Ahhh Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year. Sometimes preparing for Christmas can actually be the most enjoyable part of the holiday season, and no one knows Christmas like Buddy the Elf!
2. Eating massive amounts of food.
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The weather is finally getting warmer and summer is just two short months away.
The other day I got my first whiff of food being cooked on the way home and it made me think of all the stuff I want to do this summer and what I want to accomplish in the upcoming months. It also made me think about how I make the same promises to myself every year and don't accomplish half of the things I want. So, this year, I decided to make a summer bucket list. I've heard of people doing this and I always thought it was kind of stupid, but I figure writing it down would motivate me more than just thinking, "That would be a nice thing to do."
So here are some things on my summer bucket list and hopefully they inspire you to go out and have the best summer of your life.
1. Find and do a summer exercise challenge
2. Go on a road trip
3. Visit a water park
4. Make fresh-squeezed lemonade
5. Have a water fight
6. Attend at least one outdoor concert
7. Research and apply to internships
8. Start journaling
9. Sign up for a class
10. Spend an afternoon on a boat
11. Read a new book every month of the summer
12. Eat fried dough
13. Attend a fair
14. Spend the day at a beach
15. Roast a marshmallow and make s’mores
16. Host an awesome summer party
17. Go to a drive-in movie
18. Cook something you never cooked before
19. Have an epic movie marathon with friends
20. Go river tubing
21. Reconnect with friends you haven’t seen in a while
22. Eat lunch on a dock
23. Order a new flavor of ice cream
24. Go bowling
25. Take pictures in a photo booth
26. Go shopping on a boardwalk
27. Stay up all night and watch the sun come up
28. Eat pizza by a pool
29. Do a Pinterest craft
30. Ride a four wheeler
31. Big an epic blanket fort
32. Go to an aquarium
33. Lay in the back of a pickup truck
It's probably the worst time of the year for those of us who love Christmastime. At least in the days immediately following December 25th, it's still socially acceptable to listen to your favorite Christmas carols, keep your Christmas lights plugged in, and enjoy your tree and decorations.
But, sometime after New Years, the day inevitably comes when the celebration of the Christmas season must give way to the next one. Whether you throw your tree out promptly on January 1st, wait for the official changing of the Christian liturgical season at Epiphany (January 6th), or just take everything down when you have time, there's a definite sadness that accompanies the un-decorating process.
First, there's the sheer amount of work involved in taking everything down and packing it away for next year. It takes time and effort to locate every tiny ornament hidden in the boughs of your Christmas tree, tenderly wrap each fragile figurine in a Nativity set, and untangle the many strands of lights that illuminated your yard all December. We spend hours putting everything away, not to mention vacuuming tree needles and glitter off of the rug.
Once everything is safely stored in the basement or garage, of course, it's guaranteed that we'll find one last decoration that we completely forgot about, meaning that we have to somehow make space for it in one of the already-overstuffed boxes of ornaments and tinsel and lights. It can all be pretty overwhelming.
Christmas teardown is also a reminder of just how much stuff we accumulate, and just how little of it we really need or care about. Now is probably a good time to get rid of some of it so that we'll have less to store, put up, and take down next year, but often in our mourning for the ending of the Christmas season, we find it difficult to part with almost anything. We make mental pacts with ourselves not to buy any more decorations next year, but then immediately break our resolutions when we see the cute little nutcracker ornaments on a great sale a week after Christmas, or when all the new decor begins to appear in stores the following October.
And of course, there's the essential fact that putting away Christmas decorations means the ending of one of the most beautiful, festive, and happy times of the entire year. The decorations in the stores and around town gradually disappear, the number of family gatherings and parties on our calendars begins to dwindle, school and work resume as vacations end. Everyone and everything just seems a bit less jolly as the bleak wintry weather of January sets in.
But even in the face of a long winter devoid of Christmas cheer, there's still hope. There's hope for exciting holidays ahead, like sweet, romantic Valentine's Day or joyous Easter Sunday. There's hope for changes in weather, like potential snowfall and the eventual coming of spring, when the earth will finally come back to life in flowers and birds and trees and EVERYTHING. And for those who celebrate the coming of Christ at Christmas, there's the promise that Immanuel, the presence of God With Us, doesn't go away even when we've put away our manger scenes and stopped listening to O Holy Night.
Before we know it, Christmas will be just around the corner once again, and we'll get to enjoy our favorite holiday traditions and celebrations sooner than we think. Even though lovers of Christmas will never not struggle when Christmastime comes to an end, we can take comfort in the fact that the cycle of the seasons continues, bringing so many other things to enjoy until Christmas comes again.