1. Putting up the Christmas tree!One of my favorite things as a kid, that I always claimed as my own little job, was to put up the Christmas tree. I could never wait for us to do that and just loved spending hours on it. I also was always my dad’s little helper in putting up the outdoor lights… I just loved decorating. It really made the house feel so Christmas-y and made it pretty much my favorite season. Now, even since I live alone in a 20 square meter room, I always put up my mini-Christmas tree – trying to stick to my personal rule of waiting until after Thanksgiving. (Despite my not celebrating Thanksgiving. What can I say? The US rubbed off on me.)
2. Buying presents for friends and family!I absolutely love to buy presents for others. It makes me really happy because I can show gratitude and love that way. Now, my family is always really straightforward, and, ever since I was a kid, we would make wishlists and basically 90% of the gifts we got would be from that wishlist. I, myself, however don’t adhere to that. Nope. Even for Secret Santa, or whatever, I try to ignore wishlists, precisely because I feel like with gift giving you can show how well you know someone. Giving them something that is not on their wishlist kind of shows that you really thought about them, their personality, their likes and dislikes, and using your own knowledge derived the perfect present from that.
Obviously, there’s a bit of a risk there that it won’t turn out well, but it does make the present so much more meaningful. Like, people always say, “it’s the thought that counts” – but buying off a wishlist is kind of thoughtless, in a way. Though I am still ecstatic when I get exactly what I want for Christmas, when I get something I hadn’t though of that shows a lot of thought and consideration, that makes me 10 times more excited. But this is just kind of my weird quirk about gift giving. Can anyone relate to this?
3. My favorite Christmas tradition!When we moved to the US, we switched from celebrating Sinterklaas to celebrating Christmas. However, when you watch American Christmas movies… we didn’t really like that. You see the children wake up at 6am, rush downstairs, tear up all the wrappings off the presents, and they’re done in 15 minutes. So my family wanted to do something different. We made our own board game for how to open presents. There are squares where you have to sing Christmas carols, answer trivia questions, get a piece of candy, and… pick a present.
Now, additionally, we always put the name on the bottom of the present. So the person who lands on the present square has to pick up a present, and they don’t know who it’s for until they’ve picked it. They then bring it to the person who’s name is on it, and that person unwraps it, and then the game continues. A game can typically take us up to 4-5 hours, so we do break for breakfast/lunch, but it’s a great way to get the family to spend Christmas together and just revel in the presents and the gratitude. 🙂