December. The last month before the new year. It brings many gifts, both tangible and otherwise. We embrace traditions, celebrations, and draw close to loved ones. There are many reasons and ways to celebrate our twelfth month on the calendar. Some are tried and true. However, maybe there are some new customs you can add to your schedule of revelry this year.

Decide that, this year, you'll really deck the halls. That doesn't mean you have to spend a bunch of money. You likely have decorations you've not pulled out in awhile or maybe you're surrounded by natural elements you could bring inside as decor--evergreen branches, beautiful flowering plants, etc. Personally, those are my favorite kind. Make the decision that this year, you're going to spread holiday cheer throughout your entire home and/or office.

Obviously, celebrate with food. One of our favorite things about this time of year is all of the holiday baking. And hey--even if you tend to NOT be the resident baker or chef in your home, why not give it a try? Your friends and family will appreciate your efforts and really, it's the doing of it that feels so festive. The eating is just a bonus. ;)

If you are the chef of the family, try out some new recipes this year--you may find a new tradition. Make some recipes that are traditional in other countries. I personally love to make enchiladas on Christmas eve. But, you could also try making actual sugarplums rather than just dreaming about them. Christmas puddings, spicy creole shrimp, etc.

Pull out the holiday storybooks. Oh always a lovely tradition, reading A Christmas Carol by Dickens before your go holiday shopping is inspirational. Other suggestions could be The Polar Express, O. Henry's Gift of the Magi, or A Christmas Treasury, edited by Jack Newcombe.

Have a "Holiday Movie Night." By far, one of my favorite things to do during the season. Bonus points if you wear your PJ's and sip hot cocoa. There's are many go-to's from the Hallmark Channel's collection, "It's a Wonderful Life," "A Christmas Story," etc. But why not try one you've never seen before? OH, and "Miracle on 34th Street." LOVE.

Put on holiday music and invite a friend or a date over to bake cookies. Or anything, really. Sincerely, cooking with someone you like can be one of the most romantic things ever. Don't take it too seriously and just have fun.

Reflect back on your goals you set for the year. This is not a time to be critical of yourself if you didn't mark off and conquer every New Year's resolution you had set. It's a time to see what worked, where you found challenges, and re-work them so that you can begin again. It's about progress, not perfection. Often, the ones we haven't completed can teach us something important. Begin to wrap up the year's unfinished business and look forward to what's next.

What are some ways you like to celebrate this month? Share with the class! And...Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.