I had a really great Christmas Day. In fact, it was nearly perfect. I say nearly perfect because it would have been perfect-perfect if we had seen more family. Or if we had snow. Or if Jesus had stopped by to do an Instagram Live from our house. But given the current conditions, I was happy to celebrate with my wife and 3 kids at home. For this category of celebration, I give my day a full 5 out of 5 Bethlehem stars.
This was an exciting holiday because it was the first Christmas in our new home. We moved into the house in September. It is the 5th house my wife Dawn and I have owned. And by Christmas Day not only did it feel like home, it felt like THE home we have been looking for the past 19 years. Which is a great reminder to keep looking for the places in life that make you feel most at home
The home was a great stage for a great day, but we still had to put on a great play. And we did. Our morning began with opening presents, like most Christmas Day celebrations. Then we enjoyed a donut and candy breakfast. We had coffee, cocoa and eggnog to help wash down the sugar with more sugar, Buddy Elf-style. I was a little afraid Wolford Brimley was going to show up to talk to me about diabetes.
Then came the most important part of what made yesterday so great. After breakfast, I asked Dawn, our kids Ava, Johann, Magnus a simple question:
‘What would we have to do today to make this a really great Christmas day?
The answers came quickly:
- Play Games
- Watch a Christmas movie
- Take a nap
- Enjoy some free time
- Go for a family walk
- Enjoy a nice family dinner (#HamNight)
- Go for a drive to look at Christmas lights
We had a good list. So we ordered the events, baked in some flexibility for the napping and free time, and then we started knocking off the things on our Christmas list.
The Recipe For A Great Day
We had literally written a recipe for a great day. Then one by one, we stirred in each of the ingredients. We spent the day enjoying a few of our favorite things, like Julie Andrews. Only we weren’t wearing our curtains.
The day ended with a great Christmas dinner, followed by a Christmas lights drive, and a family movie. The day was fun, funny and relaxing. We laughed a lot, even for us. We created new memories. And there was a very satisfying and enjoyable feeling of recreational productivity. Which is the feeling of making the most of your free time.
As a fun Christmas bonus, I had friends and family members from across the country share that they had received the new book I just published with Ripples Media called What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? I received really exciting feedback and photos of my book in homes from New England to Los Angeles, and from Atlanta to Oregon. So far no one has asked for a refund.
I went to bed about 11:30 pm feeling as if I had had the greatest day. Because we had envisioned a great day, designed it, and brought it to life. We made the most of our free time and enjoyed it together. As result, we finished the day feeling both happy and accomplished.
The Thing I Didn’t Do
As an interesting aside, there is one traditional Christmas activity I didn’t do yesterday. I didn’t open any presents. Not one. Dawn and I usually exchange our gifts after the kids have opened all of theirs. But our plan for the perfect day didn’t include our gift exchange. Oops. And by the evening we agreed to push our present opening to tomorrow, like Little Orphan Annie.
The Greatest Gift
My wonderful giftless Christmas was a great reminder that time spent together, making memories, doing our favorite free things, is the greatest gift of all. Well, that and the birth of tiny little 8-pound baby Jesus, who came for our eternal salvation. But you put those two things together and you have one heck of a holiday gift pack.
A great holiday doesn’t happen on its own. You have to make it happen. The same holds true of any workday, schoolday, or Saturday. To make the most of your days plan them. Envision your perfect day, then bring it to life. Do this day after day, and you will live the life you imagined.