Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Simple Memories of the Holidays

I love the period of time between October 31st and January 1st!  The leaves are changing colors and falling on the ground. The smells, the sights, the colors.

I'm not just talking about Christmas. I love the entire time period.

I love the period of time between October 31st and January 1st! The leaves are changing colors and falling on the ground. The smells, the sights, the colors. I love everything about it.

I'm not just talking about Christmas. I'm talking about Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Christmas shopping, yard work, decorating, baking, and more.

Watching the leaves turn red, orange and yellow, then they fall and it's on to raking and jumping into the piles. Finding just the right present for that special someone. Making and wearing the coolest costume to a fun party. Spending hours baking cookies with the kids and taste testing them of course.

My favorite memories of this time aren't really extraordinary. For Halloween I remember my parents dressing me up as an alien. They painted my face and arms green and even turned my red wagon into a really awesome space ship. I even won a prize in our town's costume contest. (The green paint was a bit longer lasting then I hoped, but that's another story all together.)

Thanksgiving reminds me of my grandmom's house and her giving me a special job of making the celery with cream cheese for dinner. It was a little side dish, but one of my favorites. I remember sitting at the kid's table and eating sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and of course turkey. I can still smell all the delicious food.

My absolute favorite thing about Christmas is sitting on the floor with the Montgomery Ward, Sears and J.C. Penney's catalog. Dreaming of all the toys and making a super long wish list. I don't remember whether I got anything on my list or not, but that didn't really matter. I just have a blast looking through the books and dreaming. I still love browsing through catalogs to this day. Just dreaming.

The holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or whichever holiday you celebrate, doesn't have to be a extravagant. Simple traditions are the most memorable for me. It really is the little things that mean the most.

If you don't already, start some traditions for your family this season. Again, it doesn't need to be fancy or extravagant. Start small or go big – just get started.

Here are a couple easy ways to create more memorable holidays for your family.

I love putting out lots of decorations all season long - mostly older decorations that have been in the family for years. I absolutely always use the decoration, ornaments and artwork that my children created. Each decoration has a history or story. Some are as simple as “I bought this because I thought it was really beautiful” or “This belonged to your grandpop's mommy.”

For Halloween we always carve a pumpkin. The kids and I get our hands deep in the guts of the pumpkin and clean it out (no spoons allowed). Then my hubby carves the design the kids choose. We even save the seeds and plant a few each spring.

Each year I make sure to take a family photo to document how our family has grown and changed. I love seeing my kids when they were little, but am amazed at how much they've grown. It's easy to document their costumes on Halloween, your Thanksgiving table and decorations and of course Christmas morning. I really enjoy taking a photo of my kids in front of the Christmas tree.

We always put up a Christmas tree - it didn't matter if it was a big or small, live or artificial one.

We've collected lots of ornaments over the years and most of them are handmade by the children. If your tree is lacking ornaments you can always tie bows on the branches, create photo decorations with construction paper, aluminum foil stars, and the wonderful popcorn garland works well too.

I love, love, love baking cookies. Ok well, not really the baking, it's more of the eating of cookies I love. Have the kids help cut and decorate the cookies. If you are not interested in baking from scratch simply purchased premixed cookie dough. Just roll it out, cut it, decorate and bake. Make a mess and have fun.

Have fun, spend time with loved ones, create memories. Most importantly, it's not the stuff – it's the people and memories that make the season special.

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