After two years of very low key holiday festivities due to the virus who will remain unnamed, this year is already feeling very full. I’m thrilled that we can gather again in large groups and even do a bit of dancing, if the mood and the DJ are on point! With this excitement in mind, it seemed like a lot of friends and family were keen to kick off the holiday season early this year. November 1st I was seeing Christmas lights and hearing Mariah Carey, ‘All I Want for Christmas’ everywhere I went but I didn’t hate it! I think we’re all looking forward to feeling festive. In the interest of trying to pace myself while still making the holidays really special for my family, here are some of my tips for getting ready for the holidays.
Get the “work” done early. My house was decorated for the holidays by the evening of November 2nd. My goal this year is to have all of my shopping complete and wrapped by Dec 1st. I’d like to get most of my baking done the first week of December. Now that I have two young kids I like to be able to enjoy the holiday season. Once the gift buying and wrapping is done, the movies, hot chocolate, dance parties, snow fights and couch cuddles can begin! I fully intend to enjoy this December which makes November a bit hectic, but it’s worth it!
Secret Santa. Gifts over the holiday season can be overwhelming. Especially when there are big families and kids involved. For bigger families I always suggest doing a Secret Santa gift draw. Generally just the adults as no one can resist spoiling kids and I’m ok with that! But for the grown-ups we don’t each need to buy presents for one another, we have too much already. So pick a name, assign a budget and hope that someone with good taste chooses your name!
Strategic Decorating. Holiday decor takes a lot of time, energy and resources not only to put up but to maintain throughout the holiday season. I recommend picking a few areas of the house and letting your festive side go wild. I also encourage keeping a few rooms, decor free. The kids bedrooms and your office don’t need to be fully entrenched in festive decor. Sometimes it’s nice to have a more muted room to escape to if overstimulation strikes. You’ll also be grateful for this decision when it comes time to clean up in January!
Keep it Simple. This is an easy one to say but harder to do. I remind myself constantly that everything doesn’t have to be done 110%. My decor can be complete even if every holiday piece isn’t out. My cupboards can be filled with enough baking. The holidays really are about time with friends and family, holiday music and hanging out together so sometimes it can be just that. I don’t need to have the kids in matching Christmas sweaters, what’s important is that they’re comfortable and spending time with loved ones. I’m really focused this year on simplifying and really enjoying being present.
RSVP No, sometimes. Another one I’m trying to get better at. As we return to parties, events, gatherings and socializing, there are lots of invites coming in and events I’d love to attend. Sometimes I forget I can RSVP no, the party will go on without me! It’s so refreshing to choose a night in with the boys over going out. Not every night of course, I love to get glammed up and go out and see friends but every RSVP doesn’t have to be a yes. Pace yourself and decide what you really want to attend and what you could miss out on in favour of relaxing.
Find Community Activities The holidays can mean lots of time at home, especially if, like me, you love to entertain. So it’s a great refresher to get out and do something in the community, especially if it’s something festive. I love ice skating, especially on one of the outdoor rinks. There are so many great places like VanDusen and Surrey Tree Lighting Festival to see some incredible lights and enjoy the festive atmosphere. The kids love getting out to these events and it’s a great place to meet their friends and let the littles burn off some energy.
Support Local This is a no-brainer but especially important over the holidays. Wherever I can, I love to support local artisans, bakers, florists and any business that’s locally owned in my community. It’s been a tough few years for a lot of small businesses and I always feel the service and care I get when I shop directly from a business is so incredible. I decided to order cookies this year for our Christmas party and Pierce’s birthday party from a local mama, Coastline Cookies. Wherever you live, find a local market and tick some gifts off your shopping list. Holiday markets are a great place to get gifts for everyone on your list, all in one place. I recently visited The Collective Winter Market and it was so fun to be out and around people again. It’s wonderful to meet so many local vendors and support their small shops, buying unique and handmade gifts.
It’s important to be intentional about your energy this holiday season. We’re not used to the hustle and bustle after a quiet few years. My main objective is to enjoy the season with my little ones. There’s only so many years I’ll get to see their eyes light up at a giant Christmas tree or where Santa will feel as special. What are your tips for getting ready for the holidays this year? Are you keeping lots of traditions, or making some new ones?
Photography by Teryn Lee Photography
Family Pajamas from Current Tyed Clothing