It’s a kitschy title, I’ll admit. I’ve just been thinking about how these holidays will be a little different for me than previous Christmases, when I had four weeks of a break from school. This year, because God has blessed me with gainful employment, I get one day off, and I’m trying to think of how to make the most of it when it gets here.
So here’s my list of reminders starting now, December 6, that you are welcome to join me in, if you’d like to. They are reminders to be human, and to engage people around me well, rather than be absorbed by a screen. They’re activities I think are peculiarly human things to do, and they’re things to do at your leisure (ie, if no one immediately signs up to climb a mountain with you, don’t get discouraged and go by yourself and get mauled by a bear–or worse, not go at all). If you think of more ideas, or things you plan to do this Christmas, please share them in a comment!
-Make a coffee date with a friend. Don’t check the phone. Listen:)
-Arrange to meet that one friend who always sends ugly pictures back and forth with you on Snapchat. Sit facing one another. See who can make the silliest face. Laugh together:)
-Wake up really early, bundle up, and take a brisk walk. Don’t put earbuds in. Just listen.
-Have tea-time promptly at 4 o’clock with a dear friend. Have cookies and tea (or hot chocolate). Chat about the weather and your health. Each of you recite your favorite poem.
-Find three or more friends and have game night (board games/pictionary/charades/anything) but leave your phones in the other room. Pretend you’re in a theater: you can’t text the friends who didn’t come until the game night’s done.
-Read a (good) book cover-to-cover. Warn anyone who persistently contacts you that you’re unavailable for the next two hours, but that you’ll talk to them soon. REEEAAADD.
-Knit a thneed. If you don’t know how to knit, ask a friend to teach you.
-Make a homemade loaf of bread. If possible, do this with your mother. Eat the bread with homemade butter (actually SUPER easy to make) OR blackberry jam. Or anything you want.
-Wrap presents/clean your room/do your homework/wash the dishes: do anything you need to do, but if possible, without checking your phone throughout.
-Play video games with your kid sister (or brother) but DON’T check your phone during it. Just play. Lose, win, it doesn’t matter, just keep mashing the button and focusing on being with the person you’re with.
-Go OUTSIDE and play football, or baseball, or tag, or blind man’s bluff (not sure how to play that last one) with your family or your neighbors or your friends. Preferably a mixture of all three.
-Make a fancy dinner for your parents and serve it on fancy dishes with a fancy candle on the table. [CLEAN ALL DISHES AFTERWARD. ALL DISHES. EVERYWHERE. EVER.]
-Sing carols all day. Go caroling at night. Have apple cider waiting when you get back.
-Watch a Christmas movie–but leave your phone somewhere else and text people later.
As much as is possible, wherever you are Christmas day, be all there. Yes, wish EVERYONE happy Christmas and call friends and far-away family and do these things, but be with people, and don’t distract yourself with Facebook or Twitter or things that, at least the memories of which, aren’t going to be with you when you’re your parents’ age and older.