to thumb our noses at Pseudodad and his husband as we peel the tires out of our driveway.
- A visit to the Union Station to ride the Holiday Spirit and to view the model trains (again, after school to avoid the weekend crowds. Shudder) (Sidenote: Imagine my shock when I Googled "holiday spirit at the Union Station" and one of MY videos popped up as the #2 result. Whoa.)
- A flurry of Romanian/Hungarian Kifli making that will take up a full day. I am definitely making Christmas Crack and I may add some Peppermint Bark to the tradition. I have a stellar recipe from Average Jane that is just as good (and certainly less expensive!) than the one you can buy at Williams Sonoma.
- Attending Average Jane's cookie exchange -- a tradition I look forward to every year. Tucking in with some cheeseball concoctions and mulled apple cider with some of my favorite friends is definitely one of the highlights of the holiday season for me.
- Taking Anjali to see Handel's Messiah at the Kauffman Center this Saturday with my step-mom, sister Maureen and brother-in-law Brian. I bought these tickets months ago, I am SO PUMPED. This event was impossible to get tickets to last year because it sold out in August (yes, AUGUST.)
- Taking Anjali to see The Nutcracker at the Kauffman Center next week (yes, Arun bowed out of both the Messiah and The Nutcracker this year. He's already expressing a little regret, so I hope Manoj makes the most of Daddy/Son time with him.)
- Taking my babies to see Toys in Babeland, errr.... Babes in Toyland which is put on by the Blue Springs City Theatre. (This past summer, we saw Willy Wonka put on by the BSCT and I was really impressed with the quality of the production.)
- Decorating gingerbread cookies. I usually just buy a tub of dough, but I am thinking of venturing into homemade versions. Ideas? This recipe looks good, maybe less spicy though. I was thinking I could make a big batch, then we could make a few cookies here and there. (Sidenote: My Norpro pastry mat gets a helluva lot of use this time of year.)
- Movie viewing!! Need I say more?
- Christmas cards!
- Snowflakes!! Next to making paper flowers, I love, love making snowflakes.
What are your favorite activities during the holiday season? What am I missing here?