December Habit: Advent and a November Habit Recap

+ Yay! It’s a new month which means a new monthly habit and a recap of last month’s. These monthly experiments help me build healthy habits, break unhealthy ones or just learn more about myself so I can figure out what’s really essential!

It's that time of year again! We're starting my favorite repeating habit:

December Habit: Experience Advent Calendar
For the month of December, we like to do a festive little something every day to help celebrate and be present with the season. This is our fourth year doing something similar and it makes the holiday season much merrier with less stress. We start our Advent Calendar the Sunday after Thanksgiving but December 1st also works!

Here's the list we're starting with, with classic ideas from last year’s and new additions including some for Baby's first. Hopefully these can help give you some ideas but the more personal, the better.

Make a list for Santa (done!)
Start Christmas shopping (see Lean Gifting)
Wrap our gifts (see Lean Wrapping)
Open our stockings (My grandmother insisted on Christmas Eve ;)

Pre-holiday massages
Pre-party facial (I love her)
Holiday manicure

Photo with Santa
Meet live reindeer
Get a new stocking! (I think my aunt is making one <3)
Start an ornament (-making?) tradition
New Christmas PJs (family tradition)

Tree shopping (done!)
Hang the lights!
Decorate the tree
Make a cool + cute Christmas Tree Hanging out of rosemary or tape
Hang mistletoe and enjoy ;)
Make Star Wars snowflakes

Make Alton Brown's Eggnog (done!) (and use the leftovers for Baked French Toast)
Enjoy a special holiday cocktail like the Olive Oil one at Third Rail
Eat latkes at a Hanukkah party
Indulge in Humphry Slocombe's Hot Toddy Sundae!
Make classic Chex Mix (my favorite holiday snack)
Sip the Clear Creek Douglas Fir Eau de Vie at Absinthe
Enjoy a local restaurant's Hanukkah menu (we like Burritt Tavern's)
Out for a fancy hot chocolate

Create and share a Spotify holiday playlist
Watch Diehard (my fave Christmas movie, already queued up ;)
Watch an old Christmas movie like A Christmas Carol or the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas (we like to have movies span two nights)
Read The Night Before Christmas and/or The Polar Express
Start a Christmas puzzle
Watch the SNL Christmas Special
Watch A Charlie Brown Christmas

Go to an office Holiday Party (12/2!)
Visit the Remodelista Holiday Market (12/10 & 12/11 at Heath Ceramics)
Take a class at 18 Reasons like the Gingerbread House Workshop or a Cognac Tasting
Sleigh Ride! (12/26!)
Volunteer wrapping gifts or at a food bank (Greg likes to teach kids to code ;)
Go see a Christmas concert (perhaps David Bazan this year) and maybe A Charlie Brown Christmas - Live at the Symphony next year
Watch our friend Sara caroling <3
Go see the decorations (and kittens!) in Union Square
Enjoy the lights and a holiday excursion on a train like this one
Donate to a toy drive and a coat drive
Go to the snow or find indoor snow!

+ I’m also back into these adult beverage advent calendars!

++ And again, if you'd like help slowing down for the holiday season, look into Courtney Carver's 31 Days of Gifts You So Deserve 2016. It's a meaningful "advent calendar in your inbox", reminding you to make room for yourself and enjoy.

Reflections on our November Habit: Daily Gratitude
Daily Gratitude November was so lovely! What a good reminder that sometimes the simplest experiments have the greatest outcomes. We left our Halloween Squash on the table with a gold Sharpie. Around dinner time, we discussed and wrote down something we were grateful for.

I think this practice really helped lift our spirits. It made us hopeful. It made us walk through our day looking for things to be grateful for. I had a couple of crappy days and forcing myself to think about what was working really helped shift my perspective. The experiment reminded me of Love Note February (one of my favorites!) and its benefits. <3

This is definitely going to be a repeated November habit but I’m hoping to make it a daily habit year-round as well. We’ll at least keep going until the squash is full… Any ideas for where to record our gratitudes after that?!