Free or Almost Free Things to do During the Holidays That Won’t Stress You Out

I don’t know about you but I am so over, stressing myself out because of Christmas. Worrying about the perfect gifts, the perfect meal, the perfect venue just guarantees your holiday is gonna be stressed.

To this day, I remember childhood Christmases where my mother was so intent on creating the perfect everything that she was utterly miserable by the time the day arrived. It still makes me sad that because she tried so hard to make Christmas wonderful for everyone else that she missed the joy herself.

Christmas is the time for family, fun, and reflection.

I offer the following ideas as some easy but fun and peace inducing activities to indulge in this holiday season.

Collect pine cones. They are everywhere. Even here in Southern California we have lots of pine trees. They come in all sizes, smell wonderful, are great fire starters for the fireplace, and make great elements in decorating and craft projects. Plus the walking in the cool air and doing something as simple as collecting pine cones will give your mind and body time to breathe and relax.

Tour the neighborhood for light displays. When the weather turns cold we tend to shelter inside and we tend to eat heavier foods too. Why not bundle up after dinner with the kids, a friend, or your special someone and do a little walking tour of the neighborhood lights. In my neighborhood, we have quite a few people who go all out and something about sparkling lights or entire Santa Workshops shining in the night makes the air feel magical. Plus you burn a few of those Christmas cookies off while you’re at it.

Baking parties/cookie swaps. I love the idea of baking parties and if you have a big kitchen or a friend has, that’s definitely something that can be fun do with some friends. Especially if you have a nice bottle of wine or mulled cider. But you can also work out a cooperative with friends and family. Instead of making all the many treats and dishes you make every year, get with some friends or family members and work out swaps. You make the sugar cookies, your sister makes the pumpkin loaves, your mom the jello mold and so on. It’s actually easier to make a lot of one thing that a little of a lot of things. And when it comes time to swap it’s fun.

Sign up for Book Bub or Instafreebie and get some free books to read by the fire. The colder weather also makes people slow down and want to curl up with a good book. Book Bub and Instafreebie (as well as other sites) are free to sign up for and you can choose from free and discounted books (from traditional best sellers to brand new indie authors) to download. All you need after that is some warm fuzzy socks and a mug of hot chocolate.

Christmas movie cooperative/marathon. Personally, I have a huge collection of Christmas movies and there is at least a few days during the holiday season that I want to just watch sweet Christmas movies. Work out a little lending library among friends and family to share your Christmas movies. Or just cook up some popcorn and hot chocolate and host a Christmas movie marathon. You can even make it a potluck.

Take winter photos. We’ve all seen them – those beautiful winter wonderland photos that all seem to possess some magic in them. Why not create some of your own? Grab your phone or your camera and just take a walk. Find something that strikes your eye and take few snaps at different angles. You get some fresh air, burn a few calories and come home with some possibly beautiful photos that you can use in holiday cards or as prints. Free online photo editing sites like Canva, iPiccy, and Pxlr can help you further enhance and design with your photos.

Share a little bit of yourself. I know I know, we’re all so busy with everything during the holidays but don’t forget your elderly neighbors or family members who can’t get out much. Offer to shovel their sidewalk. Make an extra batch of cookies or increase that soup recipe and bring it to a shut in or local shelter. Or offer to read at the community center or local library. Giving of yourself really costs so little and can mean so much to another person.

Advertisements

Which Story Would You Want to Read? (and some fun news)

After I complete the trilogy, I’ve decided I’m going to delve into some short fiction and at present have three ideas for stories. Below is the first (few) lines for each story. Would you do me a BIG favor and just let me know which story you would want to read based on those lines? I would really appreciate your input.

Story idea #1

“The truth was that I thought about killing him in his sleep every night—it’s just that somebody else beat me to it.”

Story idea #2

“Suddenly, I was her. The woman who could turn cold at the snap of a finger. Now my rage would do the talking. No more Ms. door mat. That. Was. Over. My need to kill consumed me.”

Story idea #3

“On his way to pick up Angel, Jesus stabbed Jack to death.”

You can tell me your choice in the comments below – and any thoughts you may have had about them as well, if you like.

And now for the FUN news…

I’m very excited to announce my book was just nominated for the 2017 Readers Choice Awards! If you would like to do me the honor of voting for it, you can do so here: https://www.tckpublishing.com/readers-choice-voting 

Just look for the slider for the various categories and find the Mysteries section.

Thanks in advance for your consideration.

Have a lovely and creative weekend.

Annie

Pen – Theme Friday

pen-bw, power of words, pen mightier than the sword

The pen presses to paper
which gobbles the ink
the travel is endless
the sights, divine
Reality doesn’t matter
borders have no meaning
Time plays no part
Identities slip on and off
like a bevy of party dresses
that flutter in a flurry of indecision

The pen is freedom
a voice of descent
That can pass through walls
small minds
the hulls of ships
the bars of prisons
the airwaves
virtual universes
prejudice and bias
skin color and class
wealth and poverty
Through gaping maws
and the eye of a needle.

Its cargo, ideas
opinions
imaginings
dreams
new points
from which to view
A flame
eternal and
hope everlasting

themefrilogo

Jess’s pen writes magical things here and

Christine’s pen is creating universes here