Tag: Holiday Season

Christmas Decor 2011

Merry Christmas! It is officially the holiday season in my world because my special Memory Tree is up and full of ornaments and lights.  I love my tree because I have tons of ornaments that symbolize different parts of my life.  I have ornaments for Maryland, BYU, Hawaii, New York City, Graduate school, Indianapolis ect.

This tradition started on my mission when I purchased a set of Indianapolis ornaments featuring the speedway, Christmas tree of lights and the city skyline.  After that I realized that ornaments were small and unlike other souvenir chotchkies they don’t hang around all year gathering dust.

Over time I have added other ornaments including a set of 20 picture frames (I got a great deal 1.99 each!).  I also have balls and trim to create a silver and blue theme without it being overpoweringly ‘themey’.  I like Christmas trees to look pulled together but not perfect- you need just that touch of hominess. (This lady on my mission taught me that you decorate a Christmas tree in layers with filler balls in the back to and then medium trim and then special ornaments on top.  This makes it look fuller and eye catching)

Its funny because not many people see my tree- especially in a year like this where I probably won’t host a Christmas party in my apartment.  Nevertheless, it gives me pleasure and provides many warm memories.  Its a way to turn an apartment of one into a holiday filled with love.

Some people might think it is a waste of time to put so much work into something enjoyed by only one person but I disagree.  I think it is very important as an older single person to establish your own unique traditions all year but especially during the holidays.

It helps me to feel a sense of stability and ensures I will have happy things to look forward to each year.  I think happiness when you are single requires a little more planning than when you have other people to do the planning for you!  I highly recommend it for anyone who is single kids or not- decide what you want in a Christmas and then go out and make it.

Don’t feel like anything is too silly to do ‘just for you’.  You matter and are worth planning happy memories for. Don’t let yourself get bogged down in self-pity (and Christmas goodies! This year I am doing the sugar fast and so the more I’m out of the house the better!).

I was worried that with my new sofa I wouldn’t be able to fit the tree and its a cozy main room but I love it!   I am so looking forward to this Christmas season.  I have lots planned.  Tonight I am going to the Messiah Sing-in in American Fork (my 5th year in a row attending), tomorrow is Anna’s choral concert  A Celebration of Christmas at BYU, next weekend I have Christmas Carol at Hale Theater (another essential Christmas tradition), and then the Nutcracker on Saturday.

On the 17th I am having my Christmas Swimfest! Its going to be fun.  Its at the Gene Fullmer pool in West Jordan at 9:30.  I have Christmas swim caps and we will swim together.  Then after we will go to the Golden Corral for breakfast!  Anyone is welcome! On December 20th I have my vocal recital for my voice lessons. Plus, my sister and her family are coming into town sometime.  It stands to be a great Christmas season!  (and don’t forget scores of Christmas music and movies!).

I hope you all have great Decembers and I will keep you posted on mine. Let’s just pray I don’t get sick so nothing will spoil my plans.

On a side note, I have a Christmas card I’d like to send out so if you can get me your address I’d be very grateful.  Merry Christmas friends!

Single Christmas Traditions

It’s hard to believe there is only a week left until Christmas.  As is usually the case, the month of December has flown by and I have packed it in with tons of cool Holiday experiences.  I decided a long time ago I was never going to miss out on a full life because I am single- this includes Christmas.  As a result, I have established a number of my own Christmas traditions that are unique to me (meaning I did not necessarily do them in my family while growing up).

1. The first ‘single tradition’ I have developed is what I call my “memory tree”.  I’ve mentioned my tree before on this blog, but it’s a way to decorate with ornaments that symbolize or were purchased concurrent with special moments/vacations in my life.  I have an ornament for the colleges I attended, the states I’ve lived in, the places I’ve visited and the things I love to do.  This year I bought  a couple of new ones including an artichoke heart to symbolize my new healthy ‘heart’ (clever, right?), a cute swimming ornament, and one for my book club.  Here is a photo:

2. The second ‘single tradition’ is that I participate in as much as I can during the holidays.  I usually don’t go crazy but this year has been especially busy.  In just the last few weeks, I have been to the Messiah Sing-In, Christmas Carol at Hale Theater Orem, Christmas Around the World and a Celebration of Christmas at BYU, and tonight I am going to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Annual Christmas Concert (I scored tickets this year- hurray!).  In addition, I have purchased my holiday gifts, sang in my voice lesson recital and had two get-together’s at my apartment (first was my book club, second was my healthy holiday dinner party).

I’m not saying every year has to be this full or other people should feel badly if their Christmas was simple.  I’ve had many years where I didn’t do much. The important thing is to feel apart of the holidays and as a single person sometimes that takes more effort and planning.  In fact, I may have planned such a full schedule this year because in 2009 I was sick, and the year before that I was super busy getting one of our rentals ready (plus I went to Vegas).  The two traditions I make sure I do every year even if I have to drag myself sick (which I did last year!) is the Messiah Sing-in and the Christmas Carol at Hale Theater.  There is something about those traditions that make my Christmas.

3.  Finally, I try to do something to serve others at  Christmas time.  Some years this is as simple as putting extra time into selecting (or making) gifts for loved ones.  Last year I was on the committee for Festival of Trees (a charity event in Salt Lake for Primary Children’s Hospital where decorated trees are showcased and auctioned off); however, I did not feel I could do such a large project this year.  I was worried it would encroach on my exercise time and that has to be the priority right now (I’ve met with my trainer every week in December!).  So I asked around and found a person in need of cheer and did a little secret Santa gift for them.  It was a simple act of service but I’ve been uplifted by my involvement.

Some of the greatest acts of service we can do are within our families.  I remember some Christmas’ in college where my family struggled to remain upbeat. It’s a long story but my parents had a small baby and were very stressed out.  While I did not always have the best attitude back then, I know the service Ben, Megan and I did during those tough holiday’s meant a lot to my family- particularly my mother.

Many ideas also come from observing the needs in our community.   After seeing a cold homeless man, my niece Isabel started a coat drive  in her neighborhood to benefit a local shelter, and has collected over 50 coats (how cute is that!).   If a 6 year old can find a way to serve then we all can!

If singles are not careful Christmas can seem like an exclusively  couple/family time full of candy canes and mistletoe.  However, with a little effort we can be as involved and full of the spirit of the season as anybody else.   We each must decide if we are going to mope around feeling sorry for ourselves or go out and plan an activity, gather friends, buy presents, bake some holiday treats (although be careful with that one!), and watch a Christmas classic (or a cheesy Hallmark Christmas movie- whatever floats your boat!).  Just as with anything else, the holidays are only as good as the effort we put into them!  May yours be blessed and full of happy memories.

Holiday Music

One of my favorite things during the Christmas season is the music.  This year I even broke the cardinal rule and started listening early in November ( I know what a rebel!).   I have over 300 Christmas songs on my ipod, so I can put it on shuffle and listen to holiday tunes most of the day.  I like a variety of songs including everything from All I Want For Christmas by Mariah Carey and Santa Claus is coming to Town by Frank Sinatra to For Unto us a Child is Born from Handel’s Messiah and I Saw Three Ships by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Sometimes I wish I could listen to Christmas music year-round.  I love the happiness and memories the songs evoke.   (I also love Christmas movies- Christmas Carol in all its variations, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, Polar Express, and even Charlie Brown Christmas- so great!!!).

Unfortunately most of my songs are m4a not mp3 so I can’t share them with you; however,  I am including a few mp3’s that I have.  Enjoy and have the best Christmas time ever!  Oh how I love this time of year!