This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Danone and JM Smucker. The opinions and text are all mine.
“How to holiday with the best of ‘em” just felt like the most appropriate title for the season we're currently in. Haha! The two months following Halloween are quite possibly my most favorite months of the entire year — full of warmth and cheer and general happiness. Of course, there’s always the hustle and bustle of buying presents and dealing with crazy uncles at family gatherings and all that... but those things all pale in comparison to the joy we feel at Christmas!! Am I right or am I right??
There ARE, however, a few things you can do to make the holiday season an even smoother one, so I thought I’d share my favorite little hosting tips here for ya!
1) Load up on the coffee. Offer it to everyone around you haha! Listen, this season is tiring, Y'all. Exciting but tiring. The kids are usually all messed up from daylight savings still, THEY’RE excited about presents and wake up every morning, asking if it’s Christmas yet, there are parties to attend, lights to put up, decor to put out, gifts to wrap, all of it. Now, don’t get me wrong.. those are some of my VERY favorite parts of Christmas!! Haha!! But caffeinating before tackling those things — that’s just some sound advice ;) don’t forget to throw in your favorite holiday creamer to make it extra special. We just discovered 1850™ brand coffee at Target in the Pioneer Blend - Roast and HOLY SMOKES, it’s delicious. Strong, robust flavor, super smooth. I paired it with my fave So Delicious Dairy-Free coconut creamer in French vanilla and it’s basically perfection! I love that they use organic, non-GMO coconuts and have no soy or carrageenan in them!! Huge win. Plus, you can always add a candy cane in for a little extra cheer, too ;)
2) Keep it simple. Decor, presents, your schedule. I tend to want to do ALL THE HOLIDAY THINGS, but then the season passes by so quickly and I look back and I’m not sure I even really got to fully enjoy any of those things. Don’t be so busy and schedule SO many things that you miss out on the entire point of spending quality time together as a family!
3) Speaking of presents, maybe this is the year you try out the 4-gift rule! We’ve done it this way since the kids were born (so this will be our 5th Christmas doing it, plus birthdays) and absolutely swear by it. We buy 4 gifts for each kiddo — something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read. That’s it. It’s super flexible, super open-ended and SO MUCH FUN!! You can actually really play around with the gifts you choose in those categories and it doesn’t feel like you’re limited at all! Plus, this way every kid gets the same NUMBER of presents (even if the gifts inside vary based on where they are in life) and honestly, it keeps us from over-buying! We have to really stop and think about each gift we’re giving and we aim for stuff that encourages imagination and play (instead of toys that are used once and then discarded). Give it a try (and then tell me if you do)!!
4) Open your home. There are a lot of people out there who don’t have family nearby or don’t have anywhere to go for the holidays. Be aware of who they are — identify them and reach out! I love family traditions and having that special time with JUST us (and we should have some of that, for sure!!) but I also don’t want to be so tied down to the expectations that I miss opportunities to invite people into our homes and lives. You never know what a small gesture of kindness can do for someone’s heart.
5) Keep electronics out! Make a basket for everyone to put their phones in. Encourage people to talk. Play some Christmas music in the background. Set out a game to keep hands’ busy. Make sure YOU set an example and aren’t constantly scrolling when people are around (preachin’ to myself here haha)!! These moments are over so quickly, this time with family and friends and our babies.. let’s not waste it on social media. Take your pictures, post your well wishes and then put it away and engage <3
6) Let people contribute. This is a hard one for me — I’m a LITTLE BIT of a control freak haha! And I really do like things to be/look a certain way. BUT doing it all myself is not only incredibly stressful, but it also takes away from someone else’s joy in helping! Talk about a lose-lose, y'all. Holidays don’t have to be perfect (again, preaching to myself haha) — it really, truly is about being together. It’s about people. Investing in others’ lives. Community. Those are the things that stand long after we leave this earth... those are the things that matter. Let’s not miss the main point in the midst of the busy. People. People matter most.
I’m so excited for this Christmas season. I’m excited to put some of these things into practice in my own life and really take time to stop and slow down and adjust my focus. I cannot wait to see how these small changes make such a huge difference in “how we holiday” this year and I hope they help you, too! Also!! Don’t forget to download the Cartwheel app and save up to 20% on participating coffee and creamers from 11/11-12/22. You’re gonna need it ;)