Holiday happiness and quirky traditions
These days, when we think of the holidays, we think more of how we’re going to fit it all in, versus how we’re going to take the time to enjoy it. But we should. No, we must enjoy. It is after all the only real time we have in any given year to stop and breathe, and to stop and reflect – wouldn’t you agree? Some years ago, a friend of mine gifted me a great little book, called Let’s Bring Back, by Leslie MM Blum. This book has become somewhat of a talisman – not only because its focus is on all of the very fabulous traditions we’ve somewhat lost from our grand past, but more importantly, because in this day and age – precisely because of all the craziness and chaos – it’s what we should refocus on.
Let’s lose a little bit of the ticking the box. Let’s lose a little bit of the must have this, or must have that. In my mind, holiday happiness comes from quirky little traditions that you start on your own or with your kids that slow down time and keep us enjoying all the hours we can while away during those precious days off. Turnstyle has these recommends to help you do that (and I highly recommend you reading Let’s Bring Back too).
Pile on the pillows and pop the popcorn…for your tree!
Get cozy on the couch with lots and lots of down filled pillows (holds up much better than synthetic and way better to sink yourself into) and grab the kids and the popped popcorn. With feet up and holiday music playing, this is a great time to make a homemade tree garland. A fun bonding experience, it teaches your kiddos how to use needle and thread – albeit it with parental supervision – and helps them slow down and contribute to your décor. We love to each make our own, so that each of us can personalize it (sparkle paint or neon goes well) and our own special contribution to the tree. This cost effective, simple activity will help you lose yourself nicely in a much more relaxing day.
Create a spot for card viewing.
This has got to be everyone’s favorite time for snail mail, no?! I mean, finally we can open the mailbox to something other than a bombardment of catalogs. Well, for a long time, I loved receiving those lovely holiday cards, but noticed them simply piling up after their first view. Seems silly considering people put so much time and money into their creation these days, so at my house, we create a new “card spot” each year. Each time we try to think of a newly creative way to display them – sometimes we repeat what we’ve done in years past, but the main objective is to ensure a beautiful spot where you and your guests can see the lovely faces of friends and family, prompting a conversation on “how’s is so and so” and “what are they doing now”. Here are some favorites that we’ve created.
Enter the game ‘Chopped’.
With my kiddos being almost tweens, we love a good marathon round of our own version of the television show chopped. Since I usually serve as the judge – I find 4 ingredients from the pantry and challenge the kids to a round of some holiday themed result. Regardless of what usually somewhat gross-tasting thing they devise from the mismatched ingredients I have chosen, they come up with incredibly creative things. And more importantly, their enthusiasm for helping in the kitchen and new found respect for alternative foods, helps out perfectly as we get into all that holiday cooking.
Granted this is our first (and very late) year of doing Elf on a Shelf, we have always done a beautiful home-made advent calendar. Long ago, I got the idea to take little buckets and fill them with various goodies for this endeavor. Now each year, I enjoy coming up with a creative way to newly display them and each year my children look forward to seeing what I have come up with. The treats inside needn’t be crazy – we usually do a chocolate here, a pencil eraser there – but the excitement I get from my children each morning as they get up for those last school days, is worth it every time.
I must say, as I write this, I can see how much I enjoy these traditions as much as they do.
Happy holidays to you and yours! xLS