Holiday Traditions

I don’t know about you but my life hasn’t turned out quite the way I expected. I thought I’d have 6 or 7 kids by now and I imagined all the things we’d do to celebrate the holidays. Instead I’m stepmom to a teenage boy who doesn’t have the patience for most of the things I wish we could do, and when we don’t have him for the weekend it’s just the hubster and I. It’s hard to do a lot of the typical holiday things with just adults. So, I’ve spent a lot of the time in our short marriage trying to figure out family traditions for the 2-3 of us. And I definitely haven’t figured things out yet.

Mostly we experiment and everyone gives a wishy-washy review of whatever it is we’ve done that I’d hoped would be a winner, something we’d love and do again and again. But not so much. I find myself getting lazy about it all or worse, having a bad attitude about it all. It’s really been a struggle. So, I’m sending a plea out to the universe (particularly to you parents of teenagers or those of you without kids.) What are your family traditions? What do you do each year to create memories and cement bonds? I’d love to hear your ideas, and feel free to venture beyond Christmas traditions. I can’t wait to be inspired and start some amazing traditions with my little family!

 

Music Monday ~ Garth Brooks

I’m not sure how I missed this one last year but I’m listening to it on repeat this year. I absolutely love the message (and I love watching Garth Brooks get all emotional in the video.) Such a wonderful reminder of what’s really important. And it’s always fun to add a new favorite to my holiday playlist!

Light the World

There is always a need for more light in the world and I love when there are easy ways to help encourage us to do what we can every day. Yes, there are great big causes that need our help but sometimes those can seem a little overwhelming to get involved with, require too much time or commitment on our part, or the problems themselves just seem so big that one person can’t really make a difference (though I don’t believe that, it is very easy to feel that way!) But when you’ve got opportunities to help a neighbor or do something simple a little closer to home, often where you can see the difference you’ve made, sometimes that makes it a little easier.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka The Mormons) has created just such an initiative. Their advent calendar (Light the World) provides 25 days of ideas to spread the light of Christ, the spirit of Christmas, and make the world a little bit better along the way. Check it out! #LightTheWorld

And I’d love to hear about your own ways to serve or celebrate throughout the season. Any advent or countdown traditions? Give them a shout out in the comments below!

 

Out and About ~ Downtown Salt Lake City

In an effort to try and get over the turkey coma from the past weekend, the hubster and I headed into the city to usher in the Christmas season with the rest of humanity. First up was the requisite pilgrimage to the amazing Temple Square to see the lights there, and then, pushed along by the crowd we wandered to see the lights and windows at the City Creek shopping center followed by two different productions at the relatively new Eccles Center. (What a fabulous venue! It’s gorgeous and there’s not a bad seat in the house.)

Friday night’s show was a musical version of Elf, based on the movie starring Will Farrell. While it didn’t quite measure up to the original (I don’t think anyone could compete with Farrell’s exuberance) it did have added song and dance numbers and was just great fun overall.  Monday, we journeyed back to see Jewel’s holiday extravaganza. She shared the stage with her two brothers and father, who sing and write songs as well. They told stories of their childhood growing up on a homestead in Alaska, and she was candid about her struggles with anxiety, shoplifting and her health before being discovered, interspersed with songs of course! Nearly half the show was Christmas songs, backed by her band while the other half she sang some greatest hits accompanying herself on the guitar. She’s got one of those voices that you either love or hate (her background in yodeling definitely influences her all-around vocal style) and I loved hearing it fill the hall, particularly on the nearly ethereal high notes. The whole weekend was a great way to kick start the holiday festivities.

Have you got any traditions of your own that help you welcome the holidays? I’d love your suggestions in the comments below!