I’ll be the first to admit that I LOVE the holidays. The Hallmark commercialized sector of it all, in addition to the sentimental meaning behind it. I love holidays. That said, I’m taking a year off from “doing it all.”  I’m only doing things that truly bring me joy, not things that look good on my Facebook newsfeed. {And let’s be honest, post-election, am I the only person ready to deactivate my account and hide from the Facebook universe?? Eh. I can’t take the negativity and criticizing insults.}

Because I’m the mom of three young children, when I say “only doing things that bring me joy,” I of course mean doing things that bring our children joy and with the minimal amount of meltdowns possible.’  Such is the life of a mom.


So… what are we holding to a high standard this year?

Finding our Family Christmas Tree
There is something so rugged and traditional about walking into a wintery forest to pick out the perfect tree. While visions of National Lampoons Vacation dance in my head, the nostalgia of Christmas pasts comes flooding to me and overwhelm me with a sense of need. This is something that we look forward to each year…. And did I mention there is sometimes fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, warm cider, kid crafts and sleigh rides with Santa at a local spot??

Christmas Village
Oh, Christmas Village, such a love/ hate relationship we share. You are packaged in so many boxes, you take up so much space in the offseason, you take SO long to set up. Yet once you are set to go, you’re amazing. You’re beautiful, you sparkle, you sing, you hold memories of my past, my present, and my future. My kids love and cherish you. You are the most loved part of their winter decorating. This is more for the kids than me, but the Christmas Village (and all of it’s intricate parts) is here to stay!

Driving around to look for Christmas Lights
Christmas Lights fill my bucket. They recharge my battery. They make my soul happy. At the first green and red twinkle, I’m transformed to my childhood. I’m sitting in the backseat of my parents’ red Buick, between my brothers, cruising the square in Fairfield, Iowa looking at the lights. I can still hear the carols, see the bright lights, smell the candy canes, feel the coldness against my cheeks as we walked to Santa’s North Pole and taste the hot chocolate that Mrs. Claus handed out with her cheerful smile and warm hugs. Christmas Lights = My Childhood. I so love watching my children ooooooooh and aaaaaaaah each year.

Christmas Movies… LOTS of Christmas movies.
Pajmas + Couch Cuddling + Christmas Movies = PERFECT. A little bit of popcorn never hurt a good movie either.

Grandma Gott’s Homemade Hot Chocolate

Dear Grandma Gott,
Although we don’t know your physical touch, the sound of your laugh, or the scent of your Tide filled clothing, we love you an immense amount. We have heard so many stories about you, and we have watched the pictures and videos of your love for us. We are sad you aren’t here in the earthly sense to spoil us rotten around the Christmas tree, but we’ve heard that Christmas was your favorite holiday. One thing that we can tangibly touch of yours is your infamous Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe. YUMMMM!
Your Grandkids That Love You (and your hot chocolate)


What are we skipping out on this year?
{Or at least I vow not to go Bat Sh*t Crazy
(which is a serious “mom-condition,” by the way) if it doesn’t work out.}

Stuffy Holiday Outfits for church
I won’t let my kids show up in sweats for holiday services, but does the entire congregation REALLY need to matchy match in hues of reds, blacks & whites? NO. Will my family possibly provide the only splash of purple? YES. Will we get escorted out the back door because of this? I HOPE NOT.

Forced “smiling” pictures in front of the Christmas tree
Yes, I will try. Come on, I am a mom who loves photos. But I will not threaten to cancel Christmas, nor will I pull out the “I’m going to call Santa right now and tell him to put you on the naughty list if you don’t take this picture!!!!!” card. When asked if I’ve said or done either of these things in previous holidays, I will politely smile and plead the fifth. Remember that mom condition I mentioned earlier of Bat Sh*t Crazy? Let’s just say holidays tend to see an increase in symptoms.

Pottery Barn Christmas Spread
I’m not going to go to the extreme of microwaving hot dogs to show that I don’t have to “go over the top” for holidays, but do I need to bring out my fine China and put sides on decorative platters? It’s just the five of us this year on Christmas day, and something tells me that tiny humans under the age of 7 don’t care about china, other than the always exciting option of breaking it and watching mom go BSC (see medical condition mentioned above).