Christmas

  • Got the Post Holiday Blues?

    holiday bluesFor most areas of the U.S. the weeks following Christmas can be some of the coldest of the year. January temps in Minnesota are notoriously ridiculously cold, and this often keeps lots of us temperature wimps indoors for the duration. When you combine that with the emotional roller coaster that we ride for the Christmas season, it's not difficult to see how some of us can get a little down.

    This isn't just a northern states phenomena either. Folks even in the warmer states are coming down off the highs of Christmas and feeling a bit blue. I've felt it, and I'm guessing you have too. I was thinking this morning about ways that we can battle the blues, and many of the ideas I came up with only require a bit of planning. Here's some food for thought if you are struggling to regain your energy and mood equilibrium:

    1. First, expect the blues to come. Sometimes just being aware of what's coming can help us prepare and not get caught off guard. I think often the surprise element is the hardest to deal with.
    2. Be kind to yourself. Stock up your fridge with lots of healthy fruits and veggies, drink lots of water and get some exercise. After all the indulgences of the holidays, it can feel really good to fuel our bodies with nutrient dense food, and this will help our moods too.
    3. If your budget will allow, plan a trip for later in January or early February. I've been doing this for several years now, and it helps to have something else to look forward to.
    4. Smile. It may feel like you are just going through the motions, but often our feelings follow our actions. Do something kind for someone, walk with a spring in  your step, or find a good comedy movie to watch. You'll be surprised how far this little action can go!
    5. Lots of you who visit this site are Christmas crafters, and this can be a great time to get a jump start on some of the projects that you didn't have time for last month. Recycle those Christmas cards like we talked about last week, hit up the craft stores for all the holiday clearance sales. Some people I know even choose one Christmas craft to do each month of the year, and they make that plan in January.

    There's many reasons why we get the blues after a huge holiday like Christmas, but it doesn't have to linger or be so bad. If you find  your feelings of sadness and boredom overwhelming, don't hesitate to seek some help. So many people struggle with this, and you are definitely not alone.

     

    Photo courtesy

  • Christmas Card Recycling

    christmas cardsOne of my favorite things about the weeks leading up to Christmas are all the different holiday cards that arrive in the mail. Friends and family are always in various stages of life, and their cards are a little peek into their lives and personalities. I still really love getting the cards that have a letter in them even though the same letter went to everyone. It brings us current with some of the folks who we, otherwise, might lose track of.

    And, every year as I'm putting away Christmas, I stack the cards we've received and think to myself that I really want to preserve them somehow. Today's post is about just that, finding creative ways to recycle the cards because they are just too darn pretty to throw in the trash.

    1. Gift tags ~ It's pretty simple really. Just cut the cutest or prettiest part of the card out into the shape of a tag, and then mount on colored paper with rubber cement. This very much gives it a scrapbook look. Punch a tiny hole in the top for a ribbon, and there you are, your gift tags for next year!
    2. Bookmarks ~ Cut your cards in long strips, again capturing a striking part of the image. Punch a tiny hole in the top and attach a ribbon. Voila!
    3. Confetti ~ If you are a scrapbooker, you already have several punches available, but if not you can find them at Michael's or your local craft s hop. Just find a star or any other shape that tickles your fancy, and punch away! Store them in zip lock bags for use at parties throughout the year!

    These are just a few ideas to get you started. What other ways can you think of to use your Christmas cards for another beautiful purpose?

    photo courtesy

  • De-Trimming the Tree

    epiphanyausIf you observe the church calendar, you know that today is the Feast of the Epiphany. This day marks the last day of the 12 days of Christmas, and as such is the more traditional day when the garland is stowed away, the ornaments and nativity scenes are boxed up and the tree comes down.

    treeThis is not usually a fun job, nobody really wants to do it. Call it the after Christmas blues or an eagerness to get back to normal routines, but you know it just like I do that a warm body is nowhere to be found when it's time to put it all away. I have known some who leave their tree up far longer, trying to avoid the inevitable, and redecorate it for Valentines Day, hehee. But, seriously, if you have a real Christmas tree, the fire danger gets to be a bit high if you keep it around too long. So bribe the troops with some warm brownies right out of the oven and get 'er done.  Promise what you must if you need or want the help, but maybe you will do as I've been and just put on your favorite music, crank the volume up a bit and tackle the task yourself. You can then enlist someone to drag the tree down to the curb later.

    I've been de-trimming our tree and house now for a few years, and actually look forward to it now. It has become the peace after the storm for me, another time to reflect not just on the Christmas season but also the year.

    See, it's all in how you frame these things, hehee.

    Photo courtesy: epiphany, tree

     

  • Christmas In Review

    Christmas_is_over_by_rattodisabinaIf you are anything like me, it is tough to say goodbye to another Christmas season. The huz and I were talking this morning about how Christmas is such a season of giving, of hope, of sharing, caring and joy. It isn't that way for everyone, but even folks who are struggling have a better chance of being showered with love and grace than any other time of the year because humanity seems to be more sensitive and willing to give.

    So, just like the last couple of posts where we talked about reflecting on 2013, I think it is always a good idea to do the same thing for the Christmas season. As we are making our plans and preparations, we want things to go a certain way, we want the decorations to be bright and stunning, the parties to be robust and the gifts to be perfect. But we all know that things don't usually turn out the way we expect! Sometimes they do, but often there are interruptions to our plans that are beyond our control. And, as the planners that we are, we ask ourselves what we can do differently next year to fix it.

    I write this blog year round, so thoughts of Christmas are always right there at the top of my heart. I will be processing things for several months and researching trends and ideas in order to bring you some great content when you need it. But, I know that most people aren't like that, and for most thoughts of Christmas won't occur again until much later in the year. But, before you close the books on Christmas 2013, let's take a few moments and think about what you'd like to see happen next Christmas.

    forgot-rememberThen, write it out in whatever way works for you, and tuck it away in a place you'll be able to find it when Christmas 2014 approaches.  Set up a reminder either on your digital calendar or your smart phone for the date when you really do begin thinking and planning for Christmas to jog your memory of your observations. If you are among those who loathe technology and still love your paper systems, make your notes on paper and tuck them either into the Christmas box that you usually open up first or insert them into the month on the desk or wall calendar when you usually begin planning. Anyone can do this!

    How many times have you been in the throws of the Christmas season, the calendar is completely booked and you are running out of time and THEN you remember what it was that you had wanted to do different? Don't let that be you this coming Christmas.

    Photo courtesies: poinsettia, elephant

     

  • Happy New Year!

    New Year 2014Here it is, already January 3, 2014. Can you believe it? The Christmas season with all its celebrations, food, gifts and preparations is behind us and now we have a completely blank slate for the next 12 months. I love new beginnings, and the new year is really one of my favorite times of the year . . . out with the old, in with the new, and just a really good time to reflect.

    We're spending some time this week talking about the past year, our accomplishments, our victories, our disappointments, all of it, and thinking about what we want 2014 to look like. You probably are too. 2013 held a lot of personal challenges in our household and extended family, and there are so many exciting things coming up this year....a new grandbaby, graduation from nursing school, new jobs and a trip to Hawaii in the works! On top of all that, are we all vowing (again) to start our Christmas preparations a bit earlier? I know I am!

    But, first, let's take a much deserved breath . . . er, many such breaths! Rest, ponder, reflect, take it all in . . . all that made up your 2013 and what you are planning for 2014.  Nobody dislikes wasting time more than me, but stopping for a season freally can keep us from spinning our wheels.

    I know slowing down and reflecting is challenging sometimes, so I looked around the interwebs for some tips on reflection. I found some really good questions on TheArtOfSimple.net that I'm going to personally be working through over the next few weeks and I'm hoping you will join me. I'll share them one at a time over the next several posts.

    Stay tuned!

     Photo courtesy

     

     

  • Healthy Treats For The Kids

    lightsWith kids still on Christmas break from school, I'm wondering if your kids are getting a little antsy? All the excitement of Christmas Day is done, and while it's wonderful to still be all at home together, it is a definite shift from the ordinary schedule. As much as we never really relish the idea of going back to work or school after a vacation, there is a certain comfort in doing so as we slip back into our familiar routines, the house gets back to it's pre-decorated state and, of course, New Year's resolutions are pondered.

    fruitsnacksfeatured-770x403_jpg_pagespeed_ce_WZR8WRvEX2While all of that is happening, the kids still want to eat! I found a healthy treat from a local wellness center that I think is sure to please. These healthy fruit snacks are pretty cute too, aren't they?  They are made with fresh berries, a bit of honey, lemon juice and gelatin from grass-fed cows. There is nothing not to love about these....sweet, healthy, cute and just the right size for little hands You can check out the recipe here.

    And, while the kids are nom nom-ing on those, you can grab a cup of coffee or tea and make your plans for the new year. Sound good?

     

    Photo courtesy: Lights, Snacks

  • Merry Christmas To You

    christmas day postThis is the day we've all been preparing and waiting for, Christmas Day! I am grateful that on a chilly night long ago, the Christ child was born. Some say Jesus was simply a good man, others say he was a prophet, and in the Christian tradition that Jesus was the Son of God. Whatever it is that we do with Jesus, that blessed night he changed the trajectory of history. It is his birth that we honor, celebrate, and remember today, some 2000+ years later!

    I want to wish you a wonderful, love-filled, peaceful and joyous day today! Whether you are with family, friends, or spending it alone, remember that He is the reason for the season.

    Merry Christmas!

  • Anticipation

    AnticipationI had a boss once who would celebrate what she called Friday Eve....meaning, it's Thursday, the day right before Friday which is when the weekend begins. Hahahaaaa! She'd say it nearly every week, "Happy Friday Eve!" and I found it kind of funny. But, here we are, the day before Christmas Eve, and I think this day can be put into the same category as Friday Eve.

    Some will celebrate this wonderful holiday on Christmas Eve, some on Christmas Day, and others do the traditional 12 days of Christmas so they are already well on their way. But today, Christmas Eve Eve, is a  day filled with anticipation. Most, if not all the shopping is done. Presents are being wrapped. Last minute cleaning is being done. Menu's are being written. Groceries are being purchased. All of this in anticipation of the grand celebration called Christmas.

    It has been said that the anticipation we experience leading up to grand events is sometimes as good as the event itself. I've gathered a few quotes for you today that celebrate this act of looking forward to something big. So, grab a cup of coffee or hot cocoa, sit back and enjoy. Merry Christmas Eve Eve to you!

    “Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think.  Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.” - A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

    “Never forget that anticipation is an important part of life.  Work's important, family's important, but without excitement, you have nothing.  You're cheating yourself if you refuse to enjoy what's coming.” - Nicholas Sparks Three Weeks With My Brother

    “The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting." - Andy Warhol

    “The pleasure isn't in doing the thing, the pleasure is in planning it.” - John Green, Paper Towns

    “The days passed in a dream. I pictured our reunion again and again, played it out in my mind over and over until I’d almost worn a groove in my thoughts, so deep that it seemed the only thing I could think of was our reunion. Anticipation is a gift. Perhaps there is none greater. Anticipation is born of hope. Indeed it is hope’s finest expression. In hope’s loss, however, is the greatest despair.”  - Steven L. Peck, A Short Stay In Hell

    “When I think something nice is going to happen I seem to fly right up on the wings of anticipation; and then the first thing I realize I drop down to earth with a thud. But really, Marilla, the flying part is glorious as long as it lasts...it's like soaring through a sunset. I think it almost pays for the thud.”  - L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

    “...anticipation of happiness can sometimes be as gratifying as its consummation.” - Gaynor Arnold, Girl in a Blue Dress

    Photo courtesy

  • 42 Things To Do On Christmas Eve

    socks by the fire

    One of the questions I love to ask people around Christmas is what their Christmas Eve traditions are. The answers are often things you might expect while others are pretty  unique. Here are some of the answers I've gotten over the years:

     Make paper snowflakes

    Watch Christmas movies

    Bake

    Deliver baked goodies

    Sing together

    Shop!

    View Christmas Lights in the neighborhood

    Ornament exchange

    Read the Christmas story

    Wrap presents

    Play games

    Exchange gifts

    Put cookies and milk our for Santa

    Act out the nativity

    Attend midnight mass

    Make reindeer food and sprinkle on the front lawn.

    After the kids go to bed, string Christmas lights from the tree to their bedrooms.

    A family outing of midnight caroling in the woods with candles.

    Have a Jerusalem Dinner…simple, finger foods by candlelight.

    Dinner out and a drive to look at Christmas lights.

    Have a Star Trek movie marathon.

    Enjoy peppermint tea with a peppermint stick.

    Spray the bottom on your shoes with fake snow, then walk from the chimney to the table where the cookies and milk are, eat and drink most of what’s there, then track to the fireplace and take off your shoes.

    Open one gift.

    Go to bed early!

    Dance around the tree.

    Kiss under the mistletoe.

    Drink egg nog.

    Go ice skating.

    Have a treasure hunt

    Stay up all night.

    Volunteer at the homeless shelter.

    Take photos of your Christmas Tree with all the unopened gifts beneath.

    Play board games.

    Go to a movie.

    Read Christmas books.

    Snuggle up by the fire with cozy slippers and a blanket.

    Host a Christmas Party.

    Make a gingerbread house.

    Write a Christmas story

    Invite close friends over for a little egg nog or cocoa or coffee.

    Have the kids open a present of new Christmas jammies for super cute Christmas morning pictures.

    What would you add to this list?

  • Holiday Cards ~ Unique or Traditional?

    The holiday cards are coming in by the droves these days, and I love all of them...every last one. Some are so unique and others traditional, but mostly what I like about them is that I get to seefrechette the personalities of my friends displayed in what kind of card they decided upon.  If I were to pick a favorite style of card, it would have to be the ones that include photos.

    I'm sitting here at my desk, looking at a card from a good friend who, up until this year, has always sent a card with just her daughter's photo. But, this year, the whole family was in the shot, and instead of dressing all up in fancy, matchy matchy clothes (nothing wrong with that for sure), they were at a Minnesota Twins game ~ Mom, Dad, and daughter, all sporting their own brand of a Twins t-shirts, sitting out in the sunshine clearly having a great family time. On the inside were 3 more pictures of the same kind!  Love love love this card!

    doggyOthers I've seen are very pet focused. Have you noticed this trend, the folks who perhaps don't have children or children at home anymore take adorable shots of their dog or cat? I think it's a wonderful trend and I hope it never stops! I don't think there's a person alive who doesn't enjoy a cute animal photo, so those cards are quickly becoming very popular.

    Then still others are classic and traditional, and those are just comforting to receive, aren't they? To know that some things stay the same and still look amazing and evoke the  warm fuzzies in  me is one of the best feelings there is.

    Although time is running short, if you are looking for a great holiday card that gives you the freedom to express yourself, check out what we've got on our website. Just go here, and look under the Accessories tab on the far right. We've partnered with a very fun vendor, and you won't be disappointed. Promise.

    I have often sent my cards after Christmas, making them more of a New Year's card and pretend it was on purpose. Haha, don't tell anyone. :)

    Photo courtesy

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