This is Day 27 of our 31 Days of Less and More series.  To read all the posts in order, start with Day 1 and check out our overview page to see the topics for the entire month.


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!


10 comments on “31 Days of Less and More, Day 30 {More Memories}”

  1. I am going to miss this series!!! I, too, let go of trying to be the perfect hostess and enjoy the get-togethers so much more!!! We actually host all of the holidays at our house now. It’s win-win for everyone! Everyone brings a dish so I am not in the kitchen cooking everything. I have to worry about one or two dishes just like everyone else. Guests know me well enough they know my house isn’t going to be spotless. It doesn’t bother me and it doesn’t bother them (they are just glad they don’t have to host or clean their house :)) AND I don’t have to worry about what my two young, energetic boys are doing in someone else’s house. Love the quote by Walt Whitman!

  2. Constant battle to not let perfectionism make me miss the boat! Thankfully with age I have come to appreciate myself more AND know what to let go of. My girls are also at an age they love to help (and can), so that makes it more fun. One loves to decorate, the other loves the kitchen!!!! Perfect for mom. I clean, we all pick one favorite recipe and join in making it. Last two years I have actually cooked the turkey on the grill-makes it more fun, gets me outside for some fresh air etc… Pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice cake and pecan pie are musts. The afternoon is about naps, football and games.

  3. I love this!

    You’ve got me thinking about my “signature” dishes now. I love that idea. I know I can’t cook everything well (for instance, I stink at pie making), but I can make a few dishes pretty well and my family loves them, looks forward to them.

    And, yes. We need to loosen up more and just have fun with our friends and family and especially our kids. You’re so wise. Every time I read your blog (which is ALL the time), I always think that I want to be just like you one day. But, I know, I need to be just like me, only that better version of me – the one God made me to be. 😉

    Love, love, LOVED this series.

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