Making the Most of the Holiday Season
Create traditions with your family inspiring years of memories, laughter and anticipation.
The holidays are filled with parties, school projects, dance recitals and an endless list of gifts to buy. It can seem impossible to set aside time for things that matter. I often feel trapped with the things I have to do and the things I want to do get pushed to the back burner. As my kids have gotten older, things have only gotten busier! Despite the hustle, I have found ways to focus on my family and create traditions and memories that we enjoy every holiday season.
SIMPLIFY & START EARLY
I love a good checklist and nothing feels better than checking things off it! The biggest way to free up time getting close to the holidays is by starting in October and early November on the to-do list. I use a spreadsheet to organize holiday shopping and wrap everything as it arrives, typically wrapping about once a week. Getting this done throughout the holiday season means not rushing last minute and wrapping all night on Christmas Eve.
Simplify wherever possible! Look for ways to reduce what you do. I have so many wonderful neighbors, but as our area grew, it became impossible (and expensive!) to keep up with holiday gifts for everyone. One of our neighbors suggested we all take what we could afford and donate to charity instead! It was such a beautiful idea and simplified things for all of us. Be creative in ways to have an impact and reduce stress.
ENJOY THE PROCESS
When my daughter Paige was very young we started wrapping gifts together. Over the years it became a tradition to blast Christmas music, have a dance party and wrap presents. Paige gets so excited when the first gifts start to arrive and we can do our weekly wrap party!
Traditions are one of the best and easiest ways to create lasting memories and give your family something to look forward to. In our home, traditions have come about in many different ways. Some came from my family, some from my husband's and some were created by accident. Here are some of our favorite traditions and how we like to celebrate!
When our son Ben was just 3 years old, we decided to join in on the Christmas Eve pajamas tradition and give each family member new, cozy pj’s to wear that night. Ben was so excited to open a present before Christmas! He ripped off the paper and threw off the lid only to start crying hysterically. I asked him what was wrong and he said, “Pajamas?!?!? I HATE pajamas!!!” My husband looked at me like what did I expect giving our toddler pajamas as a “gift”.
The next year we learned our lesson and when we gave our children Christmas Eve pajamas, we made sure to include a fun toy inside with the pajamas. It has now become a family tradition that everyone gets a fun gift along with the cozy pajamas!
One year my husband wanted to give the kids a gag gift and decided that if Santa can come and drop off gifts to our home, then maybe the Grinch could too! He had so much fun tracking down the silliest gifts for each of the kids. My daughter loves Taylor Swift so “the grinch” brought her a Kanye West tee shirt! It was only meant to be a one-time thing, but our kids loved it so much they now ask every year what the Grinch will bring. Sometimes the best traditions happen by chance!
MAKE CHRISTMAS EVE & CHRISTMAS MEANINGFUL
Sometimes it is impossible to slow down before the holidays. Take full advantage of those days off to make an impact. Use your traditions, make delicious food, play games and watch holiday movies. Even a short amount of time can be magical.
I hope your holidays are magical this year. XOXO