Andy Williams may have said it best. The last two months on the calendar are “the most wonderful time of the year.” But if you have trouble getting into the holiday spirit, no worries. This post will have you decking the halls and fa la la la-ing in no time.
By now all the stores have already put out their Christmas displays. Carols are playing non-stop on the PA system in just about every retail spot in the region. Inflatable Santa Clauses, light-up snowmen and those slow moving reindeer decorations have replaced pumpkins, gourds and scarecrows in yards everywhere.
Christmas trees are a big part of the season. There are some lots in southern Illinois where you can buy a live tree without the hassle of cutting your own. Some people would argue that’s a great bonding experience with the family and there is a farm in Johnston City where you can do it. Wiswell’s Christmas Tree Farm is just down the road from Bandy’s Pumpkin Patch. After you find that perfect tree, cut the bottom of it off and decorate it as an ornament to hang. Year after year you can add to the collection and have a piece of each previous tree. This will create fond memories that will last a lifetime.
Many spots around southern Illinois have already started offering Breakfast with Santa events. These are especially fun for families with small children. The magic of Christmas is captured at these meals as kids get the chance to break bread with the Jolly Ol’ Elf. Many times Santa brings a small surprise for these visitors and Mrs. Claus and at least an elf are two have made the trip as well.
More communities in southern Illinois are rolling out the red and green carpet this time of year to celebrate. On December 2 downtown Carterville transforms into a winter wonderland for Christmas in Carterville. There are carriage rides, games, live music and hot chocolate for the family. The annual Lights Fantastic Parade rolls through the Strip in Carbondale the next night. Dozens of floats and bands are covered in thousands of lights and help spread the holiday spirit.
Baking and eating Christmas cookies is a sure fire way to get into the holiday spirit. It’s become a family tradition in many households. Make enough cookies to share with friends and family. Some food pantries and homeless shelters in the region will accept extra cookies to make Christmas a little sweeter for the people they serve.
Watch some Christmas movies. There are plenty of classics and new films on cable, Netflix and on DVD. Downloading Christmas songs or finding your favorite tunes on the ready can get you into the spirit. And buy an ugly Christmas sweater. These misfits have become so popular now companies mass produce a variety of ugly sweaters. T-shirts and sweatshirts with popular TV shows, movies and cartoon characters now sport an ugly Christmas theme too. Mark your calendar, the third Friday of December is typically set aside to celebrate these sweaters.
These are just a few ways to get into the holiday spirit. Most importantly, be kind to others and remember it’s better to give than to receive.