Whether you started decking your halls as the clock struck midnight on November 1st or you’re waiting until after Thanksgiving to put up your tree, the holiday season is officially upon us! Starbucks’ red cups have arrived, the Hallmark channel has begun its annual ‘Countdown to Christmas’ and we have visions of sugar plums, ahem, cookies dancing in our heads.
That being said, between all the festive get-togethers, shopping, wrapping, cooking, and decor, November and December have a tendency to fly by and we’re fumbling through “Auld Lang Syne” before we know it. Today, we’re rounding up 8 family-friendly ways to ring in the holidays and make the most of the season!
I love writing, baking, and yoga. So much so that in my early days of blogging, I had a site called Baking In Yoga Pants, combining my love for the three. I’ve dreamt of doing each full-time. Sitting down daily to write a novel, opening a bakery, running a studio.
During my yoga teacher
training, we did an exercise where we jotted down all the things we wanted for
our future lives inside a circle, and all the things we no longer wanted
outside its perimeter. Of course, writing, baking, and yoga found their way
inside my bubble. As did my husband, kids, dogs, and a house with a fenced in
yard. The whole vision combined to create my utopia.
The family and the
home are part of my reality now. And yet, all too often, I find myself taking
for granted those things I once dreamt of having. I get caught up in the
everyday shuffle that comprises this chapter of life and am so busy looking
down at the high chair that needs to be wiped, the floors that need to be
vacuumed, the dog food bowls that need to be filled, and the laundry that needs
to be folded, that I forget to look around. At the family we’ve created, the
walls we’ve filled with memories, the traditions we’ve established, and the
house that has become our home.
Growing up in the 90s, I experienced my fair share of schoolhouse and playground “politics.”
I was bookish and introverted – often asked by my more extroverted and raucous peers, “why don’t you talk?” (Spoiler: I did talk and still do, though I usually find comfort in being the quiet observer rather than the vocal center.)
I stood back, afraid to speak up, I suppose, when classmates
tied a less-popular boy to a tree with a jump rope (no physical harm done, although
I can’t speak on any emotional toll) for their own entertainment.
It sounds like a math equation, but it was really a mind game my best friend and I used to play in high school in order to gauge the passing of time. The summer after graduation, we measured the weight of the weeks ahead, counting down until I moved into my college dorm room, away from our hometown, away from the memories that had filled every free second of that final year of childhood. “Two months forward until August,” we concluded. “But two months ago was April. Wow, that feels forever ago. We have so much time left.”
A few days ago, I enlisted the help of my 2-year-old while making a batch of brownies. (Actually, they were cookie-brownies: the kind from Annie’s that is essentially a brownie with a cookie on top — you’re welcome.) I helped her stir the mix, let her lick the spatula, and asked her to scoop the cookie dough with a little spoon. While it was baking, we turned the oven light on and she stood in front of the door, alternating between patient self-reminders of “they’re cooking!” and impatient exclamations of “wanna eat!” Once they were cooled, she tasted her very first cookie-brownie, somehow even more delicious I think, because she helped bake them.
There’s a lot I love about watching my daughter discover things about the world, but arguably one of the cutest is seeing her get excited about her favorite foods. A few weeks ago, I purchased a pack of muffins from the bakery, eliciting a squeal of “Ooooh a muffin!” She’ll announce everything on her plate at lunch — “PBJ! Cheese! Crackers!” — and she’s become inexplicably fascinated with one of my cookbooks, asking questions about everything she sees.
Halloween is just around the corner, and depending upon the kind of person you are, you might have absolutely nothing planned. (Unless you bought your costumes back in July, which is seemingly when Target started putting their Halloween section together because time is a flat circle these days.)
If you have kids, they probably only have candy on the brain (or, if they’re too young to understand the concept of Trick-or-Treat, the break in routine is excitement enough). But as an adult, especially a millennial, there’s probably something you’re thinking about more: The costumes. And, subsequently, the Instagram post. Right? Right.
I have most of my “serious” conversations over text these days. As a mom of a 2-year-old, I only have a handful of quiet pockets of time each day, most of which are usually spent catching up on work, answering emails, doing laundry (or at least thinking about doing laundry), and some form of self-care, which typically entails lying on the couch and staring into space for as long as possible. Gone are the days when I could spend an hour (or more) on the phone with my best friends, or G-chat into oblivion during a lazy afternoon.
Getting into it over text isn’t ideal, in part because I overthink everything, particularly when I’m talking about something serious — or revealing something raw. A few months ago, I found myself in one of those ~serious~ group texts with my two best friends from college, trying to form words and sentences to articulate thoughts that had only existed, up until that point, in a foggy loop inside my brain. In typical fashion, I followed up a giant blue brick of text with a few emojis and “Sorry to unleash on you guys LOL.”
As customary for true friends, they responded immediately with “Don’t apologize” / “You have nothing to be sorry for.” And then, one of them added: “We’ll always hold space for your feelings. You can talk to us about anything.”
I’ll be walking my son in his stroller, watching him pull at his socks and kick his legs happily as he woofs back at dogs in the neighborhood. I’m usually listening to a podcast about motherhood, nodding my head as the women I’ve self-declared as friends talk about how they do mornings and meal times and meet other moms.
I’ll catch a glimpse of a bumper sticker as a minivan rolls by. Something about dance or soccer. My mind will start to wander. I’ll begin imagining recitals and open fields. I’ll think of our blonde little boy chasing a ball. I picture buns and tutus. Orange slices and Gatorade. Cheering on sidelines and carpool lines.