Happy Holidays from Marshall, Illinois – Your Christmas Checklist

Christmas is just around the corner. It’s time to review your Christmas Checklist and ensure you haven’t forgotten any holiday traditions. Just in case, here are some of the things we love to do and a little history behind these activities.

Baking Christmas Cookies – Checklist Favorite

Not only do we love to bake cookies, but we also love decorating them. This time of year, the food channels on TV focus on cookie-baking competitions more than anything else. Check them out for great new recipes, or just go with the old favorites, sugar cookies, and chocolate chips. Remember the hot cocoa to wash those cookies down. Tradition says that if you leave cookies and milk out for Santa, he will treat you even better next year.

Are you feeling ambitious? Make a gingerbread house. It’s a great, fun thing to do for the whole family on a cold or rainy winter day. You can make your own gingerbread from scratch or buy a kit with all the elements, so all you have to do is put your house together and decorate using icing, sprinkles, marshmallows, and gumdrops. They look great and are the only house you can eat once it’s built.

Decorating the Tree:

Real or fake, decorating the tree is one of the most important Christmas activities on your checklist. The tradition calls for a live tree or evergreen branches as a way to represent life during dark, cold winter nights. Twinkly lights, tinsel, ornaments, and garland make the tree festive. No two trees will look the same, some will have an angel on the top, some a star, but all of them are a way for your family and friends to express their holiday spirit and share in the fun.

Christmas Caroling:

Hundreds of Christmas songs, both classic and modern, are easy to sing and fun to harmonize. In the US, the holiday tradition of caroling is still honored in many towns in many ways. It may not be as popular an activity as it used to be. But if you want to spread some holiday cheer, gather your friends, bundle up, and go door-to-door in your neighborhood or downtown from store to store. Sing your favorite carols and get your rewards for cookies, holiday candy, and hot beverages.

Writing a Letter to Santa:

We know that Santa travels all over the globe every Christmas eve delivering presents to the good boys and girls. His team of trusty flying reindeer leads him, with Rudolph in the lead position. The children of the world write him letters to let him know what they want for Christmas. Make sure your little ones have written theirs. There’s still time to postmark it and get it off to the North Pole in time.

Throwing an Ugly Sweater Party

We love to dress up for holiday parties with Santa hats, elf ears and pointy shoes, Christmas earrings, and every kind of headgear, from reindeer antlers to ear muffs. But nothing beats an ugly Christmas sweater. Why not get a few friends together and have a little Ugly Sweater Party? Meet up at one of Marshall’s local venues and promise to outdo each other with your attire. If you can’t find a sweater you like, make your own. Give the participants extra points for garland, ornaments, funny sayings, and flashing lights!

Exchanging Gifts:

While the true meaning of Christmas is often forgotten, we must admit that a big part of the fun is exchanging gifts with the people we love. Fun gift exchanges, like Secret Santa, are newer traditions. In this case, each person chooses a name from a hat or bucket and has to buy a gift for the person whose name they drew. It’s a great way to make sure everyone gets a gift, and by choosing a price limit like $10 or $20, the presents are pretty equal in value.

Watching Christmas Movies:

What has 12 actors, four settings, and one plot? Oh, Hallmark! You give us never ending hours of new holiday movies to watch. On the checklist, snuggle up on the couch, pop some popcorn, make some hot cocoa and watch your favorite Christmas movies. From It’s A Wonderful Life, White Christmas, Scrooge (in all its formsincluding Scrooged and the newest adaptation –  Spirited) or the misadventures of  Buddy the Elf, there are tons of classic holiday movies to watch. Many TV channels offer a different Christmas movie every night.

And the most important tradition of all….

Spending Time with the People You Love and Who Love You!!:

Tis the season to spend quality time with friends and family. It doesn’t matter all that much what you do, baking cookies, trimming the tree, singing carols, or watching movies. In your ugly sweaters or matching jammies, playing with the pets, making snowmen, or sledding with the kids, no matter what you do this holiday season, be grateful for what you have, celebrate the good things in your life, reflect on the past year, the good and the bad, rejoice in the good and let go of the bad. But no matter what, spend time with your loved ones and be happy that you live in a great town, Marshall, Illinois.