1) Make a Christmas playlist.
First and foremost, everyone must make a Christmas playlist. When it’s snowing outside and everyone is sitting around the dinner table rolling out those pre-made, reindeer and Santa-shaped sugar cookies, listening to rap music or Britney Spears just doesn’t have the same cheery effect. The best Christmas playlists include a variety of songs from different eras. Some basic suggestions:
– Santa Baby by Madonna (a good pick if you can get past its creepiness)
– All I Want for Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey (my all-time favorite, judge all you like)
– You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch by Thurl Ravenscroft (gotta get some movie soundtracks in there)
– Anything from Michael Buble’s Christmas album (the man’s got a Christmas voice)
– Underneath the Tree by Kelly Clarkson (Kelly Clarkson is my musical drug, so I’m biased with this one, but it’s a new single and you should all go check it out)
2) Buy/Build a gingerbread house.
Pre-made cookies are not the only sugary good that define the Christmas season. Gingerbread houses also make for a fun family-bonding event. To clarify, I don’t mean full-sized gingerbread houses. If you have the patience to attempt such a project and the self-control not to eat it along the way, then props to you, but I tend to go for the smaller, more manageable gingerbread structure. Even if the frosting doesn’t mix right and the walls don’t stay up for more than 2 seconds and in the end, you end up staring at a pile of gooey gingerbread panels that looks more like a stack of logs than an edible treat, you can say that you tried and that’s all that matters.
3) Decorate. Decorate everything.
As much as I hate walking through the aisles of CVS in October and seeing decorations for holidays inappropriately far in advance, I believe it’s also important to stock up on these decorations for when the actual holiday rolls around. And don’t limit yourself to decorating your house. Decorate cookies. Decorate the sidewalk with Christmas chalk drawings. Decorate your face with red and green makeup. Decorate your soul with the Christmas spirit.
4) Watch a Christmas special, or 10, or 100.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. How the Grinch Stole Christmas. A Christmas Story. A Charlie Brown Christmas. There are so many heart-warming Christmas movies out there, it’s hard to list them all. And don’t even get me started on Elf. It would get it’s own number if I had room.
5) Create a gift list idea for other people.
Receiving gifts on Christmas is only half the fun. The only thing better than the weeks leading up to Christmas is finding the perfect present for someone you love, whether it’s a gag gift or a serious item that they’ve been needing for awhile. Once you spot that antique typewriter that your hipster brother has been looking for, everything about life seems to fall into place.
6) Start a countdown.
Countdowns can be a very powerful force in nature, if the New Year’s Eve ball drop tradition is any indication. They can both ease the mind (i.e. 10 more minutes until I can escape this English class on Medieval Dinner Plates) and incite anticipation (i.e. 2 more days until I can order my tickets for Lord of the Rings on ice). Advent calendars can also be an acceptable substitution for such events. A friend of a friend (definitely not me) mentioned that Neopets has a good advent calendar, but I don’t know for sure. (I do. It does.)
7) Bust out the seasonal drinks/food.
Nearly every respectable establishment offers some sort of special Christmas meal or drink. Mint hot chocolate. Pumpkin spice latte. EGGNOG. Then pair that with Christmas munchkins or candy canes and you’ve got yourself a meal.
8) Wear a Santa hat all day, every day.
Santa hats are like Ellen Degeneres. They make everything more fun. Quote me on that.
9) Volunteer to wrap presents, and everything else.
Present-wrapping is a core part of the Christmas tradition, so volunteering to do it, either for charity purposes or to wrap your own, can get you in the holiday spirit. Wrap yourself in a sweater while wrapping a sandwich wrap and buying wrapping paper to wrap Christmas presents. Then when you’re done, go to a wrap party that plays only rap music. That’s a wrap!
10) Be jolly.
This is perhaps the most important rule of all. In the end, Christmas is not about spending enormous amounts of money or spoiling your children/parents/grandparents/significant other. Rather, it’s about coming together and celebrating all of the good parts of life. The best thing you can do to prepare for Christmas is just be happy. It’s the one time of the year where you don’t have to hate on humanity (which is what I do 95% of the time). Take advantage of it. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, after all.