Thursday, November 18, 2010

14 Tips for A Fresh, Festive Holiday!

I thought I'd take a few minutes and share with you all some ways to have a fresh, festive holiday this year. With Thanksgiving almost here, and Christmas right around the corner after that...we all need some new ideas to keep the holidays fresh!
1. My first and favorite way to have a festive holiday is to use pine scented candles, fragrance oils, and other home fragrance products. I occasionally use other holiday-themed scents as well, but pine is my all-time favorite.
2.  I love to bake.  I used to bake frosted sugar cookies for all my Dad's co-workers, but my new favorite is banana nut bread, for all our friends, family and Church family. Adding chocolate chips in the bread makes it extra special too! There's something about the smell of fresh baked banana bread that just makes the house feel like home.
3. We also like to play a lot of games on the holiday weekends. Thanksgiving of course gives us a lot of time to spend as a family, and we are always thankful for quality family time...whether it's playing an old classic like Chess, or one of our new favorites.
4. Decorating the house with fall and holiday theme decor is another fresh way to keep this season fun! Leaves, turkeys, pumpkin pie, pine wreaths, snowflakes...all of these make for a great holiday flair! And of course, lights and tinsel are a must.
5. My 2 little sisters enjoy setting the table with special dishes and adding a holiday-themed centerpiece as well.  Using fancy glass table settings makes the dinner table look much more festive!
6. Playing Christmas hymns is another of my favorite holiday activities. I listen to many of the songs throughout the whole year, but Hark The Herald just sounds better when there's snow on the ground!
7. Traveling to visit family or friends, or having people visit us, is part of what makes the holidays special. There's nothing like having some good friends or family members over, especially when you haven't seen them in a long time! We will be visiting with some very special friends during Thanksgiving, and are really looking forward to it.
8. Taking a walk or playing outside in the snow with the kids is another winter activity our whole family enjoys. Sometimes the whole family gets outside for a rousing snowball fight, or we enjoy taking a walk around town and seeing all the holiday decorations.
9. While it seems like a small thing, I really enjoy making a cup of hot cocoa or coffee during this season, and sitting outside on the porch. I love cold weather, and I recently told someone that half the fun of winter is bundling up and enjoying the cold! Forget the heat...just put on a jacket, and make a cup of coffee...enjoy! Winter and the holiday season only comes once a year :)
10. Read the story of the first Thanksgiving or the account of Jesus' birth on the respective holidays. For me, I never get tired of hearing either, and it's a good way to remain thankful and keep the holidays in perspective. Thanksgiving isn't just about eating more than we should, and Christmas is more than just a day to get gifts!
11. I am one of those people that actually enjoys holiday shopping, whether I do it online or at actual stores. I even enjoy the rush and crowds at retail stores, because I like getting special gifts for people that I love. I already have some really great gifts that I know my family will love, and can't wait to give them out!
12. Black Friday shopping has become a tradition in our family...even if we end up hardly buying anything, or missing out on what we wanted most. For me, it's not about getting a super buy on the newest electronic...I have fun standing in line for a couple hours in the cold early morning, chatting, laughing, and ending up exhausted!
13. Sharing baked goods or gift baskets with neighbors and friends is something our family gets involved in. This year we even purchased fruit baskets for our UPS deliverer and postmistress, since we keep them so busy! It means more than just a card, and I have fun picking out the perfect basket.
14. Use the holiday season as a time to reflect on what is important. I know it's the busiest season of the year, and we often get caught up in the rush. But I enjoy taking a few minutes here and there, realizing how thankful I am to be here with my family, enjoying yet another wonderful winter holiday!

These are just some of the ways we as a family ensure that we have a fun holiday season. So, let me know if you have any other ideas for a fresh, festive holiday experience! What are some of your family's holiday traditions? I'd love to hear your ideas :) Who knows...maybe it would become one of our new traditions!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Snuggle blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

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