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I can’t believe that Christmas is less than two weeks away! This is the first year we’ll be home for Christmas instead of going to our hometown. We’re having my family (mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, niece, nephew, and cousin) at our house for four days and I’m so excited! I want everything to be perfect and everyone to have so much fun, but I’m really trying to keep things simple, not stress, and just enjoy this time of the year because after all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year (imagine me singing that 😉 ) For this months Let’s Be Honest Mamas post (can see our other monthly posts here), we’re all answering some questions and sharing our tips for a simplified holiday.

  1. How do you make the holidays less hectic around your home? I make lots of lists, try to get my Christmas shopping done early, and do most of my shopping online to avoid the crowds. I make a list of who I need to buy for, what I’ve bought, and how much I’ve spent. It helps me to keep track of my purchases. We also try to do things that get us away from the hustle of the holiday season so we can enjoy time as a family. One of my favorite traditions is going up to the mountains to cut down a Christmas tree. It’s a relaxing, fun family day. I also keep my decorations pretty simple. A Christmas tree, garland on our mantle, and a couple figurines is all the decorations I put up…and Cody puts up the lights on the house.
  2. In a season inundated with receiving, how do you teach your kids about giving? Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing a blog post with Huggies with my tips for teaching kids about giving back 🙂 I’ll go into more detail in that post, but a few of my tips are donate to charity, take your kids shopping to pick out gifts for others, and set the example.
  3. In order to enjoy the holidays, it’s important to be thoughtful with your celebrations and only do the things that make you happy. Are there traditions you’ve said “no” to? How did you make that change/tell you friends and family “no” is a way that didn’t upset them? Growing up, Cody had to travel from one family members house to another’s. It wasn’t enjoyable to him as a child, and he doesn’t want to make his own kids do that. We now celebrate with Cody’s family either a few days before or after Christmas. And we spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in one spot with my family. It makes it so that we have quality time with each family instead of feeling like we’re spending most of the day driving around. 
  4. It’s easy to overspend this season. Share your tips for limiting the amount you spend on gifts. (example; making gifts, the 4 gift rule, etc.). We have started doing Secret Santa in my family (mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, and Cody). We draw names, set a spending limit, and buy for that one person whose name we drew. In Cody’s family, we only buy for the kids. For friends and neighbors, I usually make a gift like a yummy treat or sugar body scrub.
  5. Preparing meals for the family can be stressful. Do you have a simple meal you prepare ahead of time to help lessen the stress? We all try to contribute to the meals so the responsibility doesn’t all fall on one person. For a yummy treat, I always make Oreo Truffles and they are a huge hit! They’re a little time consuming to make but you can make them ahead of time and freeze them. For breakfast, my mom or I make a French Toast Bread Pudding the night before and just stick it in the oven when we wake up. Here’s the recipes:
    • Oreo Truffles:
      • Grind one pack of Oreos in a blender (until it looks like dirt)
      • In a mixer, mix together the Oreos and 1 package of cream cheese (until it looks like mud)
      • Roll the Oreo and cream cheese mixture into little balls.
      • Dip each ball in melted chocolate and place on waxed paper to let the chocolate harden. The chocolate I use is almond bark because it hardens quickly, but you can use regular chocolate chips too. You just might have to place the Oreo truffles in the fridge to let the chocolate harden. I prefer to use white chocolate 🙂
    • French Toast Bread Pudding
      • Layer the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish with about 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
      • Cut up frozen french toast sticks (the kind you buy at the grocery store in the freezer section) into one inch pieces and lay them on top of the brown sugar. You can also add fruit.
      • In a bowl, mix together 1 cup heavy cream, 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 cup water.
      • Pour the mixture over the french toast sticks
      • (Leave overnight in the fridge if you are making ahead of time)
      • Before placing in the oven, sprinkle 1/4 cup white sugar on top of the french toast sticks.
      • Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. After baking, broil the top for a couple minutes.

Do you have any tips for simplifying your holidays? Also, if you have any good recipes, please leave them below so I can make them for my family 🙂

Be sure to check out these amazing mama’s blogs for their tips:

Amber Hill amberlately.com // Stephanie Pollock stephpollock.com // Emily Lindsey happilylindsey.com // Camille Burley theburleytribe.com // Carla Thompson curiousnatalia.com

XO, Kacie

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