Day 14: Read ‘The Gift of the Magi’ by O. Henry

Day 14

One dollar and eight-seven cents is all the money Della has in the world to buy her beloved husband a Christmas present. She has nothing to sell except her only treasure — her long, beautiful brown hair. Set in New York at the turn of the twentieth century, this classic piece of American literature tells the story of a young couple and the sacrifices each must make to buy the other a gift. Beautiful, delicate watercolors by award-winning illustrator Lisbeth Zwerger add new poignancy and charm to this simple tale about the rewards of unselfish love.

This is one of my favorite stories to read each holiday season, and it goes by so quickly (especially with a cup of cocoa or glass of wine). And this is one of those stories that leaves you feeling a little bit happier when you’re done.

You can find it for free on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.


Don’t forget to share your results on social media using #grownupadvent. Want to connect? Find me on Twitter @lmchap and Instagram @lmchap614.

New to the page? Don’t worry, it’s never too late to make merry. View the archive to see what we’ve done so far and play catch-up.

Day 13: Go Experience a Local Holiday Festivity

Day 13

Sometimes it’s important to take an hour or two and stop to enjoy something happening in your community. Do you have an ice skating rink with a holiday special? Are there some great window displays you’d like to see? Is there a concert or performance of some kind happening somewhere in your town today?

I’m honestly not quite sure where this prompt will take me today, but I’ll be checking my community calendars to find something festive and merry to send me into Monday feeling the Christmas spirit.

What are you up to today?


Don’t forget to share your results on social media using #grownupadvent. Want to connect? Find me on Twitter @lmchap and Instagram @lmchap614.

New to the page? Don’t worry, it’s never too late to make merry. View the archive to see what we’ve done so far and play catch-up.

Day 12: Make a Gingerbread House

Day 12

Oh yeah. This is happening.

Whether you’re a purist who makes your own gingerbread, someone who goes the graham cracker route, or me (the lady who buys a kit at the store) we’re combining our love of candy and our creativity to build gingerbread houses.

And because it’s the season of giving, here’s a list of some online resources to inspire you in this quest:

Be sure to share photos of your completed projects on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook using #grownupadvent. I can’t wait to see what you create.

P.S. We’re officially halfway through the advent season. How are you holding up so far? What has been your favorite activity? What are you most excited for this Christmas?


Don’t forget to share your results on social media using #grownupadvent. Want to connect? Find me on Twitter @lmchap and Instagram @lmchap614.

New to the page? Don’t worry, it’s never too late to make merry. View the archive to see what we’ve done so far and play catch-up.

Day 11: Watch ‘Love Actually’

Day 11

Same drill as last Friday–curl up in front of your TV (or go out to the theater) and enjoy this classic Christmas movie or one from your own collection.

Love Actually is one of my all-time favorites, so you’d better believe I’ll be watching this one. I love the prime minister dancing through his home. I swoon for Jamie and Aurelia falling for each other through kind actions rather than the ability to speak the same language. And any movie with Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman is a winner in my book.

And because it’s an annual thing, I’m going to crack open a bottle of wine, maybe pick up some chocolates, and have a nice little evening at home with the kittens.

Will you join me in a Love Actually session? Or what movie will you watch tonight?


Don’t forget to share your results on social media using #grownupadvent. Want to connect? Find me on Twitter @lmchap and Instagram @lmchap614.

New to the page? Don’t worry, it’s never too late to make merry. View the archive to see what we’ve done so far and play catch-up.

Day 10: Reconnect with a Friend

Day 10

Where does the time go? I swear, it was just January and now we’re here getting ready to start a new year.

In our crazy busy lives, sometimes it’s hard to make time for our oldest and dearest friends. It’s so easy to say, “I’ll call her tomorrow” or “I’ll shoot him a text later.”

So today’s the day we stop saying tomorrow or later. Ask a friend you’ve lost touch with out for drinks. Or just give him or her a call and play a little life catch-up. Even a long, personal email or letter is great if you don’t have the ability to have a call or night out.

And while you do this catching up, try spending a good chunk of the time listening rather than talking. This is more of a reminder for myself. (I’m so good at rambling on and on when I get a chance.) One of the greatest gifts you can give a person is being a good listening and hearing what they have to say.


Don’t forget to share your results on social media using #grownupadvent. Want to connect? Find me on Twitter @lmchap and Instagram @lmchap614.

New to the page? Don’t worry, it’s never too late to make merry. View the archive to see what we’ve done so far and play catch-up.

Day 9: Make the Holidays Festive for Animals

Day 9

Today let’s do something to make the holidays a little brighter for the animal world. I’m not necessarily talking about putting your kittens and pups in red and green sweaters and ribbons (even though it became the fodder for what is quite possibly the funniest holiday advertisement I’ve ever seen). But there are some things we can do to give back to the animal kingdom.

Feel free to get creative, but here are a few ideas:

  • Make a festive squirrel/bird feeder with a pine cone, peanut butter, and seeds.
  • Donate some treats, food, or other supplies to an animal shelter. (I suggest calling your local shelter first to see what items are at the top of their wish list.)
  • Donate old towels and blankets to an animal shelter. (I just learned about this one last year, but this is a great way to give your old towels another life and help out the shelters.)
  • Give away some of your gently used toys, bowls, pet beds, leashes, etc. (The kittens and I go through their toys every year and either give them to friends with new pets or donate them to the shelter.)
  • Research how you can volunteer at a local shelter in the new year and send an email/application and make a commitment to help out.

And if you have pets at home, be sure to give them some extra snuggles.

What are some other ideas you have for celebrating Christmas with the animal kingdom?


Don’t forget to share your results on social media using #grownupadvent. Want to connect? Find me on Twitter @lmchap and Instagram @lmchap614.

New to the page? Don’t worry, it’s never too late to make merry. View the archive to see what we’ve done so far and play catch-up.

Day 8: Treat Yo’ Self to a Festive Coffee

Day 8

This one is as simple as it sounds. It’s Tuesday, and Tuesdays can be tough. Might as well treat yo’self to a festive coffee. Whether it’s a gingerbread latte from Starbucks (my personal favorite) or a Christmas blend at a local cafe; whether it’s a morning or afternoon perk up, go ahead and get it girl (or guy).

And if coffee isn’t your thing, why not get a hot cocoa? Yum.


Don’t forget to share your results on social media using #grownupadvent. Want to connect? Find me on Twitter @lmchap and Instagram @lmchap614.

New to the page? Don’t worry, it’s never too late to make merry. View the archive to see what we’ve done so far and play catch-up.

Day 7: Read ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens

Day 7

 

In Making Christmas, the story I wrote inspired by experience with grown-up advent last year, receiving a copy of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens turns out to be a turning point for Christmas curmudgeon Everett.

While I’m not suggesting any of you are Scrooges, this is still a great read for this time of year. And great news–if you don’t already own it, this is one of the stories you can find for free or cheap on your ereader. Here’s a link to the book on Amazon (FREE), Barnes & Noble ($0.99) and Kobo ($0.99).

I’m also not saying you have to sit down and read this in one sitting. It’s a school night. But tonight is a good time to start–perhaps curled up with a cup of cocoa or a glass of wine.

Enjoy!


Don’t forget to share your results on social media using #grownupadvent. Want to connect? Find me on Twitter @lmchap and Instagram @lmchap614.

New to the page? Don’t worry, it’s never too late to make merry. View the archive to see what we’ve done so far and play catch-up.

Day 6: Try a Traditional Dish or Custom from Another Culture

Day 6

I can’t remember exactly what grade it was, but sometime in elementary school, we had an international theme for our annual holiday program. We celebrated Christmas and holiday traditions from around the world with songs, foods, crafts, and more from around the world. Each class focused on a specific country, and we learned about their local traditions. Then, during the program, we shared it with the rest of the school.

My class was assigned Sweden. We learned about the Saint Lucia ceremony, the kinds of decorations they put on their Christmas trees, and we heard about something called dried codfish. For the program, my mom made me a red and white dress and braided my hair. (I even had ribbons braided into it, which I loved.) For ornaments we tied pieces of red ribbon around strands of straw.

After spending weeks learning about Sweden’s culture, it was exciting to share it with others. And in return, our friends taught us about traditions around the world.

So today, I’m encouraging myself–and all of you–to do a little research and learn more about Christmas traditions around the world. Pick one of them–maybe it’s a decoration, a dish, or an activity–and work it into your day. I can’t wait to see what each of us comes up with.


Don’t forget to share your results on social media using #grownupadvent. Want to connect? Find me on Twitter @lmchap and Instagram @lmchap614.

New to the page? Don’t worry, it’s never too late to make merry. View the archive to see what we’ve done so far and play catch-up.

Day 5: Make Homemade Ornaments

Day 5

One of my favorite holiday pastimes that has stuck around since childhood is making homemade decorations. It was always a thrill at school when our December arts and crafts projects turned out to be something gluey and glittery that I could take home to share with my family. And I still have fond memories of getting to create fancy decorations at our church’s winter program. That’s how our family made a nativity scene for our window sill (complete with a barn and manger), and it was always fun to put it on display year after year.

While I have a fabulous collection of Christmas ornaments carefully selected year after year, there’s something extra special about having something you made fresh for the season on display. Plus, it’s just a super fun experience. I make paper snowflakes every year and cover all of my windows with them. I typically leave these up well into February, because that’s when we tend to have more snow here in Nebraska anyways–so they get good use.

As a bonus, sometimes you can take that decoration and put it to a bonus of use, like making bows or decor for the gifts you’ll be giving to family and friends.

Whether you’re making them with your friends or kids or on your own with a glass of wine and a Hallmark movie on the screen, making decorations is a great experience.

I’m not 100 percent what route I’m going to take for making my homemade Christmas decorations, today, but I’ve spent the year compiling a list of projects I might like to tackle. They include:

I also bought some clear, empty ornaments this fall, and I’m looking forward to putting some puppies into use. I’ll be sure to share my results on Instagram later today. What kind of decorations are you hoping to make this year?


Don’t forget to share your results on social media using #grownupadvent. Want to connect? Find me on Twitter @lmchap and Instagram @lmchap614.

New to the page? Don’t worry, it’s never too late to make merry. View the archive to see what we’ve done so far and play catch-up.