Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ideas for a Summer Christmas

0612 Christmas angel
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Celebrating a Summer Christmas

Ali Edwards’ blog shared the idea of an Advent box full of seasonal experiences, an idea shared with her by Shannon. You have a bunch of these in a box, each one on a slip of paper, and draw out one to try each day leading up to Christmas.

I loved the idea, and read Shannon’s list, and thought, but it’s HOT here at Christmas time. It’s summer, and summer holidays, and snow angels just aren’t possible….

…but lots of other things are.

So herewith my collection of Summer Christmas Advent possibilities. Feel free to add any more ideas in the comments. They kinda blur into January/summer holiday things too. But that’s OK.

This list is copyright, so please don’t burgle it…but if you want to borrow it to make up a box or two for yourself or presents, that’s fine. Do let people know where you found it - thank you.

  1. Make home made lemonade
  2. Take a moonlit walk (with mozzie repellent on) after the heat of the day
  3. Buy, and wear, personal fairy lights (Ikea sells ones with batteries) – and give at least one set to a child (the Ikea ones aren’t expensive, and what child doesn’t want to wear fairy lights?) (Extra note: If your local Ikea doesn't have these, look around for LED ones with about twenty lights and a battery pack rather than a power cord. In Australia, Big W, which is a cousin of Wal-Mart, has some this year). A couple of Ikea links: these are the fairy lights I've bought in the past, and these are other battery-operated ones that could work too. The links are to the Australian site, but you can use the info to check with Ikea in your country. (I've had some people asking about personal fairy lights, so I hope this extra info helps you).
  4. Buy or make at least one present for an adult, and one for a child, for a wishing/giving tree (for the needy)
  5. Have dinner outdoors by candlelight (don’t forget the citronella candles or mozzie coils)
  6. Make decorations from what you can find in the garden
  7. Make a Christmas (cash) donation to your local bushfire brigade
  8. Light a Christmas-scented candle
  9. Go for a bushwalk
  10. Go ice-skating at an indoor rink
  11. Take a picnic dinner (sandwiches are fine) to somewhere you’ve never been before
  12. Eat a mango – a messy, luscious summer treat
  13. Take a drive to enjoy the Christmas lights
  14. Read a classic Christmas picture book: three of my favourites (at least one out of print, sorry) are The Polar Express; The Mole Family’s Christmas (Russell Hoban) and The Nativity (illustrated by Julie Vivas)
  15. Play a CD of traditional Christmas carols by a classic choir (eg. Kings College)
  16. Go boating – a row boat, paddle boat, sailboat, canoe, kayak, ferry – there are lots of possibilities
  17. Write down one thing you’re grateful for on each of the days of December leading up to Christmas – maybe a kinda reverse Advent calendar
  18. Organise a family photo ahead of time (anyone got a November birthday?) and send copies with your Christmas card, and copies to each member of the family
  19. Check the expiry date on your sunscreen, and replace it if necessary – make sure every member of the family has a hat and sunglasses (The Cancer Council sells good ones)
  20. Work out which Carols by Candlelight you’ll attend
  21. See if there’s a local group you can join to sing Christmas carols to the elderly
  22. Ask a charity how they could use your help at Christmas or in January
  23. Cool off with home made lemonade
  24. Pitch a tent in the backyard for the kids to camp out one night
  25. See if there’s a midnight service you can attend on Christmas Eve – there’s something especially magic about them
  26. Hang a hammock in your garden – and enjoy it
  27. Use kids’ drawings to make Christmas decorations – trace them onto plain homespun with a fabric pen. Don’t forget to name and date them (my favourite decoration is a drawing of me at my sewing machine that was done by a niece aged seven). These can be good presents for family members too.
  28. Plan to share one experience over summer with each of the most important people in your life (friends and family), whether it’s coffee or dinner or a weekend breakfast or sharing an experience together. Tell them why they're special, what you particularly appreciate about them
  29. Try a summer fruit you’ve never tried before
  30. Plant some summer colour in a corner of the garden you see every day – a few ‘potted colour’ pots or punnets. And some parsley.
  31. Buy butcher’s paper (from the butcher, some will readily sell it by weight) and paint it to make your Christmas wrapping paper
  32. Find a performance of Handel’s Messiah to attend (or plan to join a group and sing in it next year)
  33. Use a child’s drawing for your Christmas cards, and write your own greeting piece for inside.
  34. Spend a long summer evening listening to the cicadas sing
  35. Plan to spend at least one day of your summer holidays helping a good cause in some way, whether it’s bush regeneration or visiting a nursing home or stuffing envelopes.
  36. Make Christmas shortbread or gingerbread and use fun cutters (stars, moons, fans, whatever!)
  37. Read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol aloud
  38. Plan to watch (or record) Carols from Kings on Christmas Eve (that boy soprano beginning with Once in Royal David’s City is one of my favourite Christmas moments ever – still and always)
  39. Tell the kids about your childhood Christmases – do you still have photos? What was your best present ever? This could be the basis of a fun mini-album
  40. Rather than an Advent calendar based on chocolate (not the best idea in summer anyway) make an Advent calendar ahead of time with your kids – and with their dates secret, so the others don’t know what’s behind them till the day comes. Maybe a line from a carol, or a Bible verse, or a photo of someone from the family, or something good that’s happened during the year.
  41. Organise a street Christmas party
  42. Watch It’s a Wonderful Life
  43. Organise a Christmas angels scheme at your workplace for the week before Christmas
  44. Visit somewhere you’ve never been to in your city – the weekend papers or what’s-on websites are a source of ideas. Maybe an exhibition, or museum, or walk, or activity.
  45. Make a wreath for your door from stuff you already have – whether in your craft room or the garden or whatever
  46. Find a way to share something you’re good at – a skill, a craft, there are many possibilities – with someone who will enjoy it
  47. Go to an outdoor cinema
  48. Make Christmas treats with the kids – whether it’s biscuits/cookies, or an ice-cream Christmas pudding or tiny puddings from fruit cake – for sharing.
  49. Sing Christmas music in the car – whether it’s Bing or choral or Handel, sing and enjoy. Make sure you sing some Australian Christmas carols too.
  50. Make a Christmas quilt to hang on the wall or use as a table cloth or table runner. Make the back of plain cream homespun, and get every family member to sign it each year

Well, that's fifty - not a bad start. Which summer Christmas things have I missed? What else would you add to a summer Christmas Advent/summer holiday box?

28 November: Ali Edwards mentioned this post in her blog - thank you!

And I've realised that I mentioned home made lemonade twice. I'll post the best lemonade recipe ever... (check back in a little while).


Lissa Jane said...

I love your idea's for christmas... what would I add? Hmmm probably take time out to 'smell the roses', or at least, destress.. I still dont know why christmas has to be so stressful? and no. 2 would be smile and nod at whatever the MIL says, I mean, it is Christmas! :O)


Jen said...

Hi Ruth, I have never been to your site b4, I got it from a link from Ali Edwards and I'm so glad I did. You have some wonderful ideas and it is so nice to see some for Summer Christmas since I am from Australia too! Thanks for a great blog.

caro said...

lovely to find you here, via Ali's blog.
Am also working on a summer list to do in the school holidays, with my children.
Thanks for the inspo, will let you know as we trundle along in Johannesburg!

LeAnne said...

Hi Ruth
This is the first time I have read your blog, came to you from Ali E's, but it will not be the last! Love your Christmas list, wanted to let you know that if you visit your local paper where they print eg Rural Press you can get the ends of the rolls for free. It makes great paper for drawing, and wrapping paper.
my blog

Manon Keir said...

Thank you Ruth, that was truly inspirational!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this! I live in Florida, USA and when I read the first list that Ali posted - like you - I thought, "Bummer. I can't do half of those here in the wintertime." This list is WONDERFUL; I've saved and printed it for my own use... I will be reviewing it with the family so that we can decide which we'd like to do together! - thanks so much - Melissa

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great ideas. We just moved to Guam with beaches, sand and coconut trees everywhere. I think I will make sandmen (instead of snowmen) with my kids as part of our Summer Christmas.


Brenda said...

I would add "have a picnic under a Pohutukawa tree" but this is best done in New Zealand.

jaki said...

I've popped over from AliE's blog too.
Great inspiration here for our advent calendar, we have had a homemade one since dd was 2 and this year I wanted to add things like this to it as she is now 7.
I love alot of your summer ideas.
Thanks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

I'm from Los Angeles. Because we are northern hemisphere, it is not summer, but we do enjoy warm weather. In fact, our mediterranean climate is more similar to the climate of Bethlehem than almost any where else in the world.

Many of your ideas apply to me. I love your mention of the service of lessons and carols from King's College! We always hold Christ-mass in the Stable, a service of lessons and carols based on the the service at King's College, in our backyard stable. We do ask a boy to sing Once in Royal David's City, as you mention.