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Hi how’s everyone’s morning so far? 🙂

I can’t believe the first week of December has almost come and gone. Every year the holidays seem to fly by and, before you know it, it’s the new year. I never seem to be able to squeeze everything I want out of the season so I thought it would be nice to write a post as a little reminder to help us all get the most out of this month. So here is my list of things to do this December (feel free to take ideas from my list or add your own).

My December To-Do List:

Sip a holiday drink.

Nothing says the holidays are here like a warm festive beverage. Starbucks has a lot of delicious-sounding holiday flavors (gingerbread latte or skinny peppermint mocha anyone?) and it’s a good nudge to get outside the box and order something you wouldn’t necessarily make an every day indulgence. I’ve been wanting to try the salted caramel hot chocolate for as long as I can remember and I think I’m going to make this the year. 🙂

Get outside.

The weather outside might be frightful (Ok, not so much here in AZ… ;)) but there’s no better time to bundle up and head outdoors than during Christmas. No matter where you’re at there’s bound to be a festive event taking place outdoors. Last year my family and I went to see the Las Noches De Las Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Gardens.

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It was a nice opportunity to hang out together while walking around the gardens, enjoying live music and sipping on cactus jacks and hot chocolate. It was so much fun that we’re planning to do it again this year. Find out what your city or town has to offer, throw on a warm coat and get out there.

{my sister and I at the gardens last year}

Watch a holiday movie.

Or several. There are plenty of good ones out there. Love Actually is my absolute favorite and I try and watch it every year. It’s such a feel good movie and it always gets me excited for Christmas.

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Just sit and listen.

During the Christmas season there seems to be an abundance of music pretty much anywhere you go and we all have to get out and go shopping right? One of my favorite things to do (in any season) is to sit and listen to the piano guy playing at Nordstrom. There’s something so peaceful about just taking a moment to sit and listen to someone playing piano that it almost transports me out of the store, even amidst all the busy shoppers. So whether it’s lunch at a restaurant with some local live music or just an unoccupied bench at the mall, make a point to take a break from the holiday rush, take in some music and just relax for a bit.

Have dinner with friends.

During the holidays a lot of emphasis is placed on family and rightly so but I think it’s just as important to make time to connect with good friends. My two best friends will both be in town for Christmas and I want to make sure our paths will cross long enough for margaritas and appetizers at Z Tejas, one of our favorite Mexican restaurants.

Go see snow. 

For some of you this may be no big deal but snow is a rarity here in Phoenix. Luckily, we have Flagstaff and Sedona to the not so far north where they see snow more regularly this time of year. The marketplace near my new house has a nightly *snowfall* (artificial of course, but snowfall nonetheless) every night of December up until Christmas and this year I’m going to be sure to head over and see it. It may be as close as I get to the real thing. 😉 (As I’m posting this morning sitting in my parents’ kitchen it’s actually SNOWING outside!!! It’s only a few flakes – not enough to snap a pic – but still SNOW!)

Take some time.

The holidays are upon us and obligations abound. While happy hours, family gatherings and holiday parties are all fun I like to make sure to take time for myself also. Get a massage, book a pedicure or just excuse yourself from the crowd and go for a solo walk. Make sure and get some *you time* this holiday season and you’ll be at your best for others. 🙂

Plan a Christmas Vacation.

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Not that kind 😉

Last year my mom and I went on a whim to San Antonio for her birthday mid-December. The whole river walk was lit up for Christmas and they had nightly boats of carolers riding by.

{My mom and I at the Alamo December 2010}

The year before that we were in New York in early January and three years ago in December I took my sister with me to a work conference in Maui. It’s so much fun to see how other places decorate and celebrate for the season. Bonus: you can pick up fun local items to give as gifts (when I was in Maui I picked up Hawaiian chocolates and Kona coffee beans for family and friends). I probably won’t be getting out of town this Christmas but I can’t wait to start planning something for next year.

Remember the little things.

Whether it’s my mom’s lasagna on Christmas Day, family game time (we play a game called Pit – there’s lots of yelling and chaos – it’s completely nuts but lots of fun) or having a drink (or two) with my brother on Christmas Eve (also known as Rum pum pum pum ;)), it’s all the little things and family traditions (no matter how silly) that you’ll remember for years to come that truly make the holidays what they are.

Spread some cheer.

Make holiday treats for friends or coworkers, volunteer your time to an organization that means a lot to you or simply send a card to an old friend. My sister gave me an ice cream maker and this year if I’m ambitious enough I’d like to try making homemade ice cream for my work friends. I’m thinking peppermint flavor with bits of chocolate and candy cane pieces mixed in or cinnamon coffee crunch in cheerful little hand decorated pints. It doesn’t have to be something huge, just a kind, personal gesture to brighten someone’s day. After all, that’s what the season’s all about.

I hope my December to-do list inspires you to create your own. Wishing you a very happy and fun-filled December! 🙂

Kristi

What are your favorite holiday traditions? What’s on your to-do list this December?

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