We were together. I forget the rest. ~Walt Whitman
The first Thanksgiving I ever hosted at my house, I stayed up all night (with the company of Counting Crows) making pies and Pilgrim hats and a giant replica of the Mayflower. The day was a blur. I remember wishing I felt better and more, um…..awake…so that I could enjoy the day with my family. The table scape was darling, but my memories are hazy. I was so consumed with being the perfect hostess, that I forgot the most important lesson of all—making my guests feel loved and seen. I’ve been back peddling ever since. I struggle between wanting everything to be perfect and delicious and wanting to just sit and enjoy the people I love the most. I want to make beautiful memories, not beautiful tables. Every step of the way, I have to remind myself that all these things should help me serve and love better. Here are a few things to help!
- Make memories with food—Aren’t many of our favorite memories mingled up with the food we enjoy together? Grandma’s cherry pie or Aunt Betty’s stuffing or Momma’s mint candies. I have an endless appetite for variety, but I love making some of the same foods for the holidays, so that even the smell of bread baking makes them think of home. Start now, perfecting one or two recipes that can become your signature dishes. I have several, including the pumpkin chipotle soup and homemade honey wheat bread, but I’m working on a roasted butternut squash soup and some salted caramel chocolate chip cookies that I hope to share with you soon. Get in the kitchen and have some fun!
- Make memories with laughter—We laugh far too little, don’t you think? That’s why I love scheduling a karaoke day or in general acting a fool with my kids, because if nothing else, we will most surely laugh all day. This is why I love Melanie and old school SNL videos and clogging videos of D. Ray White. Laugh more and do it with your family. Life is too serious and we need to find reasons to laugh. There are lots of them. Play games that make you laugh, play music that makes you laugh. Just laugh.
- Make memories with tradition—Kids love knowing what to expect, especially at the holidays. The more traditions you can have and keep, the better. Candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve is so special, as are warm cozy fires on Thanksgiving day. Traditions are important—they help us to know who we are and from where we’ve come. I LOVE the quote by Walt Whitman. We were together. I forget the rest.
I’d love to know some of the ways you and your family keep stress at bay and keep holiday memories alive! And can you believe just one more day of this 31 Days series! It’s hard to believe. I may sleep for first whole week of November!
Challenge Day 30: Print Ruth’s holiday planning workbook. Take some time to set your goals and priorities, menu and budget, for this holiday season. Be sure to block out a few days in your schedule for rest and laughter and quality time at home with your family. Think of one or two family traditions you would like to establish this year and make a plan to follow through with them.
Be sure to read Ruth’s corresponding post, Less Holiday Overkill.
Be sure to check out Crystal’s thoughts on Less Surface Clutter/More Art from yesterday’s post!