My general inclination, even in a good year (which I don’t think I need to explain that this is not), tends toward Scrooge-like as the holidays approach.

It all just feels like such a slog, honestly: the parties, the Secret Santa gift exchanges with bad chocolates and candles that smell like that cologne I hated in college, the baking, the shopping, the wrapping. We don’t do Christmas cards, and we don’t do Christmas lights, and it’s still somehow too much for me to deal with.

This year, I’m finding I have to dig deeper than ever to find the energy to do it all. And yet, somehow, that means I need to do it more than ever. Fake it till you make it, as they say. And I need to give my kids a sense of normalcy, a sense of joy and wonder.

So I’m making my holiday list and checking it twice. This year, I solemnly swear I will do the following:

  1. Take a picture of the kids and the dog in matching Christmas pajamas. Heck, maybe I’ll even buy a pair for myself.
  2. Get an Advent calendar. We all need a visual reminder that this year, too, shall pass.
  3. Drive through Celebration in the Oaks. It’s COVID-safe, and I won’t freeze my butt off! Fantastic; I’m sold!
  4. Stop calorie-counting long enough to enjoy at least one eggnog daiquiri this season! You can keep the King Cake; this is my favorite NOLA indulgence.
  5. Put up a tree with the special 2020 ornament my mom gave me. (It features masks and toilet paper, and I’m sure I will cherish it more and more as this year recedes into the past.)
  6. Bake cookies with the kids. I bake every year, but I typically shoo the kids away because the baking is more out of duty than out of enjoyment. This year, why not? No one is going to eat this stuff besides us, so who even cares?!
  7. Watch Christmas movies. We’re usually too busy running to errands and parties to be home in time to watch Rudolph (it’s tonight on CBS!), but not this year!
  8. Write letters to Santa. Neither of my girls is a true believer anymore, but I still made them take a picture every year with Santa. This year, we’ll settle for letters.
  9. Give to a food bank. I try to do this every year, but I know everyone is struggling right now, and some peanut butter and pasta and tuna will go a long way.
  10. Stop and drink it all in. It’s been such a hard year that it can be all too easy to focus on the bad and not the good. But like I said last week, there is still so much to be thankful for.


What are you planning to do this holiday season? Honor old traditions? Make new ones? And please drop your favorite cookie recipe in the comments!