Let’s talk about Christmas traditions. Family traditions.

I can think of so many things that my family did as I was growing up. We always went before Christmas sometime and we drove around and looked at Christmas lights. We had so much fun doing that. Seeing all the beautiful lights, and the yard ornaments that might be there… it was just a fun way to have some family time.

I have three younger brothers, so another thing we would do, is find a Friday night sometime before Christmas and we would all go to the mall together. And we would split up­ my mom would take two of us and my dad would take two of us. Each group would be shopping for the kids in the other group, and then they’d switch. We would do that every single year. We would think of what we wanted to buy our siblings before we went and then we’d get to the mall and we’d try to find that perfect gift. We’d buy it and we would be so excited about them opening it on Christmas morning. After the mall we always went to dinner and sometimes we even went to a movie. It was such a fun, fun, fun family night. A night to just enjoy each other, enjoy some fresh air, and the reason for the season of giving to others. It was a blast.

My mother and I would decorate the Christmas tree, and every single year we would have a glass of eggnog. We actually wouldn’t even decorate the tree if we didn’t have eggnog in the house! Eggnog was a must! It was just something small that we always did. Even now, even with my own family, none of them really like eggnog, but I still have to have it in my house before I decorate my tree. It just doesn’t feel right without that glass of eggnog to be putting the ornaments up. It’s something that I cherish very, very much.

My brothers and I, would always sleep in the same room on Christmas night when we were kids. I have twin brothers, so we would sleep in the twins room, 2 in one bed and 2 in the other. It was just so much fun. We would all go to bed together and we’d be so excited, and then we would wake up together and we would greet the day, and we would go wake up mom and dad for all the excitement of Christmas morning. I can remember with four kids, the chaos that came with Christmas morning. It was paper flying and boxes everywhere and when I think back, it almost makes me tear up because when I look back on that time… we had a blast. We enjoyed seeing what the others got too. We would have so much fun giving our parents gifts, and watching what our parents gave each other. It was a fun time full of love and laughter and happiness and joy and it was just awesome. And my mother always cooked an egg casserole­ that was a tradition of ours. We’d also have sweet rolls. It was a nice big breakfast once the tree excitement was over. It was really special. I cherish those moments with my brothers when we were growing up.

I don’t know about you, but one of the things that I love the most about being a parent is watching the joy on my children’s faces when they wake up. It’s like living through them again, like living it all over again as an adult, but through the eyes of a child. It’s just magical, it’s so much fun. And what I love most that we do, and we’ve done since my kids were very little, is we make Jesus a birthday cake every single year. Christmas morning we always sing Happy

Birthday to Jesus and we blow out the candles and we enjoy cake. It might not be our breakfast, but it’s a nice mid­morning snack for sure. We definitely want to remember the reason for the season and we want to take time to celebrate His life and all He has done for us. My kids are very involved in that and very aware of that and it makes my heart just overflow with joy because of their love for Jesus and how they want to make sure we celebrate His birthday.

One of the things we do to give back during this time of year is we donate to the food bank to provide meals for people. We sponsor a child in Africa, so we send money to him, and we do clothing donations. It’s a really good way to love other people. To find a way to give back to others who are less fortunate. To spread the love and the reason for the season, and as my kids get a little bit older, I’m going to get them more and more involved in that. I’m hoping next year to adopt a family, where we buy presents for the entire family. I’d like my kids to be very involved in that entire process in order to really understand and see what goes into it and why it’s important to do. And also how wonderful it feels to be giving to other people, rather than always being the one receiving. It’s something that I’m very serious about them learning.

Christmas can be SO much fun, but it comes with a lot of stress. Why is that? Well, we have a lot to do! We have people to buy for, we have parties to plan, and if your kids are in school, you’ve got school stuff to take care of and volunteer for. We’re trying to get all the shopping done, the baking done, the Christmas cards sent out, the wrapping done, the meal planning done, I mean wow. It can get very overwhelming. So, I have 5 tips that I want to share with you. These are tips to help you feel great and handle the stress of the holiday season.

  1. Stay committed. What do you think I’m talking about there? I’m talking about your workouts. Stay committed to your workouts. With all the stress and all the things on your shoulders that you have to get done, if you just give up working out during this time of year, you’re going to feel worse, have less energy… you won’t be able to be your best. You keep loving yourself and get those workouts in. I get up at 5am every morning and get it done. But if that doesn’t work for you, then do it at night. You only need 30 minutes. I promise you, if you can stick with those workouts, it will make a world of difference as you move through this busy time of year.
  2. Think moderation. There are some things about Christmas time that I absolutely love. Chocolate fudge is one of them. Homemade chocolate fudge­ oh my goodness! I seriously could eat a whole pan. I would be sick to my stomach…. probably sick for days, but I could. Here’s the thing­ enjoy the things that you love! Those things you only get once a year, enjoy them! Without guilt. Just think moderation. Small pieces, small amounts, not every meal or every or every single day. And if you’re getting that workout in, you’re definitely going to feel less guilty about indulging in those things you love.
  3. Make a list. Y’all, I am a huge list person! At all times, I’ve got to have a to­do list. I need to know what I have to accomplish. If it’s for my business, for my family, for my kids, groceries, whatever it is. I’m a huge list person. There is nothing more exhilarating to me than having a list and being able to cross off an item that I have accomplished. Task complete, woo! Winning! It’s the best feeling ever. You’ve just got to make a list, especially during this time of year. And then prioritize it­ figure out the things you have to do first, second, third and so on. Then attack. One thing at a time. Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed. Overwhelm can be a choice, so just don’t make that choice. Get organized.
  4. Laugh! It’s easy to get so serious because we have so much on our plate. We forget to smile and we forget to laugh. For me, when I notice that I’m getting too serious, I just stop. And I laugh. I think about something that warms my heart and fills me with joy and I remember… I’m good. It’s going to all get done and it’s going to be fine.
  5. Just breathe. Remember the reason that we celebrate Christmas. Jesus is the reason. We can get so caught up in all the gift buying and all the things that come along with this holiday, it can be stressful. We can forget and lose sight of the real reason that we’re doing this. So just take a deep breath. Give yourself grace. Know that no matter what, you will achieve it all. It will all get done. At the end of the day, when Christmas even arrives, you will be ready, you will feel awesome and you’ll get to sit back and enjoy your holiday. With the ones you love most.

I hope these five tips help. Y’all have an awesome and VERY MERRY Christmas!