Well, we are a little less than 2 weeks away from Christmas Day....or "the Big Show" as Bob Newhart calls it in the movie "Elf".
A few weeks ago when we were entering the holiday season, with all that was going on with Covid and lockdown restrictions, I was feeling anything but Merry. Normally I love Christmas and everything that goes along with it but this year I just wasn't feeling my usual holiday spirit. I am sure I am not alone in this sentiment.
For me, I look forward to our yearly traditions, and spending time with friends and family. I found that I was focusing on all the things that we couldn't do this year - visiting my favorite attractions around the city, hosting friends for a Christmas party, making our yearly visit to my in-laws farm on Vancouver Island...the list of disappointments was long.
I know that this post is sounding super depressing, but stay with me! Something happened that elevated my mood and changed my stinkin thinkin and I wanted to share it with you today in the hopes that it might provide you with some inspiration and holiday cheer.
My Christmas Bucket List
One day a few weeks ago when I was feeling particularly low, my friend Casey (from the DIY Playbook) shared a Winter Bucket list on her Instagram stories and that simple action shifted my mindset. Her list inspired me to stop focusing on what couldn't be, and instead make a list of all the things that we could do over the holidays. It even encouraged me to think of a few new things to add to the line up this year, things that we typically don't make time for like skiing and exploring the city on our bikes. I turned it into a creative activity and made a pretty checklist using Canva.
Making this bucket list was a really fun and positive activity and I even got the kids involved. In a short time we had a long list, of things to make, do and eat over the 2 week winter break. Now I have lots of things that I am looking forward to over the next few weeks and that is just what I needed to get me into the holiday spirit. I also think there was a great life lesson here for my kids - showing them, by example, how I was able to shift my mindset and find the positives in a challenging situation. If you would like to make a list with your family, I have attached a blank one (as a PDF) for you to download and print out.
What we are going to Make and Bake
The two line items on my bucket list that I am most excited about are the cookie baking and craft making. Back before life got really crazy with 3 kids, I used to love to make things at Christmas time. I was that person who would actually make the recipes and crafts from her Marth Stewart magazine! Then the kiddos came along and the holidays became a frantic race against the clock! That has been one silver lining of the holiday lockdown...more time.
Baking cookies is something we do year round, but there are a few items we only make for the holidays so they are special. Here are the 3 items currently on my baking list:
1. My mom's Whipped Shortbread
These are the cookies of my childhood Christmas! I shared the recipe and tutorial on my blog last year and you can read that by clicking here.
2. Christmas Crack
The other yummy thing we discovered a few years ago is not a cookie, but it's an addictive treat that we only make for the holidays. It's called "Christmas Crack" and you can get the recipe here.
3. Shaped Cookies
Every year we make and decorate sugar cookies and gingerbread. When my son was about 6, we found these adorable "Ninja-bread-men" cookie cutters and we have been making them ever since.
If you want to snag a set for yourself, you can find them here on Amazon. This is my go-to sugar cookie recipe. (actually there are tons of yummy recipes and fun crafts on this website)
I LOVE making decorations for the holidays but never seem to have the time. A few years ago I made these Christmas pillow covers for an Etsy Winter Craft Market, which was fun.
Here are the crafts I want to try this year:
1. Dina from Dina's Digs made these adorable paper snowflakes out of brown lunch bags, and they are so cute!
2. White ceramic Christmas houses have been popular the last couple of years and I fell in love with these ones from Crate and Barrel, but they sold out.
Then I was scrolling instagram and saw a tutorial to make 1 dimensional white clay houses that the person had leaned against the fireplace mantle. I fell in love with the idea and thought I saved it but I didn't. Now I cannot, for the life of me, remember who posted the idea. So I did a deep dive search on Pinterest and this is the closest thing I could find.
Well there you have it, my Holiday Bucket List and some baking and craft ideas. I hope that this post has lightened your mood during this challenging holiday season, as it did for me. For more ideas and inspiration follow me on Instagram and/or Pinterest.