Monday, January 2, 2017

My Holiday "Bucket" List

Every year, the holidays bring us face to face with traditions; those we have grown up with, continue to observe with our own families, and pass down to our children.  Many times, these traditions are carried on, but in slightly different ways and forms.

I am always happy to see these traditions continue.  Yet, there are so many things that may have been a "tradition" years ago, but has not continued. 

This year, after watching a Hallmark movie titled, "Christmas List", I really focused on some of the traditions through my life time.  I decided there were a few that I wanted to be sure to capture again this year; and, thanks to the movie, I came up with my own holiday "bucket" list!

The movie, starring Alicia Witt and Gabriel Hogan, is based on the novel, "The Christmas Bucket List" by Ella Fairlie.  Growing up in a family that restricted what could - and couldn't - be done during the holidays, Isobel created a list of things she wanted to do...

Later, as a young woman sharing the holiday with her boyfriend, Isobel finds the list she made as a little girl and decided to try to make it happen, even adding to the list!

For more information on this movie (and other Hallmark movies), check out their website here.

My list started out slowly, until I really thought about some of the things I'd love to do during the holidays; things I did as a child (see #1), or things I really wanted to do now (see #3, 4 and 5).

Believe it or not, I  have actually been able to complete a lot of them; and add a couple to the list!

My Holiday "Bucket" List

1.  Watch all of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  

As a young child, I would sit on my Nanna's lap, intently watching the parade.  When my children were younger, we'd make sure to tune it in on Thanksgiving Day, regardless of where we held it.

This year, while baking pies and a corn casserole for our dinner later in the day, I watched every moment of the parade!!

2.  Watch both versions of "Miracle on 34th St."

This is one of my very favorite holiday movies, and I always try to watch at least one of the versions sometime during the holidays.

First, I watched the older version with my husband, who was interested in seeing the "old stars", like Maureen O'Hara (Doris Walker), Edmund Gwenn (Kris Kringle) and Natalie Wood (Susan Walker).  I just love it!

Then, I watched the newer movie with my daughter.  This movie follows very closely to the older version, but is more updated, and uses names like "Cole's" for the store instead of "Macy's".  Richard Attenborough plays the "infamous" Kris Kringle; Elizabeth Perkins plays Dorey Walker, and her daughter Susan, is played by Mara Wilson (I love this little actress!)

Wonderful movies!

3.  See "The Nutcracker"

Well, sometimes we just have to improvise; and that is what I did for this one!!

The movie "A Nutcracker Christmas" is another Hallmark movie that I watched this year.  Since I was unable to attend the local "Nutcracker" performances, this one had just enough of the ballet that it worked for me!

4.  See the Gingerbread House Extravaganza

Sponsored by the Jacksonville Historical Society, this is the 14th Annual Gingerbread House Extravaganza.  Check it out here.

But, this was another on my list that I had to improvise on...

I attended my grandson's 2nd grade holiday party where they made gingerbread houses; as well as read stories and played games.  I even got to call BINGO for them.

Needless to say, I had a wonderful time with a class of 2nd graders, who were allowed to wear holiday pj's.  Since it was held on Thursday - the normal "Bow-tie Thursday" instituted by my grandson and the assistant principal - my grandson wore his routine normal Thursday attire along with his pj's.

5.  Attend "The Messiah" concert by the Jacksonville Symphony and Chorus.

Almost, but not quite!!  My friend from church thought one of his chorus friends had 2 extra tickets; but it turned out he had given them away already.

6.  Go to Kuhn's Flowers.

When my children were growing up, we always made a stop by Kuhn's after our Christmas Eve Service at Church.  This tradition continued for a while; but as they got older and left home, it was almost forgotten...

Until they started having families of their own and wanted to share the tradition with their children!

This year, we had a "new" family member; my granddaughter's husband!  A good reason to continue the tradition!

7.  Buy or make gifts for family and friends.

This isn't really a holiday day bucket list as much as something I continuously do each year...and not just at the holidays!

Most years I say "this is going to be a small Christmas", meaning I'm not going to be able to buy very many gifts...

Most years it turns out to be a HUGE Christmas!  By the time everyone puts their gifts under the tree at whichever home we are gathered, the gifts are never-ending!

8.  Have my picture taken with Santa.

I's a "kid" thing!  But, I wanted to have my picture taken, too!

So, on a Saturday morning, I joined my daughter and her husband and my two grandchildren for "Breakfast with Santa" at Chick-fil-A...

It was a wonderful day spent together.  And, I was able to get photos of my other daughter's two boys at another event.

9.  Throw a Snowball.

I really had to get creative with this one!

 Since we live in Florida, snow is an almost never occurrence!  (I say "almost never" because it DID snow in 1989, just enough for us to build a very small snowman on the hood of our car!).

So, while shopping in Target together, my daughter found an indoor game, "Snowball Battle"... And we had a snowball fight on Christmas Day.  

Perhaps one day, I'll get to throw a "real" snowball?

10.  Watch the ball drop in NYC on New Year's Eve.

Some years I do; some years I don't make it to midnight!

This year I joined a few of my "crafty" friends for a New Year's Eve party, crafting, eating, laughing, and just having a great time.

Some stayed overnight, sleeping on air mattresses or cots they had brought; I left about 12:40 AM to sleep in my own bed before heading back to continue the party on New Year's Day, when we shared our mimosas after lunch.

Oh, and that ball in NYC?  We tried to watch it on a cell phone, and did the countdown from around 30 seconds...  But, we never did see the ball drop!

11.  Enjoy a yummy Peppermint Milkshake.

There are certain things we expect to enjoy when the holidays come along!  The normal holiday treats and cookies and traditional ham or turkey (or both) meals are expected...

But, I always expect other "certain" things; like a peppermint shake or a cranberry orange muffin!

So, one afternoon after babysitting my granddaughter and running a quick errand, I had the pleasure of enjoying my milkshake!  (I have actually enjoyed about 3 of them; as well as a hot chocolate with peppermint.)

The cranberry orange muffins seem to be a bit harder to find unless I bake them myself; but I was able to have a couple after finding them at Panera Bread.

12.  Enjoy Family and Friends.

This one was just added to make my list even...I always enjoy being with my family and friends!

{And, as we made our way through traditions and the things we love to do, I actually added two more!!}

13.  Go to Sweet Pete's.

Yes!  A favorite place to visit anytime of the year...

Sweet Pete's is amazing at Christmas and other special occasions!  Just think a local "Willy Wonka?!"

So, after Christmas, we took three car-loads downtown enjoy a shop full of candy and other goodies, sharing the experience for the first time with a few others.

14.  Attend the Live Nativity at Riverside Church.

This is an annual event at my church, complete with music in the sanctuary; the live nativity portrayed outside, including live animals; and crafts and Santa in the fellowship hall.  I am usually helping out with the crafts for the first 30 minutes or so.

My two girls usually come with their families, and they may (or may not) have photos made with Santa...

This year, Melissa and the two grandsons did; but there was no way my granddaughter would even go up to him!

So, that is my Holiday "Bucket" List...

Perhaps I'll use it again next year?  Or, revise it somewhat for more things I want to do.

What are some of your traditions?  Or, things you would love to do during the holidays, but haven't done in a while!

Share with others in the comments!!

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