Recipe Time, Day 15

Today is Day 15 of the 25 Days of Christmas.

Today is Day 15, and the activity for today as we continue to celebrate the 25 Days of Christmas together, apart, is one that was suggested to me by a friend. Her idea is to dig up a couple of your favorite recipes that you like to make each year, even if you don’t plan to cook or won’t be sharing a Christmas meal with others.

Her idea is to think about the recipe and where you first tasted it, or where you were when you first asked for the recipe from someone, or when you first used the recipe. Think about the friends and family you’ve shared it with and what was special about it. Perhaps you have special cookies you like to make and decorate each year or maybe you like to bake and give gifts from your kitchen to others.

Holding on to memories through sharing recipes with others is an important way to feel more special at Christmas. My friend suggested having a Zoom meeting with a few other friends and exchanging your favorite recipes so you all have more to choose from next year.

I hope you have fun going through some of your favorites. One of my favorites is one I just discovered a few years ago as I was looking for a recipe to use up some eggnog that was about to expire. I found a recipe for Eggnog Bread which is a quick bread and is light and fluffy. I added some cranberries to one of the loaves and my family enjoyed it on Christmas morning.

Please consider sharing your favorite recipe on your Facebook page or on my page and most definitely share it with your friends.

The affirmation for Day 15 is “I treasure my memories with family and friends.”

Validation, Day 14

Today is Day 14 of the 25 Days of Christmas.

As we continue to celebrate the 25 Days of Christmas together, apart, the activity for Day 14 is going to be a good one to do with children in your life. You will also like it if you’re creative and somewhat artistic.

I’d like you to use a sheet of paper and draw a big star on it, or if you think you’d like to hang the star on your Christmas tree, you might want to draw several smaller stars.

Think about a few of your best qualities, characteristics, or things you like about yourself, and write them in the points of the stars. You will need at least five of your best traits in order to fill all five points of the star. Then decorate the star with glitter or add some designs to it and hang it on your tree to remind you of how special you are.

This exercise is a good one to do in person or on Zoom with kids, as they need to be able to identify and own their good qualities. Share your star with them and ask them to tell you about theirs or to send you a picture of it. Validating yourself is important especially if you’re isolated more than usual because of the pandemic and aren’t receiving validation from others.

The affirmation for Day 14 is “I am unique and special.”

A Special Christmas, Day 13

Today is Day 13 of the 25 Days of Christmas.

As we continue to celebrate the 25 Days of Christmas together, apart, I want to thank you for sharing your stories with me. Hearing about how you’re taking part in some of these activities with friends and family is encouraging to me, and I also appreciate those of you who are sending me suggestions to use for my 25 Days series.

For Day 13 of the 25 Days, your activity is to think about a Christmas that was special to you. You may think about it, write about it, make a video telling about it, or call up someone who shared that special Christmas with you to tell them about it.

Think about some of these questions as you remember that special Christmas. What about that Christmas was special? Was it the people with you? Was it the location? Was it where you were in your life emotionally that year? Was it a particular event that made the day special? Was it just a feeling you had? Maybe you felt loved or cared for? Maybe you showed care to someone who needed to feel cared for or accepted and that made your Christmas special.

I encourage you to share your Christmas story. Special days need to be celebrated and remembered. Of course, not everyone can remember a special Christmas because you haven’t had one. If you have not, write about what would make your Christmas special.

The affirmation for Day 13 is “I remember and celebrate special moments.”

Holidays other than Christmas, Day 12

Today is Day 12 of the 25 Days of Christmas.

I continue to present you with activities and ideas to celebrate the 25 Days of Christmas together, apart, and I appreciate those of you who are letting me know that you’re participating. I’ve learned from you about new movies and new Christmas poems and other things as you have taken part in this effort.

The activity for Day 12 is to do a little research about the holidays other than Christmas that are celebrated during December. I celebrate Christmas as a Christian, and other holidays during December include Diwali, Los Posadas, Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, Hanukkah, and the Winter Solstice. Check out some of these and other holidays celebrated during December and learn about them and the culture of those who celebrate them.

The other part of the activity for Day 12 is to take a little time to reflect on how you’re feeling. Are you weary, depressed, or sad about not celebrating with friends and family? If you need to reach out to someone to talk, do so. It always helps to have support from others.

Rest a little on Day 12, learn about the December holidays, and check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling. Also, check in with your friends and family members to see how thery’re doing. Reaching out will be good for you and good for the other person as well.

Movie Time, Day 11

Today is Day 11 of the 25 Days of Christmas!

As I continue to come up with ideas and activities for the 25 Days of Christmas, I am also aware of how rampant Covid-19 is in the U.S. Please be careful and stay safe.

The Day 11 activity is one that will definitely keep you safe and help you stay calm and worry-free. The activity is to watch a Christmas movie. Perhaps you like the traditional Christmas movies and you want to watch one that you know and love. However, a quick Google search also turns up several new movies for 2020. You can find movies on Lifetime and Hallmark that you can watch all night and all day, or you can find some new ones on Netflix and Amazon Prime and other places.

You might want to fix some hot chocolate, string some popcorn or cranberries, snuggle under a warm blanket, and relax with your movie. Taking some time to relax is something you need to do as it will help you stay calm and rested as you prepare for the upcoming holidays.

Enjoy your movie and don’t forget to let me know what you’re watching by posting it in the comments on my Facebook page or sending me a message. I hope you enjoy your movie time.

The affirmation for Day 11 is “I rest and relax and stay calm.”

Virtual Christmas Entertainment, Day 10

Calendar of events

Today is Day 10 of the 25 Days of Christmas.

As I come up with ideas for us all to celebrate the 25 Days of Christmas together, apart, so that we feel connected to each other, I’m more aware each day of just how many people are feeling depressed, lonely, sad, or a little bit blue. I know more of my friends are canceling their travel plans to spend Christmas with family and friends, and I just want to acknowledge how difficult it is for so many of us to have a quieter Christmas because of the risk of Covid-19.

For Day 10, I have an activity that won’t alleviate the loneliness and despair, but it will at least add some merriment and fun to your holiday time. The challenge for Day 10 is to go online and search for “virtual Christmas events December 2020”. I think there are enough events that you could find a concert, a play, a ballet, a comedy show, a fundraiser, or a sing-a-long for each night from now until Christmas. Most of these online events are free, though some of them have a fee.

At Eventbrite and Facebook, lots of events are listed that are free of charge. Also, many symphonies, churches, and other groups are offering events if you go directly to their pages. Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and Washington Cathedral are having events and many radio stations are offering concerts that you can listen to online or on the radio.

I am scheduling several of the musical events for the next two weeks to listen to online because I love Christmas music. I challenge you to schedule several events that you might enjoy, and ask a couple of your friends to sign up, too, and then discuss them by phone or on Zoom after the event. Sharing events virtually isn’t the same as attending in person, but with so many events offered online, I think everyone can find something they like.

The affirmation for Day 10 is “I take care of myself by scheduling my time wisely.”

Selfie Time, Day 9

Woman and dog taking selfie.

Today is Day 9 of the 25 Days of Christmas.

Welcome to Day 9 of the 25 Days of Christmas, as I continue to suggest activities and ideas that we can do to celebrate Christmas together, apart, since so many of us won’t be able to be with family and friends this year.

The activity for Day 9 will be fun. I suggest you take a selfie of you, or you and your dog/cat, or you and whoever lives with you. Send your selfie to family and friends that you usually spend time with at Christmas but won’t be able to see this year. Post the photo on your Facebook page, send it to friends by text or email, print it and send it in a snail mail card, or print it and put it on your door.

You may even want to use that selfie as your picture on Zoom or Google Meet when you have video meetings with others.

Have a little fun with your Christmas selfie. Put on a silly Christmas sweater, put a bow in your hair, wear a Christmas hat, put on your flannel pajamas, or hold a cup of cocoa. Challenge your friends/family to send you a selfie of themselves, too.

Sharing photos is a good way to feel like we are connected when it isn’t safe to be with each other physically. I hope you will also share your selfie on my Facebook page!

The affirmation for Day 9 is “I treat my friends well and stay in touch with them.”

Being Grateful, Day 8

Today is Day 8 of the 25 Days of Christmas, as I continue to come up with activities and challenges we can do as we celebrate Christmas together, apart.

The activity for Day 8 is to start a gratitude list. Perhaps you want to write your list on a slip of paper and put it in a jar or box each day, or perhaps you’d like to use a journal or notebook. It’s important to come up with at least three things you’re grateful for each day and share those three things with someone else. You may even want to write your three things on your Facebook page to encourage others to start a list. Especially during holiday time in the middle of a pandemic, I think it’s important to stay tuned in to gratitude which has been proven to help you keep a positive attitude and a more healthy outlook.

Hopefully, you will find staying in touch with gratitude to be a good thing for your mental health and will decide to continue making your list after the holidays. This activity is a really good one to do with your children or grandchildren, as it will help raise their awareness of what they can be grateful for since their holidays may look very different this year.

Thank you to those of you who are participating and sending me your new favorite Christmas songs, poems, and sharing your random acts of kindness from the first week of activities. I hope you’re having fun with these challenges.

The affirmation for Day 8 of the 25 Days of Christmas is “I choose to be grateful in all circumstances.”

Discover Christmas Poems, Day 7

Today is Day 7 of the 25 Days of Christmas!

For the 7th Day of the 25 Days of Christmas Activity, I’d like you to find a new Christmas poem that you like. “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” is a popular one, but there are so many others. Some are sad, some are funny and cute, and some are classics.

Another option for finding a new Christmas poem is to write one of your own. Perhaps you’d like to read your own poem on video or to read one that you find in a book or online. I encourage you to post the poem you like in the comments on my Facebook page under the video of Day Seven.

Sharing favorite poems is another way to celebrate Christmas together, apart, which is the theme of this video and blog series I’m doing. Keeping friends and family together by doing activities and challenges such as the ones I’m suggesting is a fun way to promote a little camaraderie with friends and family since so many of us won’t be together this year.

Thank you to those who are sending me your favorite new Christmas songs, telling me about your acts of kindness, and other things that you’ve done during Days 1-6 of the 25 Days of Christmas.

Have fun discovering or creating your poem for Day 7. The affirmation for today is “I am curious and creative.”

Rest, Be Mindful, Day 6

Today is Day 6 of the 25 Days of Christmas.

I hope you’re having some fun with the first 5 Days of Christmas challenges and activities. I’ve enjoyed the activities with friends and hearing how they approached each one. I’ve learned new Christmas Songs for 2020, I’ve asked a friend to walk my Christmas Walk with me, I’ve sent some snail mail cards to kids, and enjoyed the other activities. The first 5 Days were fun.

However, Day 6 of the 25 Days of Christmas, especially because it is a Sunday, seems like a good day to pause and reflect. Light a candle or play some soft music and reflect on all the people across the United States who have died from COVID. As of right now, the number of deaths is at 282,298 and climbing. Pause and take in that number.

Not only is our world weary with Covid, but it is weary with our own grief as well. Be sure to acknowledge your own exhaustion, grief, and heaviness. Name it, own it, and then let it go for today. Holding on to all the sadness and covid fatigue is too much. 

Acknowledge the loss, and then pick up a piece of life. Write a brief note of encouragement to any of these people and ask them to share your words with their staff and co-workers:

  • the head of housekeeping at a hospital
  • any doctor’s clinic
  • manager of a grocery, drugstore, bank, business, etc.
  • respiratory therapy department
  • social workers, chaplains, psychologists, etc.
  • cafeteria workers at hospital
    • ….and so many others

Those are just a few suggestions. Let them or others know that you’re cheering for them, thinking of them, supporting them, and that you appreciate all they do.

They need our love, encouragement, and support, and we need to give it.

The affirmation for Day 6 of the 25 Days of Christmas is “I show appreciation to those who give their time and energy to care for others.”