My Holiday Musts

When it comes to the holidays, some things I try to do every year no matter what. Whether I’m looking forward to the festivities, dreading them due to depression/anxiety, or not able to do much due to a chronic illness flare, this doesn’t change. These are my holiday musts.

Songs

I’m not the type that likes to play Christmas music much. I hate how it is everywhere once Halloween is over, and I don’t listen to it on the radio. There are a few songs that tend to get in my head though and just scream “holidays” to me. Let it Snow and It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas are two of those songs.

Movies

There are a ton of holiday movies out there, but there are three that are my faves and I make a point of watching every year. Even when I feel like crap, it’s comforting to curl up on the couch with my kids and watch a movie.

White Christmas is an oldie but a goodie. Great music, beautiful costumes, and dancing, what more can you ask?

The Santa Clause and The Santa Clause 2 have been favorites of my family ever since they came out. I’m not a fan of the third movie, but I never get tired of the first two in the trilogy, and that’s why they are holiday musts.

Activities

Songs and movies don’t take any energy, so they are easy whether I have any oomph or not. What about other activities? What are the baseline things I like to squeeze in each year? Well, to start with, we have a tree every year. Some years it is a tiny 2′ tall fiber optic tree, other years we get our 4′ tree put up with lights, ornaments, and skirt. My mom always gets another full sized tree set up down in her living area where there is more room.

I also get my lighted garland up on the banister every December. We don’t do outside lights, or really any other lights, but the garland is easy enough it goes up year after year.

multicolored lights on an evergreen garland wrapped around a banister with a wooden shelf with knick knacks, a pink and black painting, and part of a tv in the background

Speaking of lights, I try to drive the kids around to see at least a few blocks of lit houses. Ideally we like to check out a few different neighborhoods, but I’m not always up to that.

We buy candy canes every year, even if they aren’t going to fit on the tree. I love eating them, and the kids love them too. This year we bought a few different flavors and also a box of miniature peppermint canes to add to hot cocoa and coffee.

There are a few things I make sure happen because they are important to the kids.

Just for the kids

First, is the tree present. I can’t remember when we started this tradition, but I bet it was around 15 years ago. What I do remember is that I was looking for traditions to start with my family and ran across the story of The Christmas Pickle. The idea was to hang up a pickle ornament and the first child to find it got an extra present. We didn’t want either of our two (at the time) left out, so we just hid a small present for each. I did that for a couple years. Then I didn’t think it was any big deal, so I didn’t one year. They missed it so much, I’ve been very careful to never miss out again. All four of our kids enjoy this tradition, and it’s the first thing they do each Winter Solstice or Christmas morning (depending on when we celebrate that year).

Another of our holiday musts is an electric toothbrush in the stocking. This one seems boring, maybe, but my kids really get a kick out of a new electric toothbrush each year. When they were little, we got really fun ones, but they get the more “boring” adult versions now. That didn’t stop my 12 year old from repeatedly asking if they were for sure getting the toothbrushes again.

So, those are my holiday musts that we make sure get done every year. Do you have any holiday musts? What kind of traditions do you make sure happen every year?

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.