Recapping the Holidays: How We Added Holiday Magic to our Break

This post is coming a little late in the game, but something worth writing about as we all take some time to recap the holiday festivities. The week after New Year’s Day is a big “exhale” in the Deshaw household. I am lucky enough with my amazing company to have had December 20 – January 6 off of work to spend time with the family. I take this time off and privilege seriously. It is the only real time of the year where I can focus on my family, myself, and giving during the magic of Christmas. The whole year I focus on the majority of my time at work or with Oh, Everly!, so this year, we shut down.

The boutique shuts down till February 1. There was no blog writing. There was no emailing or work. It was bliss. When I think about the Holidays, it truly is a time to let reality go and live in whatever magic you can! Here are some of our favorites ‘doings’ this year.

1. Cooking Making

Lemon Glazed Christmas Cookies

While my body absolutely hates me for making this cookie season, it really is one of my favorite activities to do with Everly. It’s something I feel that the whole family can take part of. I usually do the majority of ingredient combination, but Everly does help with the stirring, timing, and OF COURSE, the decorating. I am surprised how this keeps her attention for so long.

What’s in it for my husband? He takes great pleasure in eating them…and helps with clean-up. I consider that a great tag team!

Some of my favorites that I love to make with her are Brownie Mix Cookies (aka Chocolate Snowballs), Lemon Glazed Christmas Cookies, and Traditional Sugar Cookies.

This year, I did go a little fancy, and make Toffee Nut Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cocoa S’more Cookies. I made a batch of 40 for each that went so very quickly thanks to my hungry younger brother.

2. Incorporating Santa in our Home!

Okay, so this may not seem a lot to some people, but I will take all the parenting reinforcing I can get. Being able to bring Santa up, makes the all day at home ‘thing’ really much bearable with a sassy 3-yo. Santa becomes part of our EVERYDAY. Here’s a few ways we incorporate Santa during the holidays in some unconventional ways:

  • We have an APP where Santa Calls (MessageFromSanta) Whether she is being naughty or good, she gets the enjoy the calls from Santa which keeps her talking about him for days!
  • We change our profile name on our Amazon Echos to “SANTA” and send announcements through the app. Alexa will then repeat “Announcement from SANTA”
  • Of course, we also have Lyle, our Scout Elf who brings daily small treats and little messages to read.

3. We always “hunt” down places for holiday joy

What does this mean? We’re always on the look out for events and festivals in the area. There are usually so many things to do and see at our most ‘common’ areas that really are more special during the holidays. Some of the things we did this year:

  • Santa’s Village (Sky Park) by Lake Arrowhead. This was our first visit, as another blog mentions, it was complete magic!
  • Disneyland during New Year’s Eve – Check out our blog on how we made this painless and enjoyable. The alternative for us is in bed by 7:30 pm, so this year we decided to keep the adrenaline and celebration of the New Year’s coming.
  • Long Beach – house lights walk
  • Walk the neighborhood for Christmas to check out everyone’s lights. Sometimes you don’t need a fancy neighborhood to do that.
  • We saw the Nutcracker (TWICE) – This is one of my favorites to do! Not because I am obsessed with the Nutcracker, but I love the look on Everly’s face and her comments after the show of how much she wants to be on the stage. This year we saw one of our friends’ daughters dance a Frozen Rendition of the Nutcracker and also the local Temecula Community Theater which was absolutely wonderful!

Other things we wanted to do, but didn’t get to:

  • Mission Inn – Festival Of Lights
  • Winery Holiday Parties and Festivals in Temecula

WHAT WE LEARNED

Somethings we will probably do next year is really take the focus off Presents. Everly just got too many things for Christmas that she will probably destroy or not play with. I personally fell into the trap of compensating the year with toys and dresses. Next year, we will focus on experiences.

While I am EXHAUSTED for the Holidays, I don’t think I would scale down any activities. If anything, I would start planning for the Holidays much sooner. Many of our excursions were last minute. I think that brings a crazy layer of hectic-ness (yes, I think it’s a word). Perhaps, I will plan ahead where these experiences and events become presents instead of added things we do.

I will also start setting aside money NOW for the holidays. We spend such a crazy amount that would be less of a hit if we would save up for it all.

All-in-all, this was by far one of my favorite Christmases.

These 3 things just filled up our Break. I always love to hear and see what other people do for the holidays. What do you do? What worked, what didn’t work?

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