Even though Christmas is only one day, it’s crazy to think about the millions of things the holiday season brings! To try to organize this hectic holiday, follow these 12 things to get you in holiday cheer!
DAY 1 ~ Decorate the House
As soon as “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” it is the time to unpack all of the Christmas decorations stored away! Take advantage of a nice December day when the Nebraska weather isn’t too unbearable and hop on the ladder and add lights to the house. Go shopping for the perfect tree, and decorate it with ornaments and lights that best describe your family. Start creating a fun holiday environment for the whole neighborhood to enjoy, and create a festive aura within your house that helps build the anticipation for the holidays!
DAY 2 ~ Get in the Mood
There is no shame in watching hours and hours of cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies, listening to 104.5 constantly, and reading some classic picture books. Now is the time to indulge yourself in everything Christmas, for Christmas would not feel the same without all the hype counting down to the actual holiday. Junior Jared Ott is not embarrassed of his Christmas jams, “The best Christmas song in the world is ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ by Mariah Carey, because even when it’s not Christmas I can always jam out to that song.” Join the craziness of the countdown to the holidays!
DAY 3 ~Watch Lights Twinkle
Throughout Nebraska at malls and popular hot spots, Christmas trees are lighting up all over the place! Here’s a list of fun Christmas tree lighting ceremonies and places to visit:
- Shadow Lake Tree Lighting Ceremony: November 21st, enjoy a parade at 6:30pm and see the Titan Band! After the ceremony there will be a fun fireworks shop
- Downtown Omaha Lighting Ceremony: November 27th at 5:30pm at the Gene Leahy Mall, there will be musical performances and a countdown led by major Jean Stothert
- ”Shepherd’s Lights” presented by Santa’s Woods: Opens November 29 for $5 in Blair. Never leave your car and experience a 30-minute drive through light display!
Try to avoid last minute shopping as much as you can; no one wants to experience the frantic stress of dealing with popular malls when there is very little time to buy the perfect gift. Plan ahead of time what to get your friends and family, and search for a heartfelt gift! Senior Max Hauze said.,“You can never go wrong with buying a Yankee Candle. They have so many different scents that will please anyone. You can give it to your family and friends. When I can’t think of something and I’m stumped, I go for a Yankee Candle.” For those with no intention of spending a lot of money, making a gift is always an option. Whether you’re buying your gift or making your gift, be a smart shopper by shopping ahead of time, avoiding the crowds, taking advantage of sales, and always thinking of what’s best for the recipient.
DAY 5 ~ Enjoy a Show
In honor of the season, many popular Omaha theaters produce entertaining Christmas shows for everyone to enjoy! Seeing a live show is a nice change from being entertained by screen, so go out there and get in touch with your theatrical roots and enjoy a show:
- The Nutcracker (Ballet Nebraska): Saturday, December 6, and Sunday, December 7, for $25-$60 at the Orpheum Theater
- A Christmas Carol (Omaha Community Playhouse): November 21 to December 23 for $36
- A Christmas Carol (PLSHS and PLHS Play Production): December 5 to December 7 at the PLSHS theater. To support your classmates, purchase your tickets at Titan Town or on Showtix4u.com. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizsens, and $4 for children
- A Christmas Story (Rose Theatre): December 5-28 for $20-$25
Christmas parties are a great way to spend time with friends and hand out gifts! Gift exchanges are always a blast, for you never know what you will receive. White elephant gift exchanges are always the most interesting. A white elephant gift exchange is when everyone brings something from home as a gift. Other fun holiday party games include Pin the Tail on the Reindeer, or hosting an ugly Christmas sweater contest. The possibilities are endless, and if you don’t host or attend a fun holiday party, at least enjoy a New Year’s party!
DAY 7 ~ Munch on Treats
One of the best parts about Christmas is the treats that come with it! Go purchase some candy canes, chocolate covered Santas, and pre-made Pillsbury Christmas sugar cookies. Buy a Gingerbread kit, get together with friends and decorate your house with the best candy imaginable. For those early mornings, stop by at Starbucks and enjoy one of their drinks from their holiday line. For those who are feeling adventurous, try Buddy the Elf’s classic breakfast recipe! All you need is spaghetti, maple syrup, sprinkles, marshmallows, chocolate syrup, and poptarts, all mixed together in one bowl!
DAY 8 ~ Ice-Skate with Friends
Bundle up in your sweaters and long socks and go ice-skating with a group of friends! Ice-skating is Hauze’s favorite thing to do in the winter, but he has strong opinions about the acivity, “Warning: do not do ice-skating trains. People will fall and people will get hurt.” Ice-skating is always a ton of fun with a group of friends, and don’t ever chicken out because you’re too afraid of slipping on the ice! Here are some great ice-skating hotspots:
- ConAgra Foods in Downtown Omaha- All $5 proceeds go to Food Bank for Heartland, skaters under 19 need a waiver signed by parent or guardian in order to skate
- Mahoney- $2 for admission, $3 for skate rental
- Ralston Arena- $5
DAY 9 ~ Bring out the Mistletoe
Dedicate a day of your winter break to having the perfect night out with that special someone.
There are many things to do downtown, with awesome restaurants, pretty lights, awesome food, and talented street performers. Senior Raina Watson describes the best way to end the date, “I’d want to go back to his house and watch movies and sit by the fireplace,” she said. The date possibilities are endless, but take advantage of the season and pull out some mistletoe and see if you can steal a few kisses!
DAY 10 ~Winter Wonderland
Depending on the bipolar Nebraska weather, who knows if we’ll be having a white Christmas? But when the snow falls, put on your winter coat and snow pants and take advantage of the fun fluffiness around you! There are so many snow activities to do—such as making snow men, snow angels, igloos, and participating in snowball wars with your friends. “I like building snow forts,” Hauze said. There are many places around Papillion to sled. Slide down the hills by the Titan practice football field or the hill by the police station. You could even drive out to Mahoney and sled out there! Once you suck it up and get over the cold weather, snow activities are always a blast.
It is easy for everyone to forget that the most important part of Christmas is to give rather than receive, but there are many options of giving to those in need in the holiday season. You can adopt a family for the Heartland Family Service, where you can donate money or gifts to provide for a family. You can go to ToysRUs and donate a toy for ‘Toys for Tots’. You can volunteer as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army by going to RingOmaha.org. Give to those in need so others can have an amazing holiday season.
DAY 12 ~ Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
No matter how old you are, you are never too old to set up for Santa’s arrival. If you have little siblings, make their night by helping them prepare for St. Nick. Set up a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa, and leave some carrots outside for the reindeer to munch on. Spend your Christmas Eve cherishing your night with the ones you love. “If you want to have a good Christmas, you have to be appreciative of everything that you have and not take anything for granted,” Ott said.