A Nostalgic Christmas

The idea struck me this year that perhaps part of the reason the holiday season is so overwhelmingly stressful for so many people is that some of the ways Christmas used to be celebrated have long disappeared.

  • Starting with the tree–most people do not live in an area where they can go out and chop one down. But, in many areas, there are tree farms or friends that may let you come onto their property to cut one down. I’ve included a wonderful resource¬†here on how to recycle, compost, even replant your live Christmas tree after the season.
  • Christmas Caroling- if there are no neighborhood caroling opportunities here are 25 popular long loved and old-fashioned Christmas songs¬† to get you through the holidays, or try the Classical Christmas music channel on Pandora.
  • Volunteering- check with your local food pantry, a local shelter, or local church to see about holiday+volunteer opportunities.
  • Adopt a Family- you can find a family to adopt for Christmas through your local county human services department.
  • Dress up fancy for Christmas Day- maybe once breakfast is served and the presents open, dress up fancy vs. the usual matching pj’s.
  • Picnic vs. a big meal for two if it’s too much trouble to deck the halls when there’s just the two of you for Christmas dinner, try a Christmas picnic. Leftover turkey sandwiches on thick slabs of french bread sound fabulous to me.
  • Wrap gifts with kraft paper or the comic pages of a newspaper (get creative)here’s 15 ideas for wrapping with kraft paper.
  • Make your own tree decorations–popcorn or paper garland, cranberry garland, pine cones, and gingerbread men.
  • Come up with a list of family and friends to send Christmas cards to in regular mail.
  • Schedule a sledding party.
  • Offer to wrap gifts for family—or have a wrapping party with music and popcorn.

Years and years ago the holidays were all about intentionally creating activities for the entire family; including grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

Here is a fabulous essay about the spirit of nostalgic Christmas.

Whenever the commercialism of modern-day Christmas starts to get the best of you–take a gentle step back to yesteryear and look at some of the activities that were once enjoyed when life was much more slower paced. During the years when I was growing up, holiday preparation started months in advance. People saved year round for Christmas gifts and many were of the custom/homemade kind. Baking was done prior to Thanksgiving for many items and everyone in the household lived with the anticipation of eating some of their favorite goodies come Christmas. Holiday parties and family get-togethers were scheduled during summer vacations when many families got together and could easily plan their holiday arrangements. I don’t remember anything at Christmas time being hectic until the late 80s and early 90s when competition and commercialism kind of pushed aside all the traditional and lifelong memory making of creating and living an intentional life.

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Hygge Gifts 2018

Greetings all!

Well, I wish I would have created this post a week ago. A lot of the Hygge gift ideas I had are sold out. Though Danish people, who have developed this concept, don’t equate Hygge with going out and buying materialistic items, many others do. So without further ado perhaps a few of these lovely gifts may be a great addition to your home. Think cozy mood, vibe, warmth, and simple hospitality.

A Norwegian Hygge Cozy Kit on Etsy

Scandinavian Hygge Candle

The Hygge Game– Buy on Amazon

Hygge Life–an online store that has many, many Hygge inspired home decor, clothing, and kitchen textiles

Hygge & West–A Cozy Danish online store filled with cozy stuff!

Target has several books on the subject of Hygge–

 

So it’s a start for sure. If I find more really cozy items in the next couple of days I’ll be sure to add them before they sell out. At this time the items in this post are still in stock. It looks like this year is going to be a really Hygge year.

Stay Warm and Cozy & keep your family and friends close to you this holiday season whether by visiting, talking from afar, correspondence, or personal thoughts.

Gratitude

Wonderful Ways to Focus on Gratitude:

  • Gratitude Journal–take five minutes a day to write down what you are grateful for today.
  • Send those you love and/or those that have recently done something special for you–emotional support or hands-on assistance a handwritten thank you note.
  • Show your gratitude to all those around you and take time each day to say”thank you.”
  • Tuck little notes into your children’s lunchboxes, hubby’s lunch or shirt pocket and tell your people how much you appreciate and love them.¬†

Gratitude is more than just little exercises to focus on or wall decor from your local craft and hobby store. Gratitude is a learned process of being thankful. More importantly feeling thankful and blessed even in the worst of times. In a sense being able to see the silver lining in all things. This, of course, can be extremely hard because our default state of mind during bad times is to fall deeper into negativity and believe that there is nothing to be thankful for and everything to be (insert emotion) toward.

It is believed that by practicing kindness and gratitude every day in one small way or another a shift occurs in the way you see things in life. Once this shift occurs it will become a natural part of who you are to include thankfulness and gratefulness in all things that happen to you in your life. Everyday problems in life will be looked at differently, for exampleРinstead of a glass half empty way of thinking, you will see things from the perspective of a glass half full.  So car problems will include being thankful you have a car, and house problems will include being thankful you have a roof over your head, and lastly, work issues will include being thankful you have a job.

With the holidays soon upon us, it’s especially important to take some time to reflect upon all the things in our lives, that we have to be thankful for. I get extremely frustrated at this time of year trying to juggle everything, but in putting this blog post together, I’ve decided to start a gratitude journal before Thanksgiving. I truly believe writing down something every day will keep me focused on being grateful for all the things I already have.¬† This time of year every IG feed and Facebook post is filled with new and shiny things to buy. Looking around my home I realize I already have way more than I can truly appreciate. I’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on new stuff over the years–most of which I rarely have time to sit down and really enjoy. This holiday season I will live each day with intention and refocus on all the things in my life I have to be grateful for–health, marriage, friendships, warm home, food, and precious memories made with the people I love.

Have a lovely and blessed Thanksgiving and I’ll be back at the end of the month with a holiday gift guide and popular well-reviewed Hygge box subscriptions.

Christmas Hampers, Gift Baskets, & Stocking ideas for 2018

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I know, I know, it’s still October. But this year–let’s get a jump on Christmas. If you are like me you’ve already been thinking about the holidays. Sometime around mid-summer, a lot of people begin to think about the months at the end of the year.¬† My family starts budgeting in the summer for Christmas and our Christmas travel.¬† People throughout the world plan November and December travel mid-summer.

Custom made gift orders–well, there is a lot of things that need the full two months time before they’re ready. Those that make custom orders have lines of customers too. My husband and I buy a lot of things from small businesses and food artisans. We buy homemade jellies, knits, blankets, wool socks, some years handmade mittens, and furniture. The wait time on all of that kind of stuff is eight weeks. We booked a winter stay in a busy hotel back in July. Due to time constraints, I’m an accountant and this is the beginning of our busiest season, our Christmas gifts for friends and family have already been purchased.¬† I wholeheartedly think one of the reasons people don’t want to talk about Christmas until the last minute is because of the enormous stress they feel about all it encompasses. And, I get that, I truly do. So let’s take a sneak peek at what’s out there for Christmas 2018–essentially get our toes wet and see if we can’t make Christmas of 2018 more joyful and less hectic.

First up this year my husband and I are going to do a Christmas hamper. Essentially it’s one big stocking for each in a big basket and it’s pretty popular/traditional in the UK. I love the idea and this way we can buy last minute cute gifts and treats for one another to open on Christmas Eve.

You can get extremely creative with your Christmas hamper or stockings this year by custom creating them–you can create hampers/stockings with keto items (cookbooks, drinks, protein snacks), baby themed, newlywed themed, animal stockings (toys, biscuits, chews), media themed (kindle, DVDs, earbuds), candy/chocolate themed and so much more. A special consideration, that we keep in mind to help us focus on what to put in our Christmas hamper, is what are we doing Christmas Eve? Most years after church we are coming home and eating a traditional meal of ribs, scalloped potatoes, and corn and then getting into pj’s and watching an old Christmas classic. So we buy soft flannel pj’s, popcorn, chocolate, a Christmas themed movie (if we see a new one in the store), and a new book to read throughout the holiday season.

Crafty Christmas Hamper Ideas

2018 Trendy Christmas Tree Ideas

Black Friday Expected Items for Sale and Dates

2018 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Expected Specials

Fundraising Ideas for 2018

40 Family Gift Ideas 2018

Small Business Saturday is Saturday, November 24, 2018

Christmas Eve is on a Monday this year and Christmas is on a Tuesday.

Writing this post I am reminded that not everyone celebrates Christmas, and of course, Christmas celebrations are different throughout the world. I grew up in a small town, attending a Lutheran church, and celebrating Christmas as a Christian. Gifts were secondary to the church functions at this time and family gatherings.  As an adult, I have celebrated Christmas in much the same way.

I’m reminded also that not only do a lot of people take offense at shopping and planning early but they also take offense at any decorations for Christmas until AFTER Black Friday takes place. Even then I know a few people who don’t participate in Christmas very well or at all–mainly co-workers. I respect their choices. I respect when someone puts their tree up before Thanksgiving because many times I have heard and seen of people celebrating early due to some very heartwarming, personal reasons such as– a family member is passing away and this is their last Christmas, family members home from their tour of duty or on leave prior to Christmas, scheduled surgery during Christmas so Christmas held early, and family members all in one place + so many more very personal, individual choices associated with decorating and celebrating. I respect their choices. I also try and remind people close to me that not everyone in the universe celebrates Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving originated as a harvest festival–to give many thanks for what we have. But it is better known in America as First Thanksgiving celebrated by the pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620.

I was born and raised in Canada until I was eight and our Thanksgiving was in October and considered a harvest festival to give thanks. Once we moved to the Midwest we began celebrating like everyone else in November. My husband grew up in The Netherlands and though some in his home country do celebrate Thanksgiving his family did not. When they moved to the Midwest they did not begin celebrating Thanksgiving in November like everyone else.¬† In our household, I make a turkey every year and we eat early and then proceed to volunteer the rest of our day serving meals in a local shelter. Once home we put our Christmas tree up because I’m an accountant that is very busy this time of year, and we devote a lot of free time to volunteering during the months of November and December. As people who lead busy lives and have lots of stresses we, all of us,¬† shouldn’t have to explain to people, some who are strangers to us, why we plan or shop early, or decorate and celebrate early.

I seriously think that is part of the reason people get stressed. And money, people get stressed about money, and family get-togethers, and their own expectations and thus dealing ultimately with some disappointment. A little bit at a time, focusing on the spirit of and allowing yourself some grace and this Christmas season can be your best season yet!¬† Until next time– I’ll be sharing this post over at A Stroll Through Life for the 445th Inspire Me Tuesday! Come Join Us!

‚ÄúBe positive. Be true. Be kind.‚ÄĚ
Roy Bennett
 

Simple Gifts

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

By Joseph Brackett 1792
Shaker Dancing Song

Wellness + Comfort + 3 Cozy things for Fall 2018

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What is Wellness? Wellness is a measure of your health and well being. Ask yourself–“Am I well?” What is my optimal or quality health? When you are above the wellness line–you’re living a higher quality of life. When it is below the wellness line the quality of your life is poor.

Here is a quiz to see where you’re at-¬†¬†wellness quiz

Having taken several wellness quizzes before creating this post I would say if you–

  1. drink 8 glasses of water a day (experts say 1/2 your body weight) you’re good.
  2. sleep a minimum of 8 hours every night.
  3. eat 5 servings of veggies and 2-3 servings of fruits each day
  4. sit still and have at least 30 minutes of quiet time a day
  5. genuinely feel good about yourself, where you’re at, your community, and well-being

Comfort is defined as a state of physical ease and freedom from pain and constraint.

What comforts you? How do you provide comfort to your family? Where is your quiet space? Where do you go to think? put your mind at ease?

Here’s where I find comfort and how I provide comfort to my family. #1 I’ve made our bedroom the coziest room in our home. A few years back we started by getting the best bed we could afford and then the highest quality sheets and comforters we could afford. The colors in our bedroom are neutral mixed with nature. So– cream, brown, light green, light blue, and gray. Here and there is a touch of copper/orange/rust with dresser scarves and pictures and figurines of animals found in nature. Our bedroom is truly a sanctuary of comfort and cozy. In it, you will find peace, quiet, and a place to be still. Because sitting still, being still, is very important to the human mind/spirit. Take time to listen to all the sounds around you during a time in your day where there are sounds of birds, trees, and perhaps running water. Have a clear plan of how your day is going to go and when life throws you off course remember that moment of still and redirect yourself back on task. Doing so will help keep your mind at ease.

Beautiful linens, cozy comforters, and soothing lighting can be found at outlets, January white sales, even online at sites like Overstock and Amazon. Comfort & cozy doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Here are 20 cozy bedroom ideas from Apartment Therapy sure to help inspire your cozy bedroom.

When I want to add a bit of warmth and coziness to a room the first thing I do is pull out one of my many treasured sheepskin (faux) rugs. You can buy them on Amazon for as little as $18.00.¬† The second thing I use in my home to add a warm touch is candles, but not the kind that you light. Instead, I buy battery operated candles on Amazon and set them around my home. The third thing I add to my cozy decor is some of my cute ceramic houses with tea lights as an extra cozy touch. You can find these little ceramic houses at Crate and Barrel–here is an example of one–ceramic houses.

I’ll be sharing my post on the lovely blog¬†Love of Home for Sundays at Home.

P.S.Watch out for the color trend spotted for fall–amber!

I purchased two amber apothecary jars from the Hearth and Hand collection at Target (9.99 and 3.99) and then found Ball Jars in Amber–package of 4 for 9.95. So I’m set.

Source

**none of the links I’ve provided are affiliate links** It’s just me being helpful:)

Have a happy cozy fall 2018!

Just Breathe

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Why is the beginning of the new school year stressful? Here’s Why–

Students are stressing about returning to school–fitting in, peer pressure, grade stress, relationship stress, activities stress, and keeping to a schedule stress.

Parents/Teachers are stressing about keeping to a schedule, teaching, finances, new activities, illness, scheduling conflicts between work and school, their kid’s stress, and meal planning.

There is no one way for people to deal with stress. Everyone is different when it comes to stress. One thing that can help everyone cope with stress is to talk about it. Parents with other parents, kids with other kids and with their parents, and teachers with teachers, and teachers with parents. Often times just sitting down and getting it all out there helps alleviate your anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed as well as explain things to those around you, giving them the opportunity to perhaps help you to alleviate your stress and anxiety.

Here are some fabulous resources to help you start the new school year!

 

Happy August!