Janet Hommel Mangas: Christmas celebration to-do list

Maybe it’s been the unseasonably warm, blustery weather.

Or maybe it’s that the hubby and I have still been buying and planting trees for the first time in the month of December.

But I’ve been slow to get into the Christmas spirit this year — and yes, I know I should always have the true meaning of the holiday in my heart year-round, but you know what I mean.

We did make time to hit the Historic Artcraft Theatre to take in the nostalgic vibes and view “It’s a Wonderful Life” on the big screen. We were also blessed to watch the Broadway-quality Center Grove Choirs’ Holiday Show and the CG’s Orchestra Winter Gala — great job to all the students taking part, which included two of my nieces.

So, in the next seven days, I hope to partake in a few of our annual traditions:

1) Host our annual cousins’ Christmas craft-making, which took a hiatus last year for obvious world-wide health reasons.

2) Stroll the Garfield Park Conservatory with friends and family.

3) Maybe again attempt to make my Mom’s German raisin/cinnamon coffee cake, which come-to-find-out, is really Irish raisin soda bread.

4) Grab some fast food and drive around Johnson County to “ooh” and “ahh” over the Christmas lights.

5) Join my daughters in their new tradition of wrapping gifts at Shepherd Community Center, which aims to break the cycle of generational poverty. I may have to step-up my wrapping skills.

6) Play really loud Christmas music and get the ornaments on the tree. (The Christmas tree has been set up since Thanksgiving, but it currently only has lights and two large plastic, googly-eyes on it — it’s best not to ask questions.)

7) Attend Christmas Eve worship, followed by our seven-year tradition of Christmas Eve dinner with our daughters, son-in-laws and Rick and Denise Tillman.

I’m headed out now to join my Mom and sister, Jerri, to build a gingerbread house — I’m in charge of bringing my glue-gun, in case the icing doesn’t give a firm enough foundation for the graham crackers.

It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas.