December Habit: Advent

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I wanted to share what I do for my monthly habit or experiment in December in case it can spark an idea or two in somebody. I love the holidays and especially the spirit of them but I noticed myself slipping into the "ugh, the holidays" mindset. In an effort to change my attitude and refocus on the aspects of the holidays I enjoy (instead of the shopping, dreading, flying), I created an adult, experience-based advent calendar!

The holidays were magical as a child. There were few responsibilities and a whole lot of surprises and wonder. My aunt was always the best at hostessing and one of my favorite creations of hers was a handmade, cross-stitched advent calendar. It had little baggies tied to each number with a few Reese’s Pieces in each. I didn’t even like peanut butter but I loved the gesture, especially enjoying it with her.

a cross-stitched advent ... alas, not my aunt's

a cross-stitched advent... alas, not my aunt's

I’m recapturing a little of that magic and sharing it with Greg. The habit is to do a festive little something everyday to help celebrate and be present with the season. I have a list of ideas and we pick 24 of them—here are a few:

Write a letter to santa (or create a gift list for our parents)
Create a holiday playlist on Spotify
Buy a tree
Decorate the tree
Go to a holiday party
Go to a holiday cognac or wine or cocktail tasting
Enjoy a hot chocolate
Go see the snow (or a fake snow fall as we don’t usually get snow in California until January)
Go to a secret santa party
Go see Live Charlie Brown Christmas
Go to a holiday concert like our friend’s or this gospel one 
Make Hot Buttered Rum (Scott Beattie’s recipe!)
Try the Douglas Fir Eau de Vie at Absinthe
Volunteer by coding or wrapping
Watch Diehard (my favorite Christmas movie)
Watch Charlie Brown Christmas
Make Greg’s Grandma’s Bee Hive cookies
Make Alton Brown's Eggnog
Go see the decorations in Union Square
Go to a Hanukkah party
Make a gingerbread house
Do a holiday puzzle
Read a story: Twas the Night Before Christmas

What would you do for an advent calendar? 

a  homemade advent calendar  like the one I made for my niece

a homemade advent calendar like the one I made for my niece

+ I keep my list digitally in Google Calendar and Asana (my fave productivity app) but if I had a physical advent calendar like the one above that I made for my niece, I could print the experiences on little slips of paper and do it that way.

+ In line with giving experiences as gifts, I’m also a huge fan of another adult advent calendar: http://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/drinks-by-the-dram/the-whisky-advent-calendar/

Happy Holidays, friends!