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A Not-So Traditional Christmas

When I was younger, Christmas always held such excitement to me. I loved everything about the season, not just the presents. The first weekend after Thanksgiving was always the time we’d decorate, and we all had assigned roles in decorating the inside and outside of the house. I was usually in charge of handing my dad light clips while he climbed the ladder to the roof of the house while my mom and brother set up other decorations. Soon after that, my mom would start baking a million cookies, my brother and I would start searching for our gifts, and the holidays were officially upon us.

As we age, traditions change, as is inevitable. For me, Christmas got a little smaller. I still go see my dad’s side of the family on Christmas Eve, but on Christmas day it’s usually just me and my mom or the three of us when my brother joins us. My mom and I still bake cookies together because that’s a tradition we enjoy doing. We give them out to friends, neighbors, coworkers, and of course have a stash when my brother comes home for Christmas, even though he’ll say he doesn’t want to eat any. After we open the stockings and gifts, we’ll likely go to Christmas mass, then have some lunch, and go see a movie (this year it looks like it’ll be Little Women). The movie thing is only a few years old, when I was younger Christmas was all about playing with new toys we received. One year my brother and I got an air hockey table, that was a loud Christmas for my parents I’m sure. For some, these may not really seem like a traditional Christmas, while to others, some of these traditions are how they celebrate as well.

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Here’s the thing I’m learning about Christmas as we grow up. What is a “traditional Christmas” to one is completely different to someone else. Traditions can change, sometimes in ways that cause growing pains, other times in ways that make you wonder why you didn’t change them sooner. For some people, Christmas happens a week before the actual day. For others, it happens a week after the actual day. What makes it a traditional Christmas is that everyone is gathering together. Christmas is a time for family and friends to gather together, reflect on the year, look forward to the upcoming year, and most importantly, create memories together.

Whether you celebrate by going to the beach or building a snowman or having a Christmas movie marathon, your Christmas is traditional to you. If your family is not the kind to gather around the piano and sing Christmas carols, that’s ok, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a traditional Christmas, it just means your traditions look a little different. As long as you are with people you love, whether your family by birth or family by choice, that’s the most important part.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays! I hope no matter how you’re celebrating this year, that you’re surrounded by love and laughter.

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Let Go of the Perfect Christmas

As a society, we’ve pretty much had it drilled into us that we should have the perfect Christmas. The perfect tree, the perfect decorations, cookies, etc., y’all can see where I’m going with this. We all feel so much pressure at the holidays to have the perfect holidays and the perfect family photos, and really, it’s the little moments that aren’t perfect that make it so much better. Trying to be perfect can be draining, so it’s time to let go of the perfect Christmas that you see in magazines and Instagram.

So let go of the perfect Christmas and start enjoying the moments you have together. Don’t be stressing about having the house perfectly cleaned and decorated for your guests, because that’s not the important part. The important part is the time spent and the memories made together. Go look at Christmas lights or go out and try a restaurant’s holiday drinks together to celebrate the season. Enjoy the slightly crispy cookies that came out of the oven after a few minutes too long. Enjoy celebrating early or late, because you were able to get the time together, and really, the day isn’t important. Don’t stress about the party you’re throwing being “just right” because family and friends care about spending time together, not if the appetizers look like Grinch or reindeer.

Enjoy the Little Moments

The holidays are an absolutely insane time of year, and it can be overwhelming to run from the parties to the decorating to baking cookies. But the best way to handle things is to enjoy the little moments. Enjoy the moment where you and your family are just sitting quietly, all together around the Christmas tree. Enjoy the moments where you accidentally burned some cookies and are laughing about it after. Those are the moments you’ll hold onto for years to come.

Prepare Everything Early for Thanksgiving

Hey y’all one of my favorite holidays is coming up this week and are you ready? Whether you are hosting a bunch of family over for the day, traveling to be with others for the week or spending it on your own, you’ll want to start preparations early. For those hosting, that’ll start with doing chores one evening, the next making pies ahead of time, then preparing the stuffing mix, etc. If you split it up into a few tasks each evening leading up to the big day, you can enjoy the actual day of a little more without feeling so stressed out. For those of you traveling, the same thing applies! Pack your bags ahead of time, make sure your arrangements for your pets are done, get that rental car confirmed, and then make sure to take time to relax beforehand. Traveling can be super stressful, so take care of yourself and try to alleviate any extra stress that you can. For those who will be spending it on your own, prepare a smaller version of the big meal for yourself, and then find some time to relax. Whether you have to work Black Friday or are studying for a big test, get some of the other things done out of the way chore-wise so you can focus on that and not feel as stressed each day.

Take On Extra Work

I know, I know, y’all were not expecting me to suggest adding even more work onto your already full plates, but that’s exactly what this weekly tip is about. Taking on extra work in all areas of your life shows not only initiative, but it also shows a desire to get ahead and to make changes in your life.

So what does this take on extra work mean exactly? It could mean anything you want it to. For some, it’s asking for more responsibility at work, for others it could mean pitching in with household chores more. Take things on slowly, and see what you reap from it. You’ll never regret working hard.

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