Making Christmas Memorable for Yourself and Your Kids

Image result for christmas cheer


In this blog post, I wanted to include ways to make the Christmas holiday memorable for yourself as well because I’m finding it easier and easier for the holidays in general to lose their magic and sparkle, but I don’t think it has to! No doubt, finding ways to make it fun for our children can be easier, but I have put a list together of some ways I think the Christmas season can be a special time for parents and children alike.

1. 25 Days of Reading

Wrap 25 books for your children to open every day in December leading up to Christmas. This not only creates a fun moment your children can look forward to every day, but also ensures some family time together as you follow up with reading that book along with them.

2. Look at Christmas Lights

Growing up, I feel like some of my most favorite memories are were the ones that cost little to nothing. This can definitely be one of those memories for you and your kids! Whether it’s driving around from neighborhood to neighborhood admiring others’ hard work or seeing a professional lighting display put on in your local city or town, this can be made into a tradition I guarantee your children will remember for years to come.

3. Baking/Decorating Gingerbread House

This is a great way to stir up holiday cheer for all involved! Not only do we get the satisfaction of enjoying the fruits of our labor afterwards with either some hot cocoa or glass of milk, we also got to have fun as a family being in the kitchen together laughing and making memories.

4. Watch ALL the Christmas Movies

I exaggerate a little, but really, watch a bunch of movies together! Sometimes watching a favorite Christmas movie can be just the thing to help us parents also get more in the Christmas spirit. Do this with your kids but also with your spouse after your kids have gone to bed. Holiday cheer between adults is super important and fun too!

5. Decorate!

I want to start off with this, more or less, obvious way to make Christmas memorable for your family by saying that I feel like there should be no rules when it comes to this. This year, we decided to put our Christmas tree up a couple weeks before Thanksgiving. Some may think this is too early, and that’s just fine for them to think. But in our household, it’s extending our favorite time of the year and allowing us to enjoy the beauty of the lights on the tree even longer! Since my daughter, Isla, is only a year and a half old, she isn’t able to help put ornaments on the tree yet, but this is definitely a tradition we look forward to continuing through the years!

6. Be Generous

Tis the season to be generous to others. Create opportunities for your kids to watch you giving to others whether it’s through giving presents, your time, or even just kindness (especially when we want to be impatient or rude to the people crowding the grocery stores and shopping malls–where did all these people come from?!) Being able to demonstrate generosity in front of our kids is a wonderful lesson we can teach them, and there are many ways to let them join in on it too!

7. Read Luke

For this idea, read a chapter in Luke from the Bible every day in December. There are 24 chapters, so you can get through the whole book together as a family by Christmas. Luke 2 contains the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth, and the rest of the book goes on to talk about his life on Earth. This can be a wonderful tradition to establish as a family that may even go beyond just the month of December! If your family isn’t already in the habit of reading Scripture together, this is great way to incorporate it long-term within your daily routine.

8. Fill in the Blank

Incorporate any other Christmas traditions that have been passed down through your families that you want to hold onto. It can be anything! It’ll be special to you because of fond memories from your past while creating new memories with your children.

I hope this list gives you some ideas if you are feeling stumped this Christmas season. It can feel like it’s a lot easier for children to get into the holiday spirit, and while that may be true, I think it’s also important for them to see their parents taking part in Christmas cheer. It doesn’t hurt if we find ourselves a little less stressed and overwhelmed because of it too!

I’m Grateful For…

Past memories during my childhood that helped to shape my fondness towards Christmastime and the wonderful opportunities that I have no to pass down a lot of those same traditions to my children.

Countdown to Thanksgiving…I’m Grateful For Cherry Vanilla Bagels

If you haven’t tried these from Panera Bread, you should! I don’t know why I haven’t heard of these sooner, but they are my new fave! On Tuesdays, their baker’s dozen is on sale, so we like to stock up on our favorite bagel flavors for the week. There’s just something about a warm, toasted bagel with butter that makes feel so thankful! And that’s where I’m getting with today’s post, which is also the last of the “Countdown to Thanksgiving” posts! I’m thankful for the “big” things, of course, like my house, husband, children, family, etc, but I’m super thankful for the everyday small things too, like my current favorite bagel flavor! In the grind and day-to-day routine that may or may not always be super exciting, I find it important to notice those things that are a part of your everyday that you are super thankful for. And don’t just think of one thing, although that’s a great place to start! My goal is to be able to think of one thing every hour that I am grateful for. I’ll give it a try right now: coffee, bagels, ability to stay home and stay in pjs, Isla’s laughter, exercise, rest, lights on the Christmas tree, baking, feeling Remi moving in my belly…and those are all things just from today! I know I’m always grateful for the bigger things, and those are easier to think of, so I’m going to enjoy the rest of this week focused on opening my eyes to the smaller things to be grateful for because they are all around. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Countdown to Thanksgiving…I’m Grateful For A Good Report

This week was our 20 week doctor appointment for little Remi! My husband was able to go with me, and we were so excited to be able to see her on the ultrasound. As when I was pregnant with Isla, however, there are many things that they check for during the ultrasound that I forget to even think about.
I went into our appointment thinking that everything was going to be fine and that we’d be able to see the little fingers and toes that are developing. It could be naivety on my part, but I always just assume that everything is going to be fine. During the ultrasound, the tech started pointing out different things like the 4 chambers in her heart, the fact she has 2 kidneys, her brain, diaphragm, and on and on…all the things that Remi will need to thrive once she is born but things that I forget she needs! It brought a tear to my eye during that ultrasound to just pause and be so thankful that our baby girl has all the parts she needs to continue to grow and develop the way she’s supposed to. It never is a guarantee that a pregnancy or baby is going to 100% smooth sailing and healthy. I am so thankful and blessed for the good report about our precious baby girl! Even if everything wasn’t as it should be, God is so good and faithful. He deserves all glory and praise all of the time.

Countdown to Thanksgiving…I’m Grateful For Saying “Hi”

Most people want to talk, or are at least willing to talk, they just need someone to initiate-I love that Isla picks up on that and says “hi” to complete strangers.
A recent example of this happened the other day. Walking back to our car after an errand, Isla turned around and noticed someone behind us. I had already noticed this person because I feel like I’m always aware of my surroundings (in more of a self-defense, protect myself and my family kind of way). Her response wasn’t to ignore this person. She instead says “hi” in the sweetest voice there is. The lady responded back in a friendly way, mentioning that she was on her way to get some coffee while on her break. My daughter teaches me a lot about being kind and noticing others—not for the potential danger they possess—but for them being in a near proximity to where they could hear our voice if we just said a simple “hello”. I hate that this concept can be so lost on me sometimes. The way Isla approaches strangers definitely makes it feel like she has friends all around. I’m so thankful that she is able to teach me to look around and notice others that may want, or even need, someone to give them a friendly “hello”.

Countdown to Thanksgiving…I’m Grateful For Friendship

Last night we went over to our friends’ house and were treated to a lovely home-cooked meal and wonderful conversation. We hadn’t hung out with them for a while, so it was nice to catch up! Then this morning, I took Isla to a local toy store for story time, where she was able to interact with other children and make some new friends, which she is able to do so easily (I love that quality about her). And tonight we had some friends from church over to house for dinner. We ate yummy food, had a bonfire, played a game, and overall just enjoyed each others’ company. Tomorrow, I will be getting together with ladies from my church to make Christmas crafts and hang out with one another. Looking back at the last couple days I’ve had, it’s crazy to think I feel like I don’t have many close friends! When really, it can be as simple as accepting an invitation to get together, being the one to reach out and invite others to come over, or just texting one friend a week you haven’t heard from in a while to let them know you’re thinking of them. I think I tend to overthink friendship, and my goal is to try and get out of what is often a negative mindset around friendship and embrace each connection point I have with everyone and help them know I’m present in that moment and that they mean a lot to me. After all, that’s definitely what I’m looking for in a friend! I’m so thankful for these last couple of days being able to enjoy friendships and fellowship.

Countdown to Thanksgiving…I’m Grateful For Moments with God

I was up late last night thinking a lot about what it’s going to be like having 2 little girls. Will Isla adjust well to being a big sister and sharing her time with me? Will this new baby be calm and easy-going? Or will she be more strong-willed like Isla was from the start? Will I ever get out of the house again?

That last question had me picturing what going to the store is going to look like. I don’t know if I’ll feel capable or if I’ll even feel like I have the right tools/resources to know how to navigate all of these changes. And then it dawned on me that many many women have gone before me and had multiple children and survived. Not only did they survive, but many of them thrived—being able to raise their babies while keeping up around the house, feeding good things to their bodies both mentally and physically, cooking, baking, being loving wives, and the list goes on. All these things may not happen everyday for these super moms, but why is it that the role of a mother is so great and vast?
I then remembered who created mothers and who placed in us the very desire and ability to nurture, grow, support, and help the family thrive and flourish. God has given me the resource I need to navigate motherhood, including all the changes that are going to happen in the next few months when we transition to having 2 children. And that resource is access to Himself! When Remi is waking up many time during the night to eat and Isla starts having bad dreams making it hard for her to sleep, guess who is going to be my source of strength during those sleepless nights-my Father in heaven who made me and cares for me! He knows the call of motherhood isn’t easy. I like to think that’s why he made women so awesome in so many ways.
I want to step into this next journey of motherhood with 2 children confident that my source of strength is able to be called upon anytime during the day or night. God knows my weaknesses and has the power to help strengthen them. My prayer is that I remember to embrace this phase and point to the Lord, always thanking Him for these blessings that I’m forever grateful for.

Countdown to Thanksgiving…I’m Grateful For Fun Weekends

This past weekend was filled with lots of fun things to do, but when you have a toddler, you’re still aware it could go either way if they get overwhelmed or overtired, etc. Our weekend started off with a birthday party for one of Isla’s friends who just turned 2. That was great because she could walk around, eat, socialize—basically all her favorite things. After that, we darted over to a Friendsgiving party. There were some other kiddos for Isla to play with there as well, and she played straight through her nap time. She was in her element and having a blast, which calmed my fears on whether or not she’d have a meltdown from not sticking to her usual schedule. It showed me that she is getting older and is able to be more flexible. She’s been doing this in some other ways as well and it is making my husband and I super excited to watch! After that get together, we went to our parents’ house to enjoy a nice dinner to wrap up the day. Once again, the girl played so hard. When it was nearing her bedtime, I was getting nervous that she wouldn’t want to go to bed because of being too excited all day, but she finally hit her wall and went straight to bed that night. It was such a full day but a wonderful one at that, and I’m so grateful. I feel like I’m able to participate in more grown up conversations. You know what I mean? For the longest time, I found myself tuning out everyone in order to tend to my child. Watching her grow is so exciting for this momma to experience.

Countdown to Thanksgiving…I’m Grateful For Productive Days

Without specifically planning for it, I feel like a lot got done today, which is a great feeling! The list includes getting groceries, baking cookies, cutting up tons of veggies in preparation for a Friendsgiving feast tomorrow, sweeping the back deck of a million leaves, finally putting Isla’s water table in the shed for winter, taking a nap (yes that’s always on the to-do list when pregnant), having family time this evening, and all of this with Isla by my side. I love when I’m able to feel productive when I’m around Isla because I didn’t always feel like that was possible. It’s amazing to see how much she is growing up. I feel like her stamina is also getting better, which encourages me to try accomplishing more with her. Of course, our days always involve tons of reading and one-on-one time together, but she also loves being with me while I’m doing more grown-up things. For that, I am so grateful. I’m hoping today’s productivity levels rollover into tomorrow, as it can be such a good feeling!

Countdown to Thanksgiving…I’m Grateful For Mommy Time

I meet monthly with a group of other moms (mostly SAHMs) as a part of an organization called MOPS. If you’re unfamiliar, I’d encourage you to visit their website here and see if there are any groups that meet in your area. It has been so encouraging and uplifting for me since joining back in September. It really is like making instant friends with similar connection points because you’re all moms of little ones and navigating similar things.
This past meeting, my husband stayed back with Isla, and I was so thankful for that. I was anxious the night before with fears that Isla wouldn’t do well in the childcare provided because it really is a toss-up on if she’ll be able to stay in there the whole time. She’s almost 19 months old and still hates when I leave her side. It’s sweet but also difficult much of the time when I’m trying to provide her with opportunities to connect with other kids and learn to be ok with having mom leave for a short period of time so that I can connect with other moms as adults instead of being in “mom mode” the whole time.
Having outlets and scheduled times where you know someone else will be watching your child is something so important that I didn’t even realize before becoming a mom. To be honest, it didn’t even occur to me that my child may have separation anxiety and never want to leave my side, but it’s important to push past the fear and anxieties that can surround your child not wanting to leave you and try to do it anyway. It will be so good for the both of you and is a source of growth!

Countdown to Thanksgiving…I’m Grateful For Snow!

Where we live in Southern Indiana, it can be a little unusual, but not unheard of, to see our first accumulating snow occur a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. That made it super exciting to wake up to this week, especially since we already have our Christmas tree up as well. Talk about all the holiday feels! The snow also came with frigid temperatures, so I didn’t take Isla out to play in it, but she definitely enjoyed looking out the window at it.
Seeing things like snow on the ground make for sweet moments that I can share with my daughter. Remembering that this is her first time to maybe even realize what snow is since she was still an infant last year help me to slow down more to make sure she’s taking in all that there is to experience with everything surrounding the holidays.
I’m hoping we get a lot of snow this winter and have opportunities to play in it and do all the fun things that you’re supposed to do when you’re little and it snows. Until then, we watch as the first snowfall starts to melt and look forward to the next with grateful hearts.