ELF ON THE SHELF
The Elf on the Shelf has been the best $30 investment I have made in a long while! Our Elf’s name is Bitty, and he arrives every year on Thanksgiving night. He stays with us until Christmas Eve, and each night he flies to the North Pole to report to Santa on the twins’ behavior. When he returns, he lands in a different spot in our home. The twins wake up each morning excited to find where the Bitty has landed. Last night, Bitty was hungry, and he dove into a bag of Doritos! The Elf on the Shelf sparks adventure and creativity in our home…and most importantly, the wonder of Christmas.
CHRISTMAS AT BUSCH GARDENS
If you haven’t been yet, please treat yourself! Busch Gardens turns into a winter wonderland full of sparkling lights, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, live Christmas Carolers, man-made show that appears to fall from the sky – and even penguins! Yes, penguins. You’ll get to meet Santa in his workshop, and if you are lucky – you can whisper something naughty in his ear that makes his cheeks turn as red as Rudolph’s nose! I did.
THE NATIONAL HARBOR
Aside from the all of the wonderful shopping and eating options (plug: check out Pretty Girl Cupcakery www.pgcupcakery.com owned by fellow Hampton graduate LaKisa Taylor), Christmas at the National Harbor is on steroids! Most of the activities happen at the Gaylord National Hotel – where you can meet Santa, make gingerbread houses, and enjoy character breakfasts with Shrek. The characters also appear nightly for the Christmas tree drop! And, on Christmas Eve – Santa water skates on the property!
MAKE SNOW CREAM
If we are lucky to have snow during the holiday season, making snow cream is a tradition that my mother started – long before we were overzealous about pollution and germs! The most important rule of snow cream – You. Will. Need. Fresh. Snow! Scoop up a fresh layer in a bowl and bring it inside. Add vanilla and sugar and stir – and whala! You have snow cream.
FIND A WAY TO SERVE
My family bakes cookies every year for a local shelter – but there are tons of ways you can give back! Participate in a canned foods, coat or toiletry drive. Donate to your favorite charity. Volunteer at your national church. You’ll find that giving is the best part of the holiday season.
GO CHRISTMAS CAROLING
I got tired of trying to convince my friends to go caroling with me, so I had to trick them! I told them that my kids were performing at Wegman’s and to meet me there. When they arrived, I passed out sheet music and they had no choice but to get down to business. We sounded awful as we walked through the aisles of Wegman’s singing our hearts out. But the laughter, joy, and excitement that we evoked from the shopper’s was priceless. You should try it.
Christmas is a time to make memories. I hope you make every second count.