Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Single Advent

I know that I am a day late with this. Advent started yesterday, but please forgive me. My computer is not working right now and I am writing this from my parents' computer.

Christmas is my absolutely favorite time of the year. For me, it has been a time of love, family, and remembrance of the One who gave His life for me. As single person, this time of year can be difficult though because I watch my friends and family with their kids and a part of me wishes that I had my own family and children to do these things with. This year I got to thinking though, "Why can't I as a single person celebrate Advent too?" So I took on the challenge of developing a calendar of activities that I as a single person can do in order to celebrate Advent.

Since I don't have my computer, I don't have the calendar to share right now, but I will be uploading it as soon as my computer is fixed. Instead, I am going to share the list of things that I came up with to do to celebrate Advent.

1. Make a special treat for a neighbor.
     One of the best things about this time of year is that it is a time of giving, and there are so many simple and inexpensive gifts that you can make. One of my favorite things to make for friends and neighbors is cookie mixes in a mason jar. You could also make up some cookie dough and freeze it. Paint an ornament.

2. Make a thank you gift for a community service worker (mailman, garbage collector, beautician, etc.).

    Create a plate of goodies (cookies, candies) and give to your mailman or take one to the local firehouse or police station.

3. Host a Christmas party!

    I know that there are so many activities going on this time of year, but what is more fun than having your friends and family over? There are so many great ideas for parties now too. You could have a birthday party for Jesus, a hot chocolate party, a cookie decorating party...the list can go on and on and on.

4. Grab some friends and go caroling!

    Grab some friends or  join the church choir, but go caroling. Take them around the community or visit a local nursing home.

5. Share a gift.

    There are so many children out there who do not families and wonder if they are going to get anything for Christmas. Visit a local store that has an Angel tree. Go shopping and buy clothes and toys for one of the children.

6. Light a candle.

     Ann Voskamp has become one of my favorite authors and speakers. On her blog A Holy Experience she has pictures of a wooden candelabra that her family uses to mark the days of Advent. For each day of Advent her family lights a candle and moves a wooden figure of Mary riding a donkey until Christmas day. You could set up your own by placing a row of candles along the mantel or a counter and lighting a new one everyday.

7. Bake and decorate Christmas cookies.

8. Find and read a new Christmas book.

   Visit the library or book store and find a new book to read.

9. Watch the movie The Nativity.

     Have a movie night. Curl up in your favorite pajamas and with your favorite snacks and put on your favorite Christmas movie. Mine is The Nativity.

10. Do a random act of kindness.

      Place candy canes at ATM's around town with a note. Buy a bunch of flowers and pass them out to people you see that appears to need a pick-me up. Pay for the person's purchases behind you at Quik Trip or McDonald's.

11. Drive around and view the Christmas lights.

      Grab your nieces and nephews or some friends and drive around to see the Christmas lights.

12. Volunteer! 

      Visit a school and read stories. Spend the day working at a local homeless shelter. Be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. There are so many different organizations that are looking for people to volunteer. Do a little research and find the best fit for you.

13. Make a new Christmas ornament or decoration.

      I love to make things or to find a new way to use something old, but even the non-crafter can make a simple ornament. Just take a clear glass ornament and place a photo in it. My niece, nephew, and I made ornaments by putting paint in a clear glass ornament and shaking it around. Visit a local pottery shop and paint a ceramic ornament.

14. Do a prayer walk around your neighborhood or community.

       Take a walk around your neighborhood and pray for your neighbors.

15. Adopt a family.

      Many families cannot afford Christmas so find a family in need and adopt them for the holiday season. Buy them presents. Invite them over for Christmas dinner or buy them the food for the Christmas dinner.

16. Watch "The Nutcracker."

      Buy tickets to the local production of  The Nutcracker or if you can't afford that, look for a video recording of it.

17. Listen to Handel's "Messiah."

     Spend the day just worshiping and praising the Lord through song.

18. Write down 10 different ways God has provided for you.

      Even though Thanksgiving is over, we must not forget to have an attitude of gratitude. Make a list of 10 different ways that God has provided for you. Take photos of the things you have been gifted with.

19. Offer to babysit for a single mom or dad.

       Christmas can often be a harried time for the single parent. They are usually limited on time without the children so Christmas shopping can be difficult. Offer to babysit so that they can get their Christmas shopping done.

20. Decorate your tree.

       Just because you are single doesn't mean that you can't decorate for Christmas.

21. Go Christmas shopping.

      Spend the day shopping for presents for family and friends.

22. Read the story of the birth of Jesus.

      My favorite account of the story is in the book of Luke.

23. Create a playlist of your favorite Christmas songs.

      Download your favorite Christmas songs and create a CD or playlist for your iPod or mp3 player.

24. Send a Christmas card or a care package to a soldier.

       Our military works hard to protect our freedom show your thanks by sending out Christmas cards to some of the soldier or adopt a soldier and send him or her a care package with gifts and goodies.

25. Have a favorite things party with your girlfriends.

       In all of the stress of the holidays, it can be good to unwind with your girlfriends, married and single. Have a girls' night in. Ask each guest to bring their favorite things under $5 (enough for each guests so keep the numbers small) and their favorite snack and drink. Then just relax and enjoy being together.

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