I’ve always loved the holidays and have many cherished memories from my childhood. One of my favorites was helping my grandmother set the table each year. I can still hear her sweet voice, feel the palm of her hand on my shoulder as she gave me encouragement, smell the delicious mix of turkey and ALL the fixing’s, and visualize her ‘good china’ neatly displayed on her elongated oak table. After I was done, she’d come into the dining room with a look of joy and appreciation for the gathering to come, bursting with love. Oh, how I wish I could turn back time.
If you’re like me, having kids has heightened that love and sense of tradition. As my excitement builds for all things Thanksgiving and beyond, I’m pulling back the curtain on three core intentions my husband and I embrace when it comes to the holidays.
Gathering – this is a big one in my home. One way we intentionally do this is by hosting a special dinner for our parents and grandparents. It’s our way of celebrating our core circle. You know, the super special people that bless our babes with love and attention, happily give of their time for play dates (aka babysitting) and cheer us and our kiddos on no matter what. Leading up to the day in early December, my little family works together to plan the meal, design the invitation and decorate our home. And on the ‘big’ day, we are all in the kitchen preparing the meal and adding last minute touches. It’s a lovely evening, ending with a lively bluegrass jam session.
The perks… it leaves us (and our kids) with happy hearts, feeling connected and blessed beyond measure; and it serves as our gift to our beloved guests – there’s no lugging presents to grandma's house on the holiday itself.
Crafting – one of my favorite things to do around the holiday is the crafting of ornaments with my girls. It’s my way of sharing in the joy of giving to others during the holiday season while creating a memento we’ll forever cherish. Last year the girls painted and wrapped baked dough hand prints to look like Santa (thanks Mimi!), and the year before that we gifted homemade frames around a tiny family portrait.
The perks... our tree is filled with memories that I’ll cherish for a lifetime and we have hands-on family time that last consecutive evenings during the shortened days.
Less Is More – Many of you know I’m a minimalist at heart. When it comes to the holidays, my rule of thumb is this: one in, one out. For each ‘new’ toy or thing accumulated, something must go. Next week, we’ll decide what to keep by going through toy bins and filling bags for donation. We do this with artwork and books, too.
The perks… my girls know that passing toys on to other little ones blesses new families and creates space in our home – space for adventure, space for play, space to live a simple life.
I hope these intentions spark a thought; a conversation with your partner or best friend; or an action that you can take now to help you welcome the holidays in a more thoughtful manner. As we close out this year, let’s set intention and nurture our life well lived.
The holidays can also be rough. If you are having a hard time (or anticipate having one), please reach out – to me, to a friend, to a relative, to a therapist. Share what is on your heart and know that you have a community of people that will hold space for you and with you.