Sunday, October 5, 2014

31 Days to a Peaceful Holiday Season: Taming the Traditions

Welcome to Almond Place! This month, I'm participating in the Write 31 Days and focusing on ways to make our holiday season a little calmer this year.  Each of these daily posts can be found HERE if you'd like to go back to the beginning and read them all.

I think one of the reasons why the holidays are so comforting is the ritual involved in most of them.  We grow up with things being done a certain way....comfort foods, the familiar tunes, smells, events and objects we hold so dear.  

With these traditions comes a sense of obligation....I remember that episode of Friends when they celebrate Thanksgiving and every single member needs their potatoes prepared a different way.  In classic Monica fashion, she has a meltdown and caves under the pressure of needing to be perfect while accommodating every single person's tradition.

Thanks to Pinterest, we are now also bombarded with images of every single tradition you "should" be doing.  Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE Pinterest, but it can be hard sometimes to distance yourself from it when all you see are amazing projects, meals and perfectly decorated homes. 

Pinterest holidays are simply NOT sustainable.

Andrew 2008
Andrew & Jacob 2009

For our little family, we have narrowed down a few outings and traditions that we will observe starting this week.  Our list of events looks a little something like this:  Canadian Thanksgiving with the traditional meal, Trick-or-treating on Halloween, Boo-ing a couple of neighbors, pumpkin patch, Family pictures, Fine Arts night at our school, American Thanksgiving with the traditional meal, ZooLights, Polar Express, Chinese food on Christmas Eve, Holy Day of Darkness.

Our of our favorites is taking the kids to Zoolights.  We've gone every single year since we started dating. It's so awesome to watch our family grow each year through these pictures!

Andrew 2010
Jacob 2011
I don't stress about too much else.  For us, the events as traditions trump the "stuff" traditions.  I would love to be able to make everything from scratch, and have every shelf looking perfectly and have handprints/footprints of the kids each year.  But the reality is, that's just not sustainable for me.  So we focus on doing things that the kids will truly remember.  

The Fam 2012
One of the things I do intentionally do for Christmas time, is I purchase each of them a Christmas's usually pewter. Of course when they move out and have trees of their own, they will take these with them. Last year, I also participated in December Daily where I scrapbooked a story each day in December. I loved it and I'm thinking I will do it again this year.  You can bet that I'm planning that book out now so that I'm not scrambling at the last minute!
Grace 2013
Ultimately, YOU have to decide what's going to work for you.  Trying to honor everyone else's traditions in addition to your own is a recipe for disaster.  So today, think about which traditions are truly important to your family and see if it lines up with the type of holiday season you're trying to enjoy.  Make sure that the pressure to get everything right and everything done doesn't get in your way of actually savoring and enjoying those traditions!

I'm linking up: Garay TreasuresLiving in this SeasonOak & Oats: Week's EndWe Are THAT Family: WMFW


  1. I love the idea of ornaments each Christmas. This will be my son's second Christmas and we did this last year. I do love the pewter idea though!!! All my ornaments are Barbie and I do love them but my husband not so much haha! It will be nice that your children with have gender neutral items for their tree one day haha!! Love your posts so much on this challenge, thank you!

    1. Thanks! That was my reasoning behind the pewter...although it's easy for them to add up $$ quickly! I love the Lisa Leonard ones and the Vintage Pearl ones as well :-) Thanks so much for following along!

  2. I'm so glad to have come across your blog through Beth's link up! Where in Canada are you from? I am from/live in Saskatchewan. I love your focus on doing things and making memories as opposed to buying stuff. That's actually been a huge theme of my year, learning to live more simply and intentionally.
    Happy almost Thanksgiving!

  3. Aw what a great post and reminder to keep the holidays simple and traditional with room for reflecting on the importance of why we celebrate. You make me wish Christmas started tomorrow :) Thanks for linking up! Rachel xo