Can Everyone Just Calm the Hell Down? – Holiday Edition

Ha. I wanted to type something else in the title of this post, but decided to keep it PG.

I’m a part of quite a few homeschooling/parenting groups on FB. And normally, they’re a great place for support, but every once in awhile, I just want to scream “CAN WE ALL JUST CALM THE #$%@ DOWN?!” There was a huge discussion on one of the groups about whether or not to teach your kids to believe in Santa Claus, and if you decide not to, how to handle conversations with other kids that do.

I, for one, think this conversation is really…unnecessary. And frankly, I have enough unnecessary conversations a day with an inquisitive seven year old who wants to know everything about everything.

Yet somehow…I feel a need to comment (ah, the modern age, where everyone feels entitled to share their opinion regardless of the venue–luckily, this is my blog…hehe). But my comment is really simple. Very, very, very simple.

Don’t be an asshole.

Before anyone throws their arms up in complete and total offense — let me be clear. If you don’t want to teach your kids about Santa — great. That’s fine. The cool (albeit tedious, stressful, and at times, soul crushing) part of parenting is you get to filter what you want to your kids. And on the other hand, if you want to teach your kids that there’s a Santa — great. That’s fine. The cool (albeit tedious, stressful, and at times, soul crushing) part of parenting is you get to filter what you want to your kids.

See what I did there?

But the biggest thing to stress to those young, inquiring minds? Don’t be an asshole. If Jimmy doesn’t believe in Santa, be kind to Jimmy and move on. And if Lola believes in Santa, be kind to Lola and move on. It’s really that simple.

And trust me, folks — this applies to all of you adults reading out there too. Can we stop with these unnecessary conversations? Can we just allow people to live and let live? These Christmas wars always make me wonder if I can actually roll my eyes to the complete other side of my head. They’re pointless. Teach your kids whatever you want — religion, creed, lesson — whatever. It’s your kid. It’s your family.

Let’s just all agree on this one thing: We can all teach kindness and acceptance. It’s not hard. In fact, some pretty powerful people of our past have shown this to be true.

I’ll end with this: it boils down to that good ol’ fashioned golden rule. How do you want people to treat you? How do you want people to treat your kids? Well, there’s your answer. I’m sure none of you answered, “I’d like someone to be a self-righteous indignant prick to Jimmy to make him feel terrible for believing ____________.”

Focus on that, and suddenly, a lot of questions are clear. So, whatever and however you celebrate this holiday season, I hope it’s a wonderful one.

Ultimate Christmas Playlist

Beware, I’m in the full-on Christmas mode now. And yes, I’ve been listening to Christmas music for the past few weeks, but I’ve waited to subject everyone else to it until after Thanksgiving (because I still love Thanksgiving too…) For this playlist, I tried to incorporate new with old, classic with current, with a dash of playfulness. What are some of your favorite holiday songs? Did I miss any you love? Let me know in the comments!

 

The Ultimate Christmas Playlist

5 Ways to Make the Holidays Special When You’re Broke

To say that I love holidays is an absolute understatement. While I wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas, I am in the spirit right around the time of Halloween (frankly, I’m in the spirit year-round, but have to contain my crazy).

As much as I love Christmas, it can also be one of the most stressful times for me too. When you live on a strict budget, it feels like any added expense will just make the house of cards fall down. I’m practically a miracle worker when it comes to using money-saving apps, but the holidays can still pose a huge financial stress on just about anyone. Luckily, I have five ways to make the holidays special on any budget…

5 Ways to Make the Holidays Special When You're Broke

Movie Night

I looooove Christmas movies. (And Hannukah, I mean Eight Crazy Nights is great). We have a fair collection of holiday movies, but you can easily rent on Amazon, at Redbox (just remember to return it…it’s an issue for me, haha), or from your local library. So, we pop some popcorn, make my mom’s yummy No Bake Cookie recipe, cuddle up in blankets, and watch a movie together. Low key, low to no cost, and one of the easiest ways to get in the spirit.

Christmas cookies

A lot of us have our favorite family recipes around the holidays — one of our’s is mentioned above – no bakes! Yum! If you don’t have any family cookie recipes, don’t worry — Pinterest has you covered. You can get as basic or as ornate as you want. It’s crafty, fun, and gives you an opportunity to make cheap gifts for your neighbors. šŸ˜‰

Christmas lights watching

Z and I could literally go out every night to look at Christmas lights. Sometimes I’ll make some hot cocoa to put in travel mugs, get in our comfy pjs, and just drive around until we find good neighborhoods. We’ve stumbled upon some pretty amazing houses, and when E is with us, we have a grading system. Easy, fun, can be spontaneous, and FREE (okay…you use some gas, but totally worth it).

Create a Holiday Playlist

It’s no secret that I love a good playlist. I can’t go a day without music, it’s true, and around Christmas time is no different. Ask your family what some of their favorites are, so everyone is “in” on the tunes.

Holiday Books for Each Day

So, there’s a thing on Pinterest that has an Advent Book calendar tradition. As much as I loooove this idea, buying 25 books is tough for anyone on a budget (heck, buying one is hard enough). How can you still embrace this great idea without breaking the bank? THE LIBRARY. Seriously, if you’re not using your local library, what are you doing with your life? Bring out a new holiday themed book each morning or evening. Not only do you get some reading time in, but it’s centered around the season and FREE.

 

Listen, I know the holidays can get you down when you’re not “equipped” financially. It’s tough, but it also gives you a chance to focus on your family in the present moment, and isn’t that what the holidays are really about anyway?

What are some of your cheap or free holiday traditions? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

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A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

I’m in full-on Wedding DIY mode (which includes the decoration part). I’ve always been a DIYer, but I’m not one to really reinvent the wheel. What I mean is, I love Pinterest because other people do the creative work and I reap the benefits! (Okay, that sounds super sleazy, and I certainly don’t mean it that way…but those of us who are lazy creatives, understand).

A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

 

Anyway, I’m a huge fan of luminaries, always have been. I remember my mom and I always admiring paper luminaries around Christmas. Then, once I had Z, the movieĀ TangledĀ came out, which has floating paper lanterns. And then, E proposed to me with…can you guess it? Paper luminaries!

A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

So, not only have I always loved the look of them, but I love the simplicity of them, not to mention how budget friendly {cough, cheap, cough} they are, AND they have sentimental value to me. So, I plan to use them in as many places as possible at our wedding, and will probably save some of them for holidays after. Here’s the breakdown:

Supplies

A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

 

 

Instructions

These will probably be the shortest instructions you will ever read.

  1. Trim the bag. My bags were 11 inches, and I trimmed them down to 9. This is a matter of personal preference. I just liked the look of the smaller bags.

    A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

  2. Punch the bag. What’s nice about the Martha Stewart punch is you can punch anywhere on the paper because all of the sides are open. I will say, make sure you leave yourself a few extra because you’ll need to figure out the best way to space the punches — particularly with punches like this. I would start in the left hand corner and work my way down diagonally, but it all depends on the type of pattern you’re going for.


    A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

  3. Put a battery-operated candle in the bag.

A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

 

See that? Easy peasy! I’m convinced absolutely anyone can do this craft. So, get to it! Post your creations in the comments. I’d love to see them!