Wednesday, November 28, 2012

High on My List(s)

Christmas is less than 4 weeks from today. And I am getting close to being in the mood. I am getting excited to pack away the leaves and pumpkins and pull out the holly and the lights.

a monumentally sad moment
Oh, and the Barefoot Hippie Girl put boots on yesterday. Closed toe shoes. For the first time since March. Excepting my running shoes, of course. Sad day. Sad day. Sigh. Four months of shoes. That is what I have to look forward to. Depressing. Though for our 3-1/2 week trip in Borneo, my sandals will be able to see the light of day! Yay!

I'm also considering the affect of Meres on decorations this year. She seems to take it as her personal challenge to ouch what she knows is off limits. What do you think...a tree only decorated on the top half? Would that be weird?

she was so blessedly immobile last Christmas
I'm making my lists, and checking them twice. Lists for

-Barefoot Hippie traditions like picking out a tree, getting a new ornament for each of us (Hobby Lobby is the best place-great selection, great prices), visiting the local museum to see their array of trees and quilts, going to a concert or two, checking out Christmas lights.

-Christmas Eve menu. We always do Christmas Eve with the BFF, and we do appetizers. I try to add a new recipe or two each year, plus haul out old favorites.

-Christmas Gift list. Who is getting what? Including all the people who add to our lives every year-like teachers and the mailman.

-Christmas card list. So I am still not sure if I am doing cards this year. I have time to make up my mind, right?

-Christmas Program for church. We do the King's College Nine Lessons-modified. Today I spent time modifying. Mr. Hippie will pass out assignments to eager volunteers on Sunday. I still have to make up the power point for it, which doesn't take much time. And practice my kids' parts with them, which does take much time. It actually is a beautiful service, and rather laid back. There are no official practices. Everyone practices their part on their own, and then we all come together and just enjoy and worship.

-Christmas work party. I ordered tickets and t-shirts for presents this week. I am finalizing that menu. Our party is always a great time to connect with our guys and just show appreciation for their hard work all year.

-Christmas handmade list. This year my go-to gifts for the little-big people in my life are sugar scrub and stocking ornaments. By little-big people I mean the people who make a huge difference in my life, like teachers and service people, who don't normally get recognized or appreciated. These are my very small tokens of appreciation. I enjoy making sugar scrub. And LC loves helping me. It takes very little time and actually looks nice. For sugar scrub you simply mix all the ingredients together, and package. Easy-peasy.

Here is my Top Secret Sugar Scrub recipe...

12 T finely ground coffee
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 T real vanilla
1/2 cup olive oil

-Mix it all together, and package. I like using 4 ounce jelly jars.

If you are not a fan of coffee you could also do

Pick Your Scent Sugar Scrub
3 cups white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
essential oil (half a tiny bottle) for scent

Lemon Sugar Scrub
3 cups white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
4 T lemon juice
couple drops dye
lemon essential oil (optional, for a stronger scent)

I also found an awesome tutorial (here) for making stocking ornaments that I am going to try later this week. Don't those look whimsical? And easy?! The seams are on the outside which should make them a breeze to whip up.
-My Christmas baking list. The pans of bars and varieties of cookies. Biscotti and gingerbread. I love baking at Christmas time. And I love giving away what I bake. That way I don't end up 10 pounds heavier at the end of the season. Our mailman is a prime candidate for my baking day. And he looks forward to his plate every year. I give him probably a dozen and a half cookies-enough to share with his family. He says they never make it home.=) I do cookies for him because I have heard (could be an urban legend) that federal employees are limited on what they can accept as gifts. Could be a bribe, you know?

-Naughty/Nice list. Okay, so I really don't have one of those. But, I have threatened my kids that if they don't get along, they aren't getting Christmas gifts. Come to find out, my sil used that threat too.

My goal for this season is to enjoy what I do, and the acts of creating, decorating, and giving. If it is stressing me out-it is out the door. No looking back. Stressing equals unduly yelling at the kids. Unduly is the operative word. Just being real here.

I am not comparing what I am doing to Pinterest, though I will be using some of my pins as inspiration this year. I am a good copier in the decorating department. And not Martha Stewart level either. I am not comparing my lists to what others in my life, IRL or online, are doing. I am doing what works for the Barefoot Hippies, or I'm not doing it.

We do an advent calendar. It doesn't involve readings. Just pockets filled with chocolates, and moving the snowflake each day in December until the day. (I forgot to pick up the chocolate yesterday! At least it isn't December yet.)

Our emphasis has always been on spending time with the important people in our life around the holidays. Not fancy-schmancy time. Just hanging out. Talking. Having fun. Laughing.

What is on your Christmas lists this year? Anything new? Anything that didn't make the cut? How are you simplifying? How are you giving back to those you appreciate? How are you making Christ the priority? I can't wait to hear your thoughts in the comments!