I'm already thinking Christmas...
I'm not a last-minute Christmas gift shopper. But, I feel like I'm one of the masses each and every year. Between December 1 and 24 I'm out hurriedly shopping with the rest of America. It makes me angry, and it makes me nervous. I've done a couple of online only Christmases. But honestly I still don't like waiting until after Thanksgiving.
One answer would be to shop before Thanksgiving... That's a nice idea. I've noted before that once Santa shows up in his sleigh in the Macy's parade the world says: "ready set CHRISTMAS!!!" I like the idea of shopping before Thanksgiving.
A few years back, a woman from my church mentioned doing shopping before the Nativity Fast began.
The Nativity Fast is a 40 day period of fasting leading up to Christmas. It begins on November 15. During that time, Orthodox Christians spend more time in church for various services. The fast is not meant to be a time of celebration for Christians. It is meant to be a time of preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ. This explains why Orthodox people don't usually host parties during the fast. We celebrate for the 12 days following Christmas. It's a really sweet time of celebration.
It would only make sense to cover all of the duties that consume my time during the holidays before the fast begins. So, I made it my goal to finish all of my Christmas "To Do" list before the fast.
And, oh what a joy it has been!
I am ALMOST done with my Christmas shopping. I have to pick up one more present, although it has already been chosen. I bought supplies for my Christmas cards today. I also bought all of my wrapping supplies, and began wrapping the presents I have now. (I did a lot of online shopping, it wasn't as hard for me because I'm not worried about things not coming in on time.) I'm waiting on the bulk of the presents to arrive.
Tonight I made 26 bars of orange zest and clove soap to give as presents. That's taken care of...
What's so interesting is that I'm not really in a Christmas mood yet. You would think that I'd be drinking peppermint hot chocolate and listening to my (very guilty pleasure) Mariah Carey Christmas CD. But no. Even though, I know that I won't be able to drink hot chocolate in a few weeks due to the "no dairy" rule of the fast. No. I'm simply overjoyed to be almost done with the things that take me away from focusing on the fast each year.
Now, I get to focus on:
- Decorating my apartment for my very first Christmas in my own place!
- And baking. Yes, I'll be freezing most of the goodies to enjoy when the fast is over. But, I do have a great fasting (vegan) recipe for gingerbread cutout cookies. I now have time to make plenty of those.
- And to plan for St. Nicholas day festivities. Ladies, I think a gingerbread cookie decorating party for the kids sounds like a good plan...
- Oh, and I really want to have a St. Stephen's day celebration this year (Dec. 27.)
Oh wait, I'm already forgetting the reason why I shopped early.