I asked Misty to write about this tradition she has with her family because I think it’s sweet, affirming and really really clever. Misty is one of those people who values beauty, family and community, and likes to find ways to bring all of those things together. Besides that, she has mad decorating skills, cooks like a maniac and somehow, her house always smells great. Hopefully you can incorporate some of these ideas into your holiday experience.

The Twelve Dates of Christmas

I like to celebrate.  I like to make a fuss.  I like to be a little over the top.  I like to make sure things that are supposed to mean something are filled with meaning.  So I’m constantly on a quest to create special celebrations and specifically special holiday traditions.  Especially special, huh?  Randy & I have amazing families but holiday celebrations consist of gathering and eating; with the addition of a gift exchange at Christmas.  So what does this mean?  Not a whole lot.  Our families gather and eat year round.  We’re actually pros at it.  So it has been very important to me that we create traditions with our kids that infuse the holidays with meaning beyond the amazing feast.  One way we do this is our annual Twelve Dates of Christmas.  I suppose you could be really creative and plan your dates around the themes of the song “Twelve Days of Christmas” but we haven’t done that… yet.

Our Twelve Dates of Christmas are always flexible.  Life with kids will do that.  Some are very planned and others are more spontaneous.  The idea is to create special moments by planning fun dates but also by approaching the regular holiday activities with enthusiasm. We plan a couple of splurge experiences like tickets to the Philharmonic’s Christmas show, Merry Pops.  And for other dates we try to plan around free and low-cost activities offered in our area.  We live in the Oklahoma City metro and OKC offers a great “Downtown in December”.  There’s ice skating, snow tubing, free canal rides, sponsored free admission to museums and attractions, and more.  While most dates include our whole family, we always plan a romantic date or two for the Mr. & Missus and some dates include extended family and friends.  This year, we’re inviting friends over for an “O Come All Ye Playful” game night.  For all of our “at home” dates, we make sure to have something special that makes it feel like the holidays: eggnog, hot chocolate, popcorn, or our other favorite holiday treats.

Here are a few other ideas:

Trim the Tree & Deck the Halls – we always make a production of out decorating our home (this year has been a bit drawn out)
Christmas Programs at local churches and schools
Christmas Movie Marathon  – some dates get repeated, this is one of them; there are just too many good Christmas movies
Christmas Light Tours – we usually take one in our pajamas and another night after dessert at one of our favorite spots.
Cookie Decorating – Lola & I make our favorite sugar cookies, Randy makes gingerbread men & women… he’s very creative.
Local Parade
Trip to see Santa
Trip to shop for Angel Tree child or other charitable contribution
Shopping date – hit all the special shops you want to go to but never do.
Dinner & a Movie – December is always a terrific month for new releases
Bonfire & Marshmallow Roast
Gift Wrapping Party
Horse Carriage Ride
Holiday Parties
Sporting Event
and the list could go on… in the comments section!!!

Merry Christmas and Happy Dating!


P.S.  Does anyone want to go caroling with us?  It’s only fun with a group and maybe just a bit creepy for a couple dragging their kids along.

Thanks, Misty. And yes, I’d love to go caroling with you. Maybe we could Skype that in…

Oh, and check out Misty’s photography at Revel Photo. You might just want to schedule an appointment with her. If you live in Oklahoma, that is. Can’t really Skype a photo session. Or can you?