‘Tis the Season!!

Baby Christmas

I LOVE the holidays! For many the holiday season doesn’t officially get underway until early December. For me, I start getting into the spirit of things the week of Thanksgiving, sometimes as early as that first week in November where I’ve been known to hum a few Christmas songs, much to my husband, The Grinch’s disdain.

Now with the holidays in full swing I’m off shopping, decorating, sorting through Christmas cookie recipes, catching up with friends, sticking with traditions, and creating some new ones.

Christmas shopping is always fun. It’s the one time all year that my shopping is guilt-free!! I know it can be exhausting, but what I’m finding is working for me this year is doing it all in small doses. Every day, or at least every other day, I force myself to chip away at the list. Whether it’s a stocking gift, a return/exchange, or a new gift, I do something, just so I’m not feeling overwhelmed as we draw closer to Christmas Eve. And I do it during the DAY! Now, I have an advantage here because for the first time in years, I’m able to shop during the day vs. fight the crowds on weekends or evenings. Ahhh, the beauty of owning your own consulting business!

Martha Stewart Cookies / AllRecipes.com / Food Network

Then there’s what I do in the kitchen. I’m a huge fan of baking cookies. My butt isn’t, but I am. Last year I think I over-did the cookie consumption as I gained about 5 pounds that have yet to come off, despite my running and exercising. Many of my friends attribute it to our “age”, but I think it has more to do with my constant eating of said cookies. I recently picked up Martha Stewart Cookies, and much like Julie Powell went through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I’d love to the same with my Martha’s cookie book. My problem is we wouldn’t be able to get through all those cookies fast enough. Although if I plan things out well, I could bring a lot of them to our annual neighborhood Cookie Exchange. This little get-together is bad for the waistline but a great way to try out other cookies, and package up leftovers for dinner parties or cookie trays for gifts (guess what our teachers are getting this year?!) ‘m also loving my Food Network 12 Days to Cookies and AllRecipe.com Christmas Cookie Count Down. It’s the one time where I look forward to opening up emails that look and smell like spam (ewww, not to be mistaken for that canned human dogfood). Did I mention I love baking cookies? I find it all the more fun because I have 3 girls who share their mother’s love for cooking, baking and cookies.

Another of our traditions has been our Christmas puzzle. Every year we pick out a new puzzle (or bring out the tried-and-true Charlie Brown 550 piece puzzle) and lay it out on our coffee table for us to put together during the month of December. I vaguely remember Aunt Judy doing this at her home every Christmas. Hmmm… I usually start us off by building the outside of it, then the kids add pieces throughout the month. They have little patience with it, and get easily frustrated so I plug along at it and eventually they see that there’s an end in sight and join in. (Translation … Mom does the hard work and they finish it up and proclaim, “You couldn’t have done it without me!”)

As for a new tradition I may add … a new blogger friend, Holly, posted recently how she does treasure hunts for her kids on Christmas morning. What a great idea! If I get my act together I’m thinking I’ll try to put something together for the girls for either our big Mommy/Daddy gift that all 3 will get/share, or for their Christmas Eve stockings.

What are your holiday traditions? I enjoy hearing what other people do during the holidays that makes it a special and memorable season for them.

And I know that it’s not the same for everyone, some people have an especially hard time with the holidays due to loved ones lost, or this year in particular, because of the economy.  We’ll all have tough holidays to get through in our lifetimes and so for now, I’m enjoying another great one for my family. For those having a hard time of it in 2009, my prayers and thoughts are with you wishing you a much improved and blessed 2010.

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