As promised, I am not about to tell you to start decorating before you're ready. This is a list of things you can prepare for when you're ready and a few things you can sprinkle in now. But I will say if you start feeling like the time change and it getting dark so early leaves you feeling a little gloomy, a Christmas tree can really change your outlook. But here are five things you can do for instant Christmas cheer, now or in December.
1. Light a candle: This is always my #1. It hits so many senses and is the most bang for your buck. Find one that makes you happy and light if first thing in the morning when it’s dark and cold and then as you’re closing things down in the evening. We love these for Fall, Christmas and every day
2. Put your lamps and trees on timers: There is nothing like waking up to the twinkle of a Christmas tree so set your timer to be on before you’re up stay on until you’re asleep. It’s magic, I tell you! We put all our trees on smart plugs a few years ago and it was so smart (see what I did there?) They all have their own schedules based on where they are and I can easily turn them on and off even when I’m not home. I also have a few lamps on timers year round. This is a great because some turn on right as it’s getting dark out and others are set to turn on in the early morning (i.e. the one near the coffee maker because… well that ’s obvious)
3. Do a family Advent study: This one doesn't start just yet, but the planing should start now. We started this a few years ago and it’s one of my favorite traditions. We’ve always done something pretty simple where it’s just a combination of readings, scripture and prayer but the time it takes each night to slow down as a family and focus on the true meaning of Christmas is seriously one of the best things we do. Some of these sell out early so grab one now and make your plans. Whether you plan to do a formal advent study or not, make as many plans as you can to keep Jesus at the top of your season.
* bonus tip: plan something for November to center around thankfulness. It’s a nice way to ease into the Advent season (beginning December 4th) I have plans for a super simple “thankful jar.” I've missed it the last few years because of poor planning but NOW is the time to set that up!
4. Add battery powered lights everywhere: These on timers can be stuck just about anywhere. I love the twinkle in unexpected places like centerpieces. You can easily do this with your current Fall decor and then use them for Christmas too! These are my favorites.
5. Just add music: Whether you set a radio on a station that is all Christmas music, play your favorite vinyl or make playlists for every occasion, add this layer to your senses for the season. I have our Amazon Echos set up to play everywhere or just downstairs and I love to have it playing even softly in the background as much has possible. Create a cozy Fall playlist for now and transition to all the Christmas when you're ready!
Bonus Tip: You can do the same with movies! Who doesn’t love a Christmas movie? Many, many years ago when I hosted my first big family Christmas, I sat up a “kids table” in the bonus room and started the Elf DVD. It was just a little something but my cousin’s sweet daughter was teeny at the time and loved it. Now she is grown and still talks about it so I make sure to have Elf playing when we have our Christmas dinner.
Today’s list is kind of different because it’s a mix of things to do now and things to start planning for. I think it’s super helpful because we’re nearing that point in the year when the weather and darkness starts making us feel a little more blah. You don’t have to go all out for Christmas early to add some of that cheer and magic. And remember anything we do now, leaves room for so much more later. Which one will you try first?