1. Creating and Making
If you're a maker the Holidays are your jam. From making presents to ornaments to cookies to wrapping paper to tablescapes and decor, to memories... the creating is endless during the holidays and I love it all. I try to do it in a stress free way though with low expectations because it's far too easy for me to slip into perfectionist mode where I get overwhelmed by just the idea of doing something that I talk myself out of it before it begins. For example, it had been years since we had decorated sugar cookies and I invited some friends come and decorate with us on a whim. Other than snowflakes I don't even have Christmas cookie cutters. But my friend did and everything turned great! I made the dough the night before, us moms rolled it out and baked them then everyone decorated. The stress comes from when I over think it and feel like I need to research for hours to find the perfect cookie and frosting/icing recipe or make a special trip to the store for special sprinkles, food dye or piping bags...we just used what we had on hand and everyone had a good time.
giant roll of kraft paper is always a good thing to have on hand. (Also, it wouldn't hurt to replenish my sprinkle/cookie supply for the next time I want to have a spur-of-the-moment cookie party.)
(made these ornaments with the girls this year and totes forgot to post the tutorial... real life win, blogging fail.)
2. A Small Act of Service (no photos for this one)
At the beginning of December our family assembled kits for the homeless. Kits included a bottle of water, granola bar, chips, toothbrush, toothpaste, other snacks, hand warmers and a few other items I'm forgetting. We put one of each item into large zip lock baggies. One night it was just the girls and I and we drove around on the first really cold night here in town giving out kits to people we saw begging downtown. We had extra hand warmers and gave those out as well. After we made our Christmas cookies we drove around as a family, this time with small plates of cookies in addition to our homeless kits and once again handed them out.
These kind of things always feel a little sticky to me, especially writing about it. Service is great, but I know there is so much need on a year-round basis and a lot of people--like us--like to do "service projects" at Christmas time in an effort to show our kids the "true meaning of Christmas." And sometimes it feels like a teeny-tiny act of service where we give ourselves a giant pat on the back, call ourselves good and get on with life. Should I make an effort to do more service year round? Yes. And I do. Just not usually this kind of service.
Regardless I'm still glad we took the time to do this. Every single person we handed kits out to was grateful. We explained to the kids that we weren't doing anything life changing and handing out these kits didn't make us heros, but it was still a good thing to do. I hope the people we handed our cookies and hard warmers to felt lifted by the fact the a family was out there thinking of them and trying to brighten their day just a little--looking them in the eye, talking to them face-to-face and offering just a little something to help. I hope my girls felt not just gratitue for all that we have, but also a stronger connection to humanity and our responsibility to look out for each other. We've decided to try and keep these kits in our car throughout the year so we always have something on hand to give to others.
3. Zuzu's birthday and the Bouncy Castle
Mickey shoes. Now lets talk about that bouncy castle...
4. Family Coziness and Togetherness Time
5. Christmas Eve + Christmas Morning
So much to be grateful for, but most of all my people.
And also the bouncy castle.