Keep That Holiday Cheer All Season Long; Less Stressed

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Maybe it’s just me (I doubt it), but stress during the holiday season is inevitable. There is so much you want to do in just a few short weeks. Decorate the house, cut down a tree, visit Santa, see Christmas lights. Trying to fit everything in can make you feel overwhelmed and sometimes we lose sight of the really meaning of the holidays.

This holiday season, I really want to slow it all down and soak up all the memories I create with my family so I’m trying to kick the stress out the door.

Here’s how:

Start Early. Who cares if you have your tree up before Thanksgiving, or your house is decorated right after Halloween. That just gives you more time to enjoy the holiday season before you take everything back down and get ready for spring. Decorating early means more time do the fun things, like drive around and see Christmas lights or snuggle up and watch Christmas movies.

I’ve realized that decorating early diminishes the stress of trying to quickly get everything up the weekend after Thanksgiving. I’d rather spend that time with my family.

Keep A List. My planner goes everywhere with me. Whatever I want to do during the holiday season, I write it on my calendar, so I don’t forget or overbook.

I also make sure to keep a list of everything my children see on TV that they want Santa to bring (so I can tell him of course!). List help me remember ever, because I am the queen of forgetting and stressing over how to fit everything in.

Rest Up & Pace Yourself. Nobody wants a Grouchy Grinch during the holidays. Make sure you get your rest. Don’t stay up until the crack of dawn wrapping presents. Take one or two, wrap those and do more the next night, hence the pace yourself.

Sleep is crucial for lowering stress, even when it’s not the holidays, so imagine not getting enough sleep this time of year.

Care A Little Less. Who cares if your gift wrapping doesn’t look perfect, the get ripped open anyway. Who cares if your decorating is not as good as your neighbors, you decided to spend that time with family. Who cares if your ornaments don’t match on the tree, your kids helped decorate it.

Just because something isn’t the way you expected it to be at first, who cares! The joy and happiness will still be there.

Your Family Photo’s Don’t Need To Be Perfect. I’ve learned to be real with my photos. There’s about a 13% chance that I’m going to get my children to smile together in a photo, and probably a 2% chance that my daughter won’t cry on Santa’s lap.

Let’s be real, if I was only 2 I’d think a big man with a white beard and a red suit was scary too. I’m not going to get myself worked up because the photos weren’t ‘picture perfect’. I’ll just laugh it off and hope for the best next year.

Gift Cards Aren’t A Bad Gift. I remember always saying that I hated giving gift cards as a gift because they won’t be as fun to open. I would stress trying to find the ‘perfect gift’ for every person I bought for.

But in all reality, gift cards are the perfect gift. You can use that little card to pick out your own perfect gift after the holidays and be happy as can be. Now-a-days, that’s what I’d prefer to receive.

 

Enjoy your holiday season!

 

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Holiday Traditions You Don’t Want To Miss Out On With Young Kids.

This holiday season I am really starting to focus on traditions I want to start with my little ones. My son is almost 5 and daughter almost 2. There are so many neat traditions floating around, and I wanted to share a few that I’ve come across that I have already started or will be starting with my family.

Family time and memories are cherished by me. Of course, I like to create memories all year long but there is a different vibe during the holiday season. The cold weather, the holiday music, the holiday movies, snuggling up on the couch while it’s snowing. It just gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Let’s not forget the Starbucks holiday drinks that keep me from becoming a mombie all season long because we all know we stress over making the holiday season perfect for our kiddos.

Okay, so let’s get started. I’m the type of person who tries to enjoy Thanksgiving before I go all out for Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll decorate early, but I want my kids to learn and understand the true meaning of Thanksgiving also. Not just go straight to wanting toys from Santa… but sometimes that inevitable. Let’s be real. But hey, a mom can try, right?

Thankful Pumpkin. I started this back in October. I bought each child a small, plastic pumpkin to list what they are thankful for on. Each day we write one thing we are thankful for and on Thanksgiving we will display them on the dinner table for all family and friends to see. I’ve really enjoyed this, and some of the words that have come out of my sons mouth about what he is thankful for his too cute.

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Ever since I was a young girl, I always sat and watched the parade while my mother prepped and prepared Thanksgiving dinner. The floats, the dancers, the music. I was glued for hours. It’s a fun way to start off Thanksgiving Day. In between cooking, my mom would come and watch some with me while we talked about our favorite floats. It’s something I’ll never forget, and I hope my kids won’t either. I’m 27 and still love watching the parade to this day.

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Breaking the Wishbone. Usually, with the wishbone you make a wish and whoever breaks the bigger piece their wish would come true. Hence the ‘wish’ part. My brother and I were always the ones to break it together. We mainly used it as bragging rights because we all know one sibling needs to be the winner with everything. It’s an exciting way to end a fun filled day. Plus, I always believed my wishes would come true when I broke the bigger piece… and I still do today.

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Cutting Your Own Christmas Tree. I am SO excited to start this year. My parents always bought a real Christmas tree for my siblings and I during the holiday season. We wouldn’t let them buy a fake one until we were old enough. But seriously, who doesn’t love the smell of a fresh cut pine tree in your home?! That’s one of my favorite scents. Now that both kids can walk, we are going to cut down our own this year and I can’t wait! Now I might regret the watering every day and the pine needles constantly falling, but my kids are going to love it just as much as I did as a child. Plus, it’s an awesome way to create memories and have some family time.

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Bake Homemade Cookies. My mother is the queen of making homemade cookies from scratch. Still to this day, she makes batches and batches of fresh chocolate chip cookies and I am always right by her side helping her. When I was younger, it was licking the spoon and eating her dough. Today, it’s helping her every step of the way while my kids eat the dough. I definitely want to keep this tradition going until my children are old enough to share it with their children. My mother always hid them from us also so we didn’t demolish them in less then a week. I’ll be doing that also. Maybe stash them in my room, so I can sneak one or two. 😉

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Donate Old Toys. My kids are spoiled. Honestly, who’s child isn’t? They have piles and piles of toys in their room, the living room, everywhere! They can never seem to have enough. Well now, we decided every year before Santa comes visit we are going to donate our old toys to places where they will be used. The kids are learning that Santa won’t come unless they share old toys that they don’t play with, because they need to make room for the new ones. Plus, it can help other young kids who don’t have many toys enjoy their holiday season.

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Go See Christmas Lights. One of my all time favorite things to do. We are fortunate enough that our area has SO many places to visit during the holiday season. We always visit a place called Christmas Magic and we take one evening to drive around our area to look at all the drive thru lights. I am grateful for the people who go all out during Christmas, because my kids LOVE looking at lights. They are always amazed by it. My son now reminds me that we must go see Christmas lights before Christmas day. It’s certainly a favorite of his.

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Christmas PJ’s and A Movie. On Christmas Eve, my little ones get to open one present. It’s always their Christmas PJ’s and a movie. My oldest is now catching on to the tradition and he’s already pointing out certain pajama’s that he would like for Christmas night. Once they are opened and dressed, we snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie before bed. We also sneak in some hot chocolate and a peppermint crisp or two, then we pour some milk and leave some cookies for Santa when we’re done.

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Santa Tracker. Now-a-days it’s so much easier to track Santa. Us adults download the app on our smartphone and the kids can check on where he is at. My kids really enjoy doing this and it’s a good way for them to learn other locations in the world. For an awesome mom tip, download the Santa FaceTime app. The kids think they are FaceTiming Santa and he helps them stay on the nice list because Santa is watching. Mom win!

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There are so many more holiday traditions I would like to try. This time of year is my favorite and spending quality time with my family means to most to me. I’d love to hear what you have in store this holiday season.

I hope you have an awesome one.

 

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One Successful Christmas

Another Christmas has come and gone in the blink of an eye. With all the stress and anxiety finally over, it was all worth it. My babies were in all their glory on Christmas morning. Of course, with me being that ‘crazy’ mom, I spent about fifteen minutes figuring out the perfect way to sit the presents under the tree. I don’t lie when I say my husband probably thinks I’m crazy. We obviously knew they would just get torn open in the morning. But that’s what this Momma does. That’s what make me feel satisfied. I went through all the madness of shopping and wrapping. You better believe they will get laid just perfectly.

Funny thing with yesterday morning was my husband, the kids grandparents, and I were up before both the kids. Around 7:30-8 we decided to finally wake them up because I couldn’t wait any longer. I never thought watching your kids open presents on Christmas morning would be more enjoyable then when you actually received all the gifts. Seeing my kids faces light up when then opened their gifts not only gave me a sigh of relief because they were so happy, but I sat there thinking “Yup, I did that, I made my kids that happy”. I tell you, it’s one good feeling.

Of course Liliana wasn’t understanding the whole ‘Santa came’ thing this year, but she definitely enjoyed tearing up some paper and seeing her toys. Kyle on the other hand was absolutely hilarious. Just about every gift he tore open was followed by a “Whaaaaaat no way, mom look as this” or “Mom! Santa did good”. I really need to start recording his reactions so when he’s older I can embarrass him to his friends and girlfriends (I’m totally going to be that mom). One moment that truly melted my heart was that Kyle was willing to take time to help his little sister. He handed her presents, helped her open them, and showed her all of her gifts. It was the sweetest thing I’ve ever witnessed.

One thing I’ve learned about Christmas Day is don’t forget to have batteries! I’m so relieved we had plenty this year so all the toys were able to work properly. I forgot them last year and that was a total mom fail. Within the course of an hour after gift opening, Kyle had about 80% of his gifts up and running. I’m pretty sure my fingers are about to fall off from all the twisting, snapping, and box opening I was doing. But that’s what motherhood is all about, exhausting yourself so your kids are happy. With all the gift hiding, traveling, and eating terribly I’m ready to get back on track for the new year. I’m already excited for next year though.

I hope yours was just as great as mine was!

It’s Christmas Eve Ya’ll!

 

Now being a mother, I look forward to the holiday season every year! Of course, I’m going to be MIA tomorrow so I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas now! Tonight, we’re going to my cousin’s house to celebrate with my father’s side of the family. Kyle is so excited to go because all his cousins will be there and he can’t wait to give them their presents he helped wrap. He’s getting the Maui hook tonight from his Aunt & Uncle, so he is going to go crazy! Then on Christmas, the kid’s grandparents come up to our house super early, and we all open presents together from Santa. I am so blessed that the kids have such involved grandparents, where they don’t want to ever miss a thing.  I am a big family person, so I soak up every moment that everyone is together, because it doesn’t happen too often.

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What are your kids into this year? My son is all Paw Patrol. I’m also positive about 95% of his gifts are those cute little pups. He’s getting the Sea Patroller, The Life Size Lookout Tower, and every pup to go with it. Then let’s not forget the Hatchimal (thanks Nana!). To be honest, I’m kind of excited for this toy. I remember as a kid, we had the Tamagotchi’s and Furby’s. I LOVED those. Granted my mother had to take care of it half of the time so it didn’t die which I’m sure I’ll be doing the same, but he’s going to be SO excited when he opens it. Did I mention it’s the twins?! Let’s start his parenting skills early, so maybe he can see how much work us mothers do!

My Lilly Bear is easier this year. She’s at that age where it’s mainly learning toys, but it’s her first Christmas so I’m super excited! I am starting a tradition with her involving Disney Princesses, so she’ll be getting a few of those this year from her MomMom. I’m really excited for what I’m doing, so I’m sure I’ll share it once she’s a little older and we start! Besides that, she’s getting her first Barbie, along with some baby dolls. Her Nana is getting her a ride on car, so I’m sure she’ll enjoy sitting on that. I take her to a place called ‘Tumble Town’  often in York, and she could sit on the cars for hours. If she’s moving around, she’s happy. My girl doesn’t stop for nothing. She’s going to have an awesome First Christmas.

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Tonight, we’ll be sure to put our Christmas PJ’s on, watch some Christmas cartoons, leave out some cookies and milk for Santa… or should I say some beer & wine for Santa and Mrs. Claus 😉 and get a good night’s rest because we all know we’ll be up at the crack of dawn!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope it’s a great one!

XO