Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Making Memories Without Stressing!

The months of October, November and December can be crazy! Who am I kidding?  They are crazy. And if we are being really honest here, the craziness starts way back in August when you have to prepare for your kids to go back to school. 

Then its a race to get Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving preparations, and a marathon of trying to be Super Mom/Dad. Many parents want desperately to make the month of December special, meaningful and memorable. 

Moms and Dads work hard.  Whether you are a stay at home mom or a working mom.  You work HARD!!

And then there is social media. Which blows up during the holidays.  It seems as if every woman out there has been gifted with whatever gene Martha Stewart possesses. This inaccurate depiction only serves to make us feel like inadequate failures. Because our children of course, will think they had tragic childhoods if they aren't making something out of fingerprints once a week.  {insert sarcasm}
{not my house}

And lo the therapy sessions in their future if you don't make homemade, scented, vegan, paleo, play-dough!!! I am royally screwing up my children!!

I don't even venture into the play dough world anymore. It was to save my sanity.  And it was worth it y'all.

My guess would be that your children feel special. Regardless of how much or how little you do.  And it may be, that if we are trying to cram in every, single, "must-do" Christmas activity, that our children may also be feeling stressed too. 

In my home, we have 3 birthdays that surround Christmas. December 18th, December 30th and January 6th.  Ouch. Seriously.  So I have the added treat of feeling like I am not doing enough to make the birthdays special enough and separate from Christmas. 

Its not my fault I was super fertile in MARCH!  I'm so sorry kids!!
So here is my super simple, inexpensive approach to December.  I hope it helps you.  Take one idea. Take no ideas. Whatever works for you.

Christmas Tree Decorating-
When I was a child, my parents bought their kids a new ornament, that was meaningful for that year. I carry on this tradition with our kids.  The night that we decorate the tree, I either make or buy cookies. This year is was Oreo's year to shine with festive red dye. We are in the midst of moving out of the country, so Oreo's it was.  And did my kids care that I didn't make homemade cookies?? Not for a moment.  To kick up the specialness a notch, I put the cookies on a red platter, with little glasses of eggnog, as per tradition. Then I simply turned on some Christmas music and voila! Memories galore. They got to open their 2013 ornament, and we snapped a few pictures, done.


Martha I am not.  I have a few tubs of Christmas decorations that I have been collecting over the last 11 years.  Usually on clearance after Christmas.  That is THE very best time to get decorations.  My kids LOVE helping to decorate. Am I a little particular about where I want things? Sure.  But it means more to my little loves, to be allowed to get involved.  And now they remember every year, and get so excited about putting things in the same place every time.


Christmas Movies-
I love Christmas movies.  Again, this is something we did when I was a child. For me snuggling up in a big pile of people with a quilt and watching movies together is THE BEST!  To make it extra special I throw in some popcorn, turn down the lights, call it "Christmas Movie Night" and my kids think I rock.  This year I added in a simple Grinch Punch that I found on Pinterest and low and behold I turned into Super Mom!!

         Favorites: White Christmas
                           Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas and sequel Twice Upon A Christmas
                           Holiday Inn
                           The Santa Clause
                           Prep and Landing                           
                          Muppets Christmas Carol
Love This One. Not sponsored. Just love it.
Whatever you do, if you are feeling overwhelmed, pulling your hair out, or just not finding any joy in the happiest season of all.... take a step back.  Simplify. Your kids will remember a smiling, relaxed mom and dad, much more than the activities.
Tomorrow I will share with you some super easy, inexpensive decorating ideas!
What is your favorite tradition??
Oh! And if you are looking for a gift for someone out there still, just check out my previous post.  You can buy one of our shirts, and make your person feel great that the money went towards some crazy missionaries!

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