With few remaining days in the month of December, the clock strike at midnight on the last day of the year ushers in a new decade. Rather than whisking away the days in frantic busyness, make an extra effort to spend the remaining days of 2019 in intentional fun and merriment with the family. Make memories to treasure that end 2019 in great fanfare and welcome in 2020 with joyous thanksgiving for the ones you love.
Try out some of the zany holidays this month with family members and create a few silly ones of your own.
➤ National Cookie Day — Bake cookies with the family and let little hands roll the dough in seasonal sprinkles before baking. In a mixer, blend 1 cup of soft shortening with 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Add two beaten eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to the mixture. In a separate bowl, stir together 2 3/4 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Gradually add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl and blend. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll the formed balls in colored sugar or sprinkles. Place the cookies on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for eight minutes or until very lightly browned on the bottom. Cool on a rack, then enjoy!
➤ National Roof Over Your Head Day — Instigated to bring awareness to the plight of the homeless, National Roof Over Your Head Day encourages community members to seek ways to be part of the solution. Bulloch County is blessed with the presence of Open Hearts Community Mission, but community support is needed for its continued success. Why not get your family involved in the awareness effort? Ongoing needs at the shelter throughout the year include donations of cleaning supplies, paper towels and toilet paper. However, a special request to make December a festive month for the residents includes these items: adhesive tape and gift labels for wrapping gifts, gingerbread house kits, and marshmallows, chocolate candy bars and graham crackers for s’mores. (Please deliver the items as soon as possible to meet the needs before the house decorating event and the s’mores nights!) And, holiday cookies and candy are always welcomed!
➤ Look for an Evergreen Day — Bundle up the kids and take a walk on a cool evening downtown to admire decorated trees and wreaths made of evergreen branches. Or, take a drive through the neighborhood to peek at Christmas trees bedazzling the inside and outside of homes. Drive over to TMT Farms for the grand light display and look for evergreens there and along the way. (Don’t forget to take canned food or toys to donate, if you’d like to be part of the Thompson’s food and toy drive to show your appreciation for all the hard work the family puts in for the no-admission light and holiday decoration extravaganza.)
➤ Bathtub Party Day — This seems like a silly holiday for the winter season, but, then again, most of the zany celebrations have a bit of wackiness mixed in! Buy new floating toys for the little ones for bathtime, and afterwards, read some of these books before bedtime: "Barnyard Bath!" and "Bath Time," by Sandra Boynton; "When Your Lion Needs a Bath," by Susanna Leonard Hill; "The Pigeon Needs a Bath!" by Mo Wilems and "Kid Tea" by Elizabeth Ficocelli.
➤ Tick Tock Day — Create a fun craft to mark the celebration of just two days left in the year. Let each person in the family make a reminder of goals for the new year by first gluing a paper plate to a large sheet of construction paper. Label the numbers on the clock, from one to 12, in the appropriate locations on the plate. Then, outside of each number, write on the construction paper goals to match that numbered month. For example, you might choose to write next to the numeral “2,” this idea for February: “Write daily lovenotes to everyone in the family.” Or, next to the numeral “7,” you might write, “Plan a family trip to the beach.” Fill in goals or wishes for each month, then have each person put their clock craft in a location that will be a visible reminder for the year.
Keep the important things in mind this month as the minutes tick past. With limited time left in the current decade, find ways to make memories with the ones you love that will be treasured long into the next decade. May God bless you richly in the remainder of 2019 and may you use those riches to bless others in 2020 and beyond.
Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender is married to David Lavender and enjoys celebrating with children Jeremy, Jenifer, Jeb Daniel, and Jessica. Don’t forget to look for her newest coauthored Christmas devotional, Come and Behold Him, to enjoy over the month of December.