Thursday, December 10, 2009

Where the Christmas Action Is

The converted Ebenezer Scrooge was said to be a man who knew how to keep Christmas more than any man alive. And Scrooge's change of heart wasn't only for the season either. The fellow who once dismissed the holiday as a "humbug" became dedicated to keeping the spirit of Christmas every day of the year. That alone is enough to make him one of our favorite heroes in all literature!

Below is a handful of "things to do" appropriate to the season that we first listed in our first "Making the Most of Christmas" packet back in 1996. I hope you find them useful. And remember Scrooge's year round involvement in "the business of mankind." For example, having a few friends over to decorate cookies with a view to then distribute them to folks who do not have the time, energy or wherewithal to do so is a terrific Christmastime activity. But aren't things like friendship, creativity and service to others of inestimable value at any time of year? Of course they are, so don't limit your cookie parties (or whatever) to just this time of the year.

So, keeping in mind that the activities below are easily adapted for other seasonal expressions, here are just a few December suggestions of how to keep that year-round Christmas spirit.

Turn off the TV and get together with family and friends. And when you do, put a little purpose in your Christmas gatherings.

Bake cookies and take them to others.

Talk about Christmas.

Invite everyone to bring a favorite poem or Scripture passage to read to one another.

Have dinner or travel around town for a "progressive" meal.

Go Christmas caroling.

Pray together as a family or as a group of friends.

Make "Santa runs" bearing cookies or other inexpensive treats.
Host a scavenger hunt.

Have a costume party.

Watch It's a Wonderful Life and, like our friend Joe Scheidler and his family, give the assembled party a trivia quiz over the movie.

Study the Christmas accounts in the Bible.

Hold a discussion over a book that you have all read in the previous month.

Make your own Christmas cards.

Build a snowman.

Listen to Dylan Thomas reading "A Child's Christmas in Wales" or turn out the lights and listen to a Christmas-oriented radio program from the 1940's.

Create a snow shoveling crew for some of the elderly folks in your neighborhood.

Play board games.

Shop for inexpensive gifts at a thrift store or used bookseller.

Dramatize the sanctity of life so clearly revealed in the Incarnation by having a candlelight prayer vigil at an abortion clinic.

Memorize a few of the lesser-known verses of a Christmas carol.

Make special invitations for friends to attend your church's Christmas program with you.

Prepare a meal for someone who could use the help (or just the attention!).

Again, these are just a few. Add to the list with your own ideas -- and let us know about them too.