1. DOG/PUPPY IN ANTLERS
2: MUG OF HOT CHOCOLATE
3: GRINCH PHOTO SHOOT
4: WRAPPED IN CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
5: GRINCH THEME
If you celebrate Christmas, it's likely that you have a few traditions within your family. Sometimes, when we share our traditions, we hear one that we like from other families and adopt it into our own.
So, with that in mind, here are a few of my family Christmas traditions:
1: MATCHING CHRISTMAS PAJAMAS
2: READING THE CHRISTMAS STORIES
3: OPENING A GAME AND PLAYING IT ON
My family's side has a get-together where Santa stops in to bring an early Christmas present. After a certain age, my mom stopped sending the gift off to Santa and just gave it to us herself.
It's always a game, and we always play it when we return from the get-together. Since there is no get-together this year, we will get to spend more time playing our games and eating yummy snacks!
4: BAKING TOGETHER
One thing I love to do around the holidays with my mom is baking. We will make all sorts of Christmas treats for our family to enjoy the morning of Christmas.
We make things like rum balls, chocolate oatmeal no-bake cookies, sausage balls, rice crispy treats, rolo pretzels, and much more.
I find baking to be fun and I love when I hear that something I made tastes good!
5: FINDING THE NEW ORNAMENT ON THE TREE
Each year, my mom buys or we make a new ornament that had something to do with the year.
This was the year that I found out I would be the drum major of my college's marching band. And, as you can see, we did hand-made ornaments this year.
My mom made this one! However, in a year where she buys them and we don't know which is which, we stand around the tree, staring intently until we find the new addition to the tree.
This is a tradition Jonathan and I have also adopted and I hope to do with my future children!
1: SEND OUT A VIRTUAL INVITATION
First things first, pick a date and get a virtual invitation out to your attendees. There are a ton of free websites out there where you can create your own unique invitation which you can download and embed into an email. One of my favorite websites is Canva.com. You can find a ton of templates, or can upgrade for premium access options.
2: FIND OR CREATE GAMES
Since this event will likely have to be virtual, as I know mine is, you'll need to find some games you can play over Zoom or video chat. I've become somewhat of a holiday game guru in my office.
I love the Christmas/Holiday jeopardy, but you can also find plenty of Kahoot or Family Feud games out there, or make your own!
3: COME UP WITH A PLAN FOR FOOD/SNACKS
As I mentioned, my office usually does a potluck event where we all bring a dish and have lunch together. Since we don't want anyone bringing their food in in case of contamination, we considered a few ideas:
4: HOST YOUR PARTY
Now that you've done all the leg-work, it's time to enjoy your party. For me this year, I'll be the game hostess. I usually do this every year, but the game is going to be the main activity.
Put on your best holiday gear, or just a big smile, and celebrate with your team. It's been a tough year, and you all deserve a break to enjoy an hour with one another!
1. A SUBSCRIPTION BOX
2. VACATIONS OR EXPERIENCES
If you have an adventurous loved one or friend, a vacation or experience may be a great gift. This could be a family vacation, tickets to a concert or the opportunity to drive your dream car around a race track. The options are unlimited. Make sure you know what the recipient loves before purchasing. Vacations and experiences are generally pretty expensive, so you want to hit the nail on the head when you purchase this alternative gift.
3. MAKE THEM A LORD OR LADY
No, the Keeping Up with the Kardashians scene where Scott Disick became a Lord in the UK was not faked.
I’ve seen a ton of ads on Facebook where you can, for a nominal fee, make someone you love a Lord or Lady in various countries. I think it would be super interesting, and a fun thing to joke around about.
4. DONATE TO A CAUSE
If you have someone in your life who really doesn’t like receiving presents themselves, you can always give them the gift of donating to their favorite cause in their name. If your loved one is a die-hard supporter of a reasonable cause, consider donating on their behalf. This could include a wildlife adoption where you can adopt an animal in the wild to make sure they’re taken care of and protected!
5. PAY A BILL
This may be a little controversial to some, but I’ve seen almost every 20-something on my social media timeline say that they’d love to have the money someone would use toward a gift to go toward a bill. Even if you can’t directly pay the bill, giving cash or a check with the purpose that it should be used to pay a bill could be really helpful to many, especially right now.
1. VISIT A PARK FULL OF LIGHTS
There are so many parks and venues around the country that have annual light displays that you can drive or walk through. One of my favorites is Tanglewood Park’s Festival of Lights. Located in Clemmons, N.C., this festival is open now until Jan. 1 from 6 to 11 p.m.
Google your area and “Christmas Lights” to see what venues are located nearest to you.
2. PUT TOGETHER A GINGERBREAD HOUSE
3. CHRISTMAS TREE & ORNAMENT SHOPPING
4. PUTTING UP YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
5. HOT COCO CONTEST
6. CHRISTMAS MOVIE NIGHT
Since it's Dec. 1, I thought I'd share a few things you can do today to get into the holiday spirit:
1. DONATE TO YOUR FAVORITE CHARITY TODAY!
Today is Giving Tuesday. On this day, several agencies in your area will match the gifts you give to non-profits you donate to. This can be a nation-wide non-profit such as United Way, or can be a local college or university, your church, or a social services organization that helps those in need in your area.
Check your favorite non-profit's website today for more information.
2. GO SHOPPING FOR WEEK-LONG DEALS
Although Cyber Monday was yesterday, there are still deals to shop throughout this week and moving forward through the holiday season. You can find deals on Amazon and other bigger retailers.
Just search for deals in your area using Google, and you may find that perfect Christmas dress on sale at Macy's!
3. GET BAKING
Nothing quite signals the start of the holiday season than breaking out the baking apron. I personally love to bake, no matter if its cookies, cake, banana bread, or something else.
Start making your favorite Christmas and holiday treats now to get into the spirit and kick off the holiday season right.
4. HAVE A CHRISTMAS CRAFT DAY
I just did this with my mom, brother, and family friends. Christmas crafting is a great way to make more ornaments for your tree or decorations for your house. You can even make some DIY gifts if you choose. Get together and come up with some Christmas or holiday crafts and do them with your family, or people you know who have been safely social-distancing and wearing their mask. If you want to see what we made, check out the video below!
5. START LISTENING TO CHRISTMAS SONGS
For all the Grinches who didn't want to listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving, now is the time! Switch on some Christmas music on your Spotify or Pandora accounts while you're driving around or getting ready for the day. There's nothing really like the sound of familiar Christmas songs to get your mind into the spirit of the holidays.
What are you doing to get into the spirit? Leave a comment below, or catch up with me on social media!
I work in education, so we take breaks at the end of each semester. I had the privilege of having nearly two weeks off of work, which means I've slept in a bit and had nearly no structure to my day for the past two weeks! That's all about to change on January the 2nd.
So, to help myself and others, here is a guide to prepare to go back to work after New Years!
GET BACK ON SCHEDULE
Organizing puts you into the headspace that gets you ready for work. For me, I like using my planner to schedule my time properly. I also like to use an app called Wunderlist to write down the things I need to do and add deadlines to them.
This always puts me in a good place mentally because I feel more prepared!
Think about the work that you need to do and prioritize what you should start with first.
Doing this before you get into the office will help you have a good basis on which to start. I work in a productions position, so we have a list of the things we need to do, and I always know what I'm personally working on.
However, some things are a higher priority than others. I always keep mental stock of what I need to do when I return to work.
CLEAN UP YOUR DANG HOUSE
It was your break time, so you didn't try and keep your house tidy. You may have had relatives over for a visit, or you may have returned from a visit and left a mess everywhere.
Cleaning up your mess while you still have time before work starts will help you feel more organized and put together when your job does start up again.
PICK OUT SOME OUTFITS
CONSIDER AUTOMATING SOME TASKS
It's been about a year since I invested in an Echo Dot and some smart plugs throughout our house. At night, I load up our coffee machine with water and coffee grinds. When I wake up, I tell Alexa to "turn on the coffee machine" and I can focus on getting read while knowing freshly brewed coffee is waiting for me in the kitchen. I'm pretty sure you can automate this further to have it auto start at whatever time you want it to!
So, here are the three types of gifts you should include under the tree for your kids this year.
SOMETHING THEY WANT
Kids usually have a list a mile long when it comes to the gifts that they hope to receive from Santa or their parents. I think it is great to give your children something they want or specifically asked for. The only other time of the year this really happens is on their birthday, so make that item they really want a priority.
SOMETHING THEY NEED
With that being said, it might not be clothes that your children need. Maybe they need something for school or work like a new bag or even a piece of technology!
These little gifts are usually very small and inexpensive. So today, I want to tell you the five type of stocking stuffers you should get for your family this year.
If you’re purchasing stocking stuffers for a makeup wearer, grab a small eyeshadow palette, some lipsticks, or even a concealer.
These makeup essentials are often used up really quickly, so the receiver of the stocking will be very appreciative that you’ve purchased these much-needed items for them.
4: LITTLE GADGETS
I’ve found that little gadgets, especially in my husband’s stocking, are always very appreciated. I think this year (since I’m pretty sure he won’t see this) I will be getting Jonathan one of those “find my keys” locator. He has been losing his keys a lot recently, so I think it would be a great addition. You can also put little tools or Swiss Army Knives for emergencies into some of the stockings!
5: SMALL-AMOUNT GIFT CARDS
I remember one year when I was a teenager when my nana and grandy put a few $5 gift cards in our stockings. Sometimes they would be for McDonalds or Taco Bell, or it might be for gas. Whatever makes sense for the receiver of the stocking! These will always be appreciated, but of course, you don’t HAVE to do this one.
- We had snow and our cat tried to go out in it for the first time.
- Speaking of our cat, she clawed the crap out of me when we decided she needed a flea bath!
- I started to pick up my blog a bit more in January, but I wasn't posting on a consistent schedule yet.
- My best friend Lauren had her 24th birthday party and graduation party, which was so much fun to go to just to celebrate her accomplishments!
- On Feb. 15, a transformer that supplied power to my job blew up. No one was hurt, but it put us out of commission for a whole day and thousands of people were affected!
- On a lighter note, Spectrum (my cable provider) offered more channels without having to pay a ton extra. I just came home one day and had new channels, which is awesome!
- It is so hard to believe that it was back in February when we lost Billy Graham. He was a great evangelist and loved the Lord!
- A dude tried to convince my husband to come into our house to show him how a cleaning product worked. We had neighbors and friends who said that they knew people who this happened to and it was a scheme to case the house before robbing it...glad we didn't let them in!
- I got really up-close and personal with this bull when Jonathan, my mom, and I visited Lazy 5 Ranch, a farm with exotic and domestic animals for you to look at, feed, and pet!
- They put the cross on the chapel at my job and there was this glorious ray of light that came down and shown on the cross. It was such a beautiful moment!
- Jonathan and I had our first wedding anniversary and we took a trip to Myrtle Beach since we didn't take a honeymoon. While there, we saw a show, ate at Paula Deen's restaurant, and we went to a couple of fun places.
- My job hosted a concert featuring T-Pain, Hunter Hayes, and We the Kings. I work at a college, by the way!
- I finally got a new computer after using one for a year and a half that constantly shut down. It was a win for everyone!
- I visited by best friend Jeremy in Georgia and we went to a ton of touristy locations because Jonathan had never been. We went to World of Coke, the Aquarium, and the Sports Museum.
- Jonathan and I legit had a day where we sat outside and painted our own wall art.
- My mom and I met her biological mother as well as my mom's sisters.
- Pollen legit killed my sinuses in April. I found a video on my Facebook page and I walked outside for maybe 5 minutes and had a coating of pollen on my flats.
- April Fools Day was on Easter.
- I was introduced to the world of Retsuko. It is a show on Netflix, and I think you should watch it.
- I watched a ton of my friends graduate, but I was working. I cried. A lot.
- I watched one of our art professors literally boss at creating a portrait of my boss.
- The unfortunate Texas Santa Fe High School school shooting happened.
- BTS debuted their "Tear" Album.
- I had the conversation at my specialist's doctor's office that changed my life and sparked my weight loss.
- My coworkers and I visited Davidson College for the day. We toured campus and that's when I really realized how bad my health was.
- I stopped debating and arguing with people about their opinions and my opinions. Life is too short to waste time being angry or frustrated, and it isn't good for your mental health.
- Jonathan's father, who had been suffering from kidney failure, received a kidney transplant. It was by far one of the best moments of the year.
- Mom was on her knee scooter and awaiting surgery for her foot.
- My grandpa went to the hospital and ended up on a respirator. This was the hardest moment of the year. Lots of hospital trips and uncomfortable conversations. We were able to stay in the SECU house in Wake Forest so we could be close to him while he was at Wake Baptist.
- Jonathan turned 22!
- We were hit with hurricane Florence. We retreated to my hometown and we even battled hurricane winds to get up to Wake Forest to see my grandpa, who was still in the ICU. Flooding was too bad for us to get back to our home.
- My mom had surgery on her foot!
- When we made it back to our home, there were several trees down in our yard that remained there until Thanksgiving.
- I didn't post too much in October personally because I was doing blogtober and also really struggling with other things.
- I turned 25!
- My life was basically going to work, worrying all day until I could call my mom about her and my grandpa, and more. My grandpa was still in the ICU and my mom wasn't being taken care of at home. Plus, not many people were willing to take her and my grandma to Wake to see my grandpa.
- We visited both of our families for Thanksgiving.
- Job responsibilities shifted at work and it made my life a living heck. I was (and still am) juggling a number of things and it is really difficult during the busy times.
- Jonathan's car broke down and is basically done. My break rotor had to be changed. Thankful I had a family member who could help me.
- I started blogmas!
- We graduated a bunch of students a few weeks ago!
- We had a great and fun holiday party at work.
- Jonathan and I went to see lights in Tanglewood Park.
- I made homemade hot chocolate for the first time and loved it!
- I went home on the 20th of December.
14 Days Of Love
All Lives Matter
Black History Month
Black Lives Matter
Civil Rights Movement
Drive Electric Week
National Women's Day
Old Mother Hubbard
Save A Life
Stop The Bleed
The Ingham Family
The Opinionated One
The Pioneer Woman
Things I Love
What I Learned
Year In Review