It is only a few short weeks until Christmas and as I ponder about how to make this year’s event merry and bright, I thought I would share my ideas with you.

Be kind. I know this seems to be a no-brainer. But seriously, be kind and respectful to others. When you are out shopping, realize that everyone else is in a rush, too. Take a deep breath, smile at others and say, “Excuse me and thank you.” These words and actions can go a long way in making someone’s day.

Finish what you started. So now you have finished your shopping and taken your packages to the car. Don’t leave your cart just anywhere in the parking lot; put it away in the cart corral. We live in Phoenix, land of 300-plus days of sunshine, is it that difficult to put your carts away? You aren’t trudging through the snow and ice of the Midwest; it is a few extra steps — just finish what you start.

Buy a coffee. Mmmm, that Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks sounds delicious doesn’t it? When you are in line to purchase your Venti Peppermint Mocha, why not pay for someone else’s just because? Who knows, they may pay it forward the next time they are in Starbucks.

Bring a treat. Why not share your world famous sugar cookies with others? If you don’t work in an office, why not share a plate full of home baked goodness with residents of a care facility?

Give to the homeless. Pick up some gallon-sized Ziploc bags and fill them with everyday necessities — toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, granola bars and a gift card. These small gifts will make someone’s day.

Take in all the holiday spirit. People, churches, schools and more go to a lot of work decorating and performing during this holiday season. Take your children, neighbors, friends and more to see the Christmas lights, stroll through neighborhoods and enjoy each other’s company. Many churches and schools are putting on musical performances, usually free or for very little cost. Go see the shows, sing the songs and be filled with joy.

Cook a meal. Invite your family and friends over for a meal, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a time to relax, catch up and have fun.

Christmas game night. Another night full of friends and family to play games, laugh and have fun. Our tradition is to play dice games for “White Elephant” gifts. We have a lot of fun and the gifts are usually quite creative.

Sing the music. I love Christmas music; it is my favorite time of year with all the different versions of “White Christmas,” “Silver Bells,” and more. I listen to it all the time.

Have a fire. If you have a fireplace or fire pit, now is the time to use it. Light up a log, pour yourself an eggnog or Tom and Jerry, give the kids some hot chocolate and sit by the fire. There is something so relaxing about sitting around a fire.

Watch a movie. You must have at least one holiday movie that you love. Take time to watch it. If you have kids or grandkids, watch one of their favorites with them. For me, my favorites are “The Grinch Stole Christmas,” “National Lampoons Christmas Vacation,” “Elf,” and many more.

Be a Christmas Angel. Every year, my boys and I pick a tag from our Angel tree at church. I let them look through the tags and decide on a child. We then head to Target to buy the gift. It is a great opportunity to talk about the less fortunate. It is a great lesson to be taught.

Don’t stress. This is easier said than done, but try to relax and enjoy the moments. If the Christmas cards don’t get sent until January, it is no big deal. If you forgot to make Aunt Junes Fruit Cake this year, it is OK, take the time to be thankful for the health and happiness that surrounds you.

I hope your holiday season is merry and bright and I would love to hear what makes it special in your household.

• Leah Derewicz is a 15-year Ahwatukee Foothills resident. Reach her at

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.