Years ago friends of ours heard of "the twelve dates of Christmas" and decided to put it into practice. This has nothing to do with the 2011 movie of the same name, but is a way to celebrate the Christmas season with your spouse or significant other in a more meaningful way.
Each year my friends sit down together and decide on 12 dates that they will enjoy during the month of December. Some of these are repeated annually because they enjoy them so much, others are new items they hear about from friends, stumble across in the paper, or otherwise come upon serendipitously. Each year they kick off the same way, attending an event in a nearby small town that launches the shopping season in style - offering trolley rides through the Christmas-lit streets, carolers dressed up in old-fashioned style, festive food sampling, prizes, etc.
important aspect of our friends' "12 Dates of Christmas" tradition is finding
ways to serve and show Jesus' love to others through volunteering, making
gifts/goodies to give, etc. For one of their dates they make a gingerbread
house to share with co-workers. One year they
hosted a Christmas Open House for their neighbours. Serving others enriches the dating tradition, making it more meaningful for them as well as positively impacting those who are embraced and included.
As discussed in "Advent: Peace" yesterday, Christmas can be a busy, chaotic time for many people. To me, the 12 dates of Christmas sounds like a great way to slow things down a bit and be intentional in your focus. Maybe you're not so interested in shopping, but what other things do you enjoy doing? How about a cookie-making date or attending a cooking class? Would a drive through your local park's Christmas-lit wonderland make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Does your favorite coffee shop serve up festive beverages and treats? Are there special church presentations and services in your area? I know there are several in mine!
Just coming up with ideas together can be a fun way to reconnect and be creative. If I can get my husband alone for five minutes, I think we'll try this.
In what ways are you intentional about how you spend your time during the holiday season?