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What’s on Your Christmas List?

If you’re anything like Santa Claus at this time of the year, you’re making a list…and checking it twice! And if you’re anything like me, you just might admit that things are quickly getting out of hand. From juggling work and attending holiday parties to hosting out-of-town company and buying gifts for the special people in your life, this time of the year definitely gives new meaning to the word “festive”. It’s hard to keep up, isn’t it?!

I love a great holiday DIY project. And I have to admit, I seriously enjoyed putting together this year’s Decoist Gift Guide! But these days, a Christmas list (or a holiday list, if you don’t celebrate Christmas) encompasses more than just gifts, and that’s a good thing. I’m not suggesting doing away with gifts or taking a break from craft and design projects. After all, the holidays bring out my creativity–do they do the same for you? But I’m proposing changing the way you look at the idea of a Christmas list: making sure it truly honors the people you care about rather than seeing it as a to-do list to check off. I know–easier said than done! But that won’t stop me from trying…

Holiday Spirit

Keeping the spirit of the holiday season Whats on Your Christmas List?
Keeping the spirit of the holiday season

For me, the image above says it all–a simple table with an uncluttered surface and a hint of holiday style, thanks to a trio of glass ball ornaments in a clean-lined dish. Add the sparkle of holiday lights in the background, and you have the picture-perfect metaphor for the season. It’s about a sense of peace, a dash of festivity, and a step away from all things overwhelming. In other words, basking in the glow of the holiday spirit!

I know–more often than not, holiday life isn’t boiled down to the simplicity of a clean table with a touch of seasonal sparkle! But I will say this… My Christmas list has three main sets of goals: enjoying the festive activities I want to do, showing the people I love that I care about them, and doing something to help others.

Modern Christmas decorations  Whats on Your Christmas List?
Decorating for the holidays

Let’s start with the festive activities. Maybe you look forward to eating with your family at a restaurant decked out in Christmas lights each holiday season. Or perhaps you relish the process of decorating your tree. Above we see an image of a modern living room filled with creative holiday style, courtesy of The Band Wife. See more of blogger Laura’s amazing decorations here.

12 days of kindness
12 days of kindness

Showing the people you love that you care and looking for ways to help others can be tricky when targeted with ads and commercials that constantly remind you time is ticking away when it comes to finishing your holiday shopping. But sometimes it’s about a different type of gifting. I’m a big fan of the 12 Days of Kindness concept from Lovely Indeed (pictured above). What are some ways that you can help others this holiday season? Can you think of a few acts of kindness? Perhaps making time to volunteer has touched your heart, or maybe you’ve volunteered to help a family member clean the kitchen before she welcomes you and others into her home for Christmas dinner! [from Rafe Churchill]

Beautiful clean kitchen
Beautiful clean kitchen

Perhaps showing others you care happens to overlap with something you truly love. Like hosting a scrumptious dinner! This holiday table designed by Athena Calderone of Eye Swoon is one gorgeous way to pamper loved ones:

A lovingly prepared holiday table by Athena Calderone
A lovingly prepared holiday table by Athena Calderone

In fact, cooking a delicious meal gives your guests an unforgettable experience AND gathers everyone together to enjoy one another in the midst of the busiest season of the year! This fabulous Midwinter Night’s Dream of a feast is designed by Gillian Segal and Sophie Collins, and featured at Camille Styles:

A beautifully prepared winter meal
A beautifully prepared winter meal

Taking time away from the holiday bustle can also involve finding healthy ways to be festive. I can’t wait to try this healthy chocolate banana shake from A Beautiful Mess, which features ingredients such as cacao powder, almond butter, and frozen bananas!

Healthy chocolate banana shake from A Beautiful Mess
Healthy chocolate banana shake from A Beautiful Mess

Meaningful Gifting

One of my very favorite ways to dote on my loved ones during the holidays is through meaningful gifting. And meaningful gifting isn’t about how much you spend–it’s about thoughtfully choosing and/or making gifts. Remember our roundup of amazing DIY holiday gift ideas for any budget? And here are a few more lovely ideas…like this make your own solid perfume tutorial from A Beautiful Mess:

DIY solid perfume idea from A Beautiful Mess
DIY solid perfume idea from A Beautiful Mess

I truly enjoy crafting at least a few gifts by hand each holiday season. This year, one of my DIY endeavors involves simple yet bold neon necklaces–super easy to make and very colorful for those in your life who love quirky modern style. Check out the full tutorial at Mirror80:

A DIY neon necklace idea
A DIY neon necklace idea

Another way to personalize your gifts (without making them by hand) is to curate a collection of special items that will treat your loved one and show that you truly care. This shower kit gift idea from Design Love Fest involves thoughtfully selecting and arranging an array of special products:

Shower kit gift idea from Design Love Fest
Shower kit gift idea from Design Love Fest

Yes, this post is all about the art of making a meaningful, intentional holiday list. But keep in mind that the point isn’t to identify a long list of must-dos during an already busy time of the year. It’s about taking some time out to think about what really matters. It’s not about overextending yourself. It’s about finding little ways to enjoy this season to the fullest, whether you finish everything on the list or not! The fact that you’re making a list at all shows that your heart is in the right place!

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