Redefining Holiday Magic

This year has been a little rough and bittersweet. On the rough side, my family lost an important member quite suddenly and we are still trying to figure out how to deal with the open space he left. On the bittersweet side, my oldest started college and no longer lives at home full-time. And, my youngest started high school so there are no more wide-eyed children waiting on Santa to come. I’m left looking for new traditions or things to try so that this whole staring-down-an-empty-nest thing isn’t so daunting.

I’ve been digging around the internet looking for ideas, so maybe some of these would be helpful for you too.

One thing that will not change (this year at least) is the annual creation of a gingerbread house on Christmas Eve.

The girls have done this for a number of years. Their creations have become much more artistic and their cooperation level has increased greatly over the years. And, I am sure that our black lab, Lily, will enjoy trying to counter surf, knock this off the table, and lick off all the frosting much like our beloved Annie and Henry did in the past.

This is also a tradition I could see continuing even when the girls grow up and come to visit on the holidays with their own families. I definitely know I missed coloring Easter eggs with my cousins once I grew up and moved away–and I am not always the most committed to doing that activity in my own house. But this? It’s an awesomely fun project. Usually, you can pick up a kit for $10 or less. I have even seen kits at CVS this year, so have at it and see what the young people you celebrate with can do.

A new activity I am trying this year is the December Daily. Granted, I may be assembling my album on Christmas Eve while the girls work on their gingerbread house, but I definitely like the idea of this project and I’m determined not to let it stress me. The project appeals to me for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is my gigantic stash of scrapbook supplies lingering in a chest in my bedroom. But, moreover, I like the idea of the family sharing stories of their days, determining what we want to put in the album, and then having these memories to revisit in the future. I have even imagined sharing these albums with new family members (maybe the girls’ spouses someday, or even their children) and remembering all the days that make up the holidays. There is a Facebook group for this project–lots of very talented folks sharing stories and beautiful layouts–which I enjoy looking at every now and then.

I have posted some other fun projects and ideas on the Facebook page I maintain for my Scentsy business. I try to post ideas every day around 10:30. Lately, I’ve found some good ones. Everything from a Christmas simmer pot to make your house full of the scents of the season to a blog post that catalogs 25 recipes for cookie exchange fun. Granted, cookie exchanges are a little above my holiday mojo level, but I like having a variety of cookie ideas available for any number of reasons. It’s a good one to bookmark.

I think the main thing I am trying to accomplish this holiday season is to enjoy it. No lie. Holidays can be so frustrating and overwhelming–especially if you are the designated social calendar secretary, the gift buyer for all recipients, the card sender, and the main gift wrapper. This year, I may be drafting some recruits into new roles and working in some holiday magic at home to replace the thrill of when the girls were small.

I say this with the knowledge that my tree has not been purchased and/or removed from its box in the garage, that my door has not been adorned with an evergreen wreath, and I still have gift-giving to-dos on my list. BUT, I also have actually bought SOME gifts and given some thought to the 25th prior to the 20th…and that’s new.

So, let’s agree that we are going to do at least THREE things we WANT to do this holiday season–whether it’s spending time with people we actually want to see, but never do or sitting alone in a coffee shop watching the snow fall while everyone else is scurrying. Maybe you will even devise some extra giving activities to help you feel the holiday warmth spread in your heart.

What will YOU commit to do this season? Tell me comments–I want to know!

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