This post is sponsored by Carter’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
I’m on a roll with these holidays posts, I know. But one thing I’ve noticed since becoming a parent is that the holiday season, despite the fact that it seems to start earlier and earlier every year, goes by in a flash – so I want to savor every moment of holiday goodness that I can. I told you guys in a post last week that I made a conscious decision to stay in the present and enjoy even the simplest of holiday pleasures this year, rather than fall into my usual routine of setting unrealistic expectations and then feeling stressed and disappointed. I’m including the kids in this plan as well. Rather than go overboard with extravagant holiday plans for them like I’ve done in the past, we’re enjoying the small, low-keys things that make the holiday season so special. And while the season has just begun, so far, we’re doing pretty well. Today I thought I’d share some of the ways we’re savoring the small things that celebrate spirit of the holidays this year.
1. Have holiday story time. We put on holiday music, snuggle up, and read holiday books that the kids choose. This is something we all look forward to, include the parents! (It’s also a great way to ease into bedtime. True story.)
2. Bake holiday cookies. I’m not too proud to admit that there are plenty of times baking holiday cookies means placing the ready-to-break, printed Christmas tree variety on a cookie sheet and calling it good. Essley and Emmett enjoy this process just as much as the much more time consuming made-from-scratch kind anyway. Low-key, delicious, and quintessentially holiday.
3. Watch holiday movies. It’s a long time tradition in my family to watch holiday movies starting around Thanksgiving, with a grand finale of It’s a Wonderful Life (my personal favorite) on Christmas Eve. A few times a week, we all snuggle up on the couch with popcorn or cookies and watch a holiday movie or show. It’s a wonderfully laid back way to celebrate the season. (Essley’s favorite is Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Emmett’s is The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and Robbie’s is Christmas Vacation. I love all of them!)
4. Write letters to Santa. Essley thinks this is one of the most magical parts of the season. And even Emmett, who knows little more about Santa than the fact that he brings presents and says “Ho Ho Ho” (which Emmett likes to say himself, loudly and often), likes to pretend he’s writing letters to Santa all by himself.
5. Wear holiday pajamas. Every year, we get super adorable matching holiday pajamas for the kids from Carter’s. It’s a fun, festive, simple way to instantly feel in the holiday spirit. The kids wear them throughout the season, on Christmas morning, and usually for months afterward. We love Carter’s PJs because they’re affordable, comfortable (Essley always calls them her “comfy jammies”) and stylish, and they always have the best variety of holiday designs. This year Essley even got a matching nightgown for her dolls that came with her fleece holiday gown. (I wish I had a picture of the moment she first saw them.) Emmett got this Two Piece Fleece Set (two words: Santa pockets) to go with Essley’s gown, and they each got a set of Santa Snug Fit Cotton PJs.
6. Visit Santa at a smaller or low traffic venue. When Essley was a baby, I think we went to three different “Pictures With Santa!” type places before giving up on the multi-hour lines and overpriced photos. Lucky for us, we discovered that on Sundays at one of our favorite local malls, kids can visit Santa in the (beautifully decorated) mall office and parents could take their own photos, for free. There is a never a long line, and cell phone shots work for us, so now we go every year. It takes the pressure off, saves money and time, and the kids absolutely love it.
7. Do something for those in need. This is another holiday tradition for us. We put on holiday music, and (usually in our holiday PJs) go through the kids’ toys and let them each pick some to donate to a few different organizations that collect them. Emmett doesn’t get this yet, but Essley does, and she genuinely enjoys getting into the giving spirit. This year, buying Carter’s children’s pajamas can do something good for others as well. From November 1st – December 31st, Carter’s is partnering with Pajama Program, an organization that provides children new pajamas. Customers can donate a pair of new pajamas in store, or make a monetary donation at check out either in store or online. Carter’s will also match up to 100,000 pairs of pajamas. It’s a really great way to directly support your local community, and something we are happy to be a part of!
8. Just be together. Even if you only have 20 minutes a night, we just spend time together as a family. We talk about holiday memories. We sing Christmas carols. We have holiday dance parties. We have tickle fests on the floor. We just hang out. I don’t care if it sounds cliche – being together is the most important part of the holiday season, hands down. These are the moments we’ll remember.
I’m a sucker for holiday dressing while doing holiday activities (even the low-key ones!), so my kids are pretty much always wearing their holiday-themed PJs and clothes from Carter’s – which are equally cute and comfy, high quality, and genuinely affordable. And I love that Carter’s has such a huge variety of styles perfect for the holiday season. Starting today (11/17), they also have some seriously amazing Black Friday deals happening. Carter’s and OshKosh B’gosh are giving away over $ 700,000 in Dash Cash to the first 100 people to visit their local stores for the Dash In to Win Sweepstake on Black Friday. (Check here to find your local store and confirm what date – either 11/23 or 11/24) the sweepstakes will be held at your nearest location.) Customer will also receive a gift from Shutterfly on their $ 40+ purchase that day. So yeah, there’s lots of goodness happening! (Visit carters.com/dashintowin for official rules.)
And here’s one more bit of Carter’s awesomeness before I go. They’re giving you 20% off your purchase of $ 40 or more in store or online through 12/31/17. (Some exclusions apply: www.carters.com/couponpolicy.) In store, just use code 070716. Online, use CART4198. Woooot!
After last week’s post where I talked about my plans to savor the simple pleasures of the season this year, many of you said you hoped to do the same. I’d love to hear any other ideas those of you with kids might have for low-keys ways to enjoy the holidays together!
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