2020 Can we say “ What The Heck Is Happening?”
How do we even plan for the holidays in the midst of this COVID-19 insanity? A whole list of adjectives come to mind describing this year, but none do it justice. The HOLIDAYS are my favorite time of the year. September through December are my jam. Fall, Winter, and Christmas fill my soul for the rest of the year.
So how do we do the holidays this year with all this uncertainty? The economy sucks, the political climate is uncertain. But one thing for sure is that we can rock the holidays in 2020. The secret is...wait for it...BACK TO THE BASICS.
This year more than any other we need to remember what is most important to us about the holiday season. Is it time with family? Is it experiences? Is it making memories? Is it the gifts? Is it the spirit of Christmas/Hanukkah or what you celebrate?
A Few Of My Favorite Things
Cue the music in your head. Now, take a day or weekend and write down what is most important to you. Have your spouse/partner do the same. If your children are old enough they can contribute to the list. Reflect on those moments during the season that truly brings smiles to your face, warms your heart, and is what you remember most from past holidays.
For me, it is family time and the magic of Santa. I remember when I was 7 and I really wanted to see Santa on Christmas eve. It was all about catching him in the act. We were living with my grandmother and I was sure Santa would not know how to find me. I pretended to be asleep and then I snuck outside, (we were in Florida, so it wasn't cold) I hid under an orange tree and watched the sky like a hawk. Hmm, it was nighttime, maybe I was an owl. Anyhoo, after what seemed like forever, I heard bells. I looked at the street and there was Santa in an old pick-up truck driving by and I swear he winked at me.
From that day forward I was obsessed with Santa. It was such a magical experience. I kept it a secret and you are the first person with whom I have shared it. And so began my love of sharing the magic of Christmas with others.
Prioritize your list. It may just be one item or you may have many on your list. Choose the top 3. These are what you are going to fulfill for you and your family. I'm not clairvoyant so I can't say what is on your list, but I know that 2020 has thrown us a curveball and so let’s go with the flow and follow these tips on how to make your list a reality.
Do it early!!! I cannot say this enough, you must start early. From shipping to product production to scarcity, we have seen delays in every area of commerce. Even if you are focusing on memories this year, you need to worry about these things.
The truth is you are going to want to give a gift of some type, have a special meal, or make something together. Remember the toilet paper shortage? Well, we have plenty of that now, but with manufacturers focusing on PPE and essential items, some of our favorite holiday items may be hard to source.
I am all about making life easier! Parenting is hard work. If someone can make it easier then grab on and don’t let go.
Crafting is a passion of mine. I love Pinterest. The problem with that is that it is full of all these wonderful ideas, but I have no time to pull all that together and actually do it. I would have loved to be the perfect Pinterest mom, but that so did not happen. Now my life’s mission is to make Christmas easy for families. I want to do the work for you so you can have that magical holiday with your family without the stress. Oops, I think I just went down a rabbit trail. Back to the subject at hand.
As a business owner, I have been trying to purchase some holiday basics such as candy canes which normally are in abundant supply in August. 2020, nope. I have had to search high and low and finally found them with a restaurant supplier rather than my usual supplier.
Search now and order your holiday wish list early. Shipping is SLOW. I am talking so slow. I sent a package to someone in the same town and it took 4 days to arrive. Packages that are coming from overseas are taking up to a month longer than normal. If you wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you may not be able to get it shipped to you in time.
You will want to shop online. There are no guarantees that the stores will be open just before the holidays. With Covid19 controlling the world, cities, stores, and even governments can shut down everything at the drop of a hat. I encourage you to shop small businesses. They are the heart of our country and by supporting a small business you are helping another family have a special holiday too.
EARLY. This is the key to guaranteeing a smooth holiday!
Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful…
Music - My favorite way to create Christmas spirit is through music. Create a playlist of you and your family's favorite holiday tunes. Play it in the car, in your house, in your head. Yep, just thinking or singing your favorite Christmas carols in your head puts a smile on your face and it creates the Christmas spirit in your soul. Crank the music and let the Spirit flow.
Decorate! Go all out this year. Put up the house lights, deck the tree early, make ornaments with your kids, and string popcorn. (the secret to this is to pop it and let it go stale for a couple of days. It is much easier to string stale)
Fragrance! Fill your house with the scents of Christmas. What are your favorite holiday scents? Pumpkin spice, pine, apple pie, cinnamon? Put a pot of water on to boil. Put some whole cloves, orange peels, a cinnamon stick in then add a splash of apple juice. Bring down to a simmer and let it cook slowly as it makes your house smell great. You can also put it in a slow cooker and to have to worry about it going dry and it will keep your house smelling great all day
Find time for family activities. Go see the Christmas lights in your town. Rent your favorite holiday movie. Bake cookies. You do not have to be all perfect and make the perfect Pinterest sugar cookie. You can pick up premade cookie dough and keep it simple. But your family will love the time spent together.
Wrap gifts for each other. Mom and Sara wrap gifts for dad and Andy. Dad and Andy wrap for Mom and Sarah. There is something special about the secret of wrapping a gift and knowing what is inside when the rest have no idea.
Create the Magic of Santa
Create a Christmas eve tradition. Watch The Grinch or The Santa Clause. Wear your jammies, pop some popcorn, gather around the T.V. Snuggle under blankets and turn off the cell phones, computers, games, and other electronics. Focus on the movie and the kids.
After the movie, read a Christmas story or the Christmas story from Luke 2. Put out the plate of cookies and glass of milk. (you might convince the kids Santa would rather have egg nog or coffee.) Be creative! Tuck the kids in bed and relax with a glass of wine.
Then take a deep breath and set the stage. It isn't difficult to set the stage. Take a bite out of the cookies and drink or pour out the milk. Once the kids are asleep put out the Santa gifts. Here is a make life easier secret, you can fill the stockings ahead of time if you put everything for each person in a separate labeled bag. Then on Christmas Eve, you can just dump everything from the bag into the corresponding stocking. Fast easy and done ahead of time.
Make life even easier and purchase a Santa bag. Put the gifts in the bag without wrapping them. You use the same bag each year. If you want one you can get one inexpensively with personalization’s here.
Now you can go all out and create Santa's footprints. There are two ways to do this. Using a stencil or stepping into "magic dust" and making them yourself. I love the stencils as they have Santa special touches like "ho ho ho" and snowflakes on them. If you are interested you can find them here.
Add in a special tradition for Christmas morning. I think a fun one is the Pickle or bell tradition. You hide a pickle or sleigh bell in the tree. The first person who find it gets to open the first gift. It is cute and fun. Try to make it so the same person doesn't find it first each year.
Loving the holidays is so much easier when it becomes streamlined or even better “Done for You”. If you want to do a meaningful Advent for your kids or do the Elf on the Shelf tradition, here is site where you can get “Done for You” kits. They even have Magical Santa Kits that make creating Christmas Morning Magic a breeze. Click Here to check it out.
Record it All
Take tons of photos and videos. Memorialize the holiday this year. It is likely you will not be able to spend it with your extended family. Record it all so you can share with the grandparents, the aunts and uncles, and friends. Since we can’t be together physically, we can be together socially together from a distance.
I love seeing photos of my friends. I miss my friends, my family. We haven’t been able to have a birthday party or celebrate a holiday together.
It has been so fun seeing my friends’ creative 1st day of school photos. One of my friend’s son's 1st day of high school snuggled in bed with his laptop was priceless. I am sure your friends and family will love seeing your photos and watching your videos. Be silly and have fun with it.
Have the kids make a silly Christmas greeting video to send out this year. While I love getting Christmas cards, there is something about seeing a video that is so much more personal and fun.
Be creative, share your life with your friends and family. Let them be a part of your holidays even if you can’t do the office Christmas party or church Christmas play, you can still be a part of each other’s lives.
The big take away on How to Rock the Holidays
Start early, plan what you really want, get back to the basics, and have fun with your family.