You have to love December. Yes, Christmas is in there somewhere but December is also my birthday month. And the month I get to see my children take a deep breath and finally relax after a full year of school. It's also the month where I too can sneak in a holiday. God knows we all deserve one this year. Year 12, commitments galore, so many life decisions made, or ignored. 2019 was a big year.
So, in the spirit of Christmas, which for me is all about surrounding yourself with family and friends, cooking them all good food, finding moments for them, and yourself, here is something to do every day until December 25.
1. Make a plan. Even if it's a plan not to make a plan.Gather the family and schedule the multitude of events between now and the end of school. You can do it.
2. Start dropping hints about what it is you want for Christmas. Not stuff, but time and favours. Must dig out all those little books of favours the kids gave me when they were little. I'd be more than happy to snuggle and read you a book. Even if you are too big for my lap.
3. Make a pile of books to read over summer. I've tucked away Bruny by Heather Rose; Maybe the Horse Will Talk by Elliot Perlman; The Dutch House by Ann Patchett; and The School Run by Helen Whittaker. Need a spy thriller to round it out. Suggestions?
4. Go through your cupboards, pantry, linen closet and fill up three big bags or several boxes with things you can donate to charity. You don't need it but someone does.
5. Go have the time of your life at the Sunset Cinema at the Botanic Gardens. Dirty Dancing screens from sunset. And check out the program. There's a whole week of Christmas movies from December 18. Elf anyone?
6. Head to the Handmade Canberra Markets at EPIC to buy gifts for the special people in your life. From homewares to clothes, food and drink. It's a treat in itself.
7. Carols are happening at Lanyon Homestead. Sing loudly.
8. Take a Sunday afternoon to plan your Christmas menu. Go overboard, even if you're just cooking for yourself.
9. Full of inspiration, deliver a meal to an eldery neighbour, or a new mother, or a random friend. Stay and talk.
10. Post some Christmas cards. Yes, an email or a text is easier, but it's always lovely to get something in the mailbox that isn't a bill.
11. Put up the tree. It's my birthday. That's our tradition. Traditions are good. Make new ones.
12. Tune into the first day of the First Test against New Zealand. More than a worthy opponent regardless of which sport it is. Not a bad summer of cricket ahead, I'm suggesting.
13. Head bush for a long walk to clear your head.
14. Carols by Candlelight is on at Stage 88 in Commonwealth Park. Sing loudly.
15. There's a special Christmas kids theme at the Old Bus Depot Markets. Take the poppets. Give them some cash to buy some random presents.
16. Last week of school begins. Go easy on the kids. They're knackered, and you are too. Make pancakes for breakfast every morning.
17. Sneak out of work at lunchtime to go and sit in the sun somewhere. Listen to a podcast. Take the whole hour.
18. A week to go. You can do it. Don't panic if you're not following the plan. You've been winging it all year.
19. Last day of school. Take the kids for a milkshake. Don't nag them for a whole weekend at least.
20. There's probably some school, work, family thing on. But find time to get the girls together for a cuppa (wine).
21. Sydney Thunder are playing the Adelaide Strikers in a Big Bash cricket game in Manuka. Don't miss a ball.
22. Get all the last-minute shopping out of the way. Have a nap in the afternoon.
23. Book in for a pedicure. Take your mum. Or your daughter. Or your bestie.
24. Settle in with the family and watch Carols by Candlelight out of Melbourne. Have a glass of bubbly. Carry the poppets off to bed. Madly wrap any last-minute presents. Or head outside at midnight to assemble that trampoline.
25. Take a deep breath. You made it. Gotta love December.