The holidays are upon us. It’s a beautiful time of crisp air, twinkling lights, cozy smells, children’s excitement … and PEOPLE. The city is full of captivating displays and experiences, and it’s also full of energy-draining social interactions and long wait times. So, should you partake of this portion of the holiday season? I say absolutely! But to keep everyone sane, especially introverts, I wanted to put together some suggestions of meaningful ways to spend the end of this year in less popular hot spots, often your very own home.
Top of the list for an introspective time of peace during December is journaling. Go to the store and find a notebook that calls to you. Go all out and get fancy pens, stencils, whatever is your speed! Do not laugh, I know you have a bustling household right now, but find some quiet time and space in your evening. Warm up cider or hot cocoa, or pour a glass of wine, and savor at least 15 minutes when you can to explore the prompts on the free printable below. These are also great to read aloud to your partner and each answer, in case you’re needing some connection time during the holiday rush.
Coloring has increased its market share for adults in recent years. It makes sense, as coloring is a therapeutic-type activity. While you’re scouring Pinterest for the perfect craft for your children, try your hand at making adult designs. These are just for fun, but they really can play into making your journal next level if you choose.
When looking through all the years of holidays, some presents stand out, but mostly our experiences stay front of mind. It is simple to create lasting memories with your children that cost very little and are special just to your household.
A Night Before Christmas – My best friend and her husband take turns reading this cherished story every year on Christmas Eve. Whichever adult is not doing the reading runs outside with bells and jingles them toward the end of the story, sending the kids into squeals. Well, the oldest two aren’t getting as much out of it anymore, but their baby of the family still runs upstairs excited and dives into bed, so Santa can make his entrance.
Holiday box – No matter your religion, and also for us secular folks, a surprise box for your kids to spend an evening together is a caring touch this time of year. You can enclose a favorite movie, hot chocolate, new pajamas, and popcorn. Some families go right into movie night, while others choose to take their cocoa and popcorn on the road to look at lights.
Neighborhood lights – Which brings me to another favorite: simply driving around town looking at lights. It can happen virtually anywhere, but I usually make a trip over to the Ward Parkway/State Line area to gaze at the impressive productions.
Friendsgiving & Friendsmas
Around three years ago, my best friends and I decided we were focusing less on holiday obligations and more on quality time with each other. We cook big ol’ meals–sometimes traditional fare, sometimes not. The gift exchange is simple, one present for each kid and each adult. Honestly, it’s not an all-about-kids evening. The kids start entertaining each other, and then us adults are left to being…well…adults! We drink copious amounts, listen to music, talk about grown-up stuff, put the kids to bed, and then play games!
I’ll go ahead and brag about my contribution to Friendsgiving & Friendsmas, and that’s baked goods. Baking is a classic holiday activity that takes place in my second favorite place to be alone at home (the first is my back deck when it’s nice out). Whether you want to make many treats to have your kids pass out and share with your neighbors, or a big showstopper for a gathering, winter wouldn’t be the same without sweet smells from the oven and sampling the guiltless sugary delights. I say guiltless because I refuse to accept any shame during this time of year, and I press that upon you all. My biggest hits so far:
Enjoy the bliss of the season, every child’s face of wonder, every friend’s full laugh, and stop to find serenity and be present in all the moments you can.