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This December will be filled with the usual Holiday activity. For some it becomes stressful, for others it is the highlight of the year. You may not want to sign up for every Holiday event in town, but here are some classics to put on your calendar or enjoy at home—those holiday traditions that make the season so special. Here is the countdown.

1)  Bake cookies… or some other special treats. Use Great Grandma’s recipe for molasses ginger cookies that can be made ahead and stored for holiday parties. Look up some new hot cider recipes and fill your home with that festive aroma. Make a loaf of holiday bread and give it to an elderly neighbor. The holidays are about memories of the past and making memories for the future. Good food is at its heart.

2)  Go caroling… Many churches go caroling around their neighborhoods in the month of December. If you don’t belong to a church group, gather some friends and join in the fun. You don’t have to sound like a choir, you just have to love bringing joy to others as you make the rounds. This, too, is a good time to remember shut-ins or those who would be thankful for a joyous sound outside their door.

3)  Find some snow…This may be a challenge for some, but if at all possible, enjoy the breathtaking beauty and the quiet of a snowfall. If you live near mountain ranges, as we do, a two hour drive will do the trick. If not, you may need to watch a movie or rent a video with lovely wintery snow scenes, just to get in the holiday mood.

4)  Attend a holiday pageant…play or live animal crèche. People go out of their way to present top-quality family entertainment during the holidays. There are live performances all around town. Choose the best fit for your family and attend—it’s a great way to enjoy the holidays with a group of happy people.

5)  Take a drive to see the lights….and all the other holiday decorations. There may be neighborhoods that specialize in lighting their homes and yards with holiday décor. There are shopping malls and other city sites where the holiday decorations are a treat in themselves. Get out and see the sights.

6)  Watch your favorite Christmas or holiday movie… Miracle on 39th Street, The Christmas Story, Holiday Inn, A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, whichever your family loves and wants to see over and over again. You might make this a real family festival by serving some of those great holiday treats as you watch.

7)  Visit Santa…even if your kids are grown, make it a point to enjoy seeing Santa with the little ones on his knee. It’s always nostalgic to watch the children tell Santa how good they have been and to try to decide what they want to find under the Christmas tree this year.

8)  Sing…in addition to caroling, there are many opportunities at holiday season to sing in choirs or choruses. Many cities have a Sing Your Own Messiah where you can happily belt out Handel’s beautiful songs. If you enjoy smaller settings for your songs, plan to sing with family and friends around the fire. There are lovely holiday songs, both sacred and secular and they only are sung once a year.

9)  Finally…Remember the poor and needy.  There are always those around us who are in need. You won’t have to look far to find a friend or acquaintance who could use a little boost this holiday season. Get the family involved in deciding how to do a special gift this holiday season. Teach the children that it really is more blessed to give than to receive.

Happy Christmas Everyone!