Category Archives: celebrate

Shop Small :: Gracefull Stitches

Thank you, Gracefull Stitches, for sponsoring this post, part of Bahorich Abode’s Shop Small Holiday series. I was selected for this opportunity by Gracefull Stitches; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

I’m sad to say that our holiday shop small series has came to a close; however, we cannot end it without mentioning one more of my favorite shops – Gracefull Stitches!

I mentioned earlier this week how much I love graphic tees and cannot get enough of them. This year I was on the hunt to find something perfect to go visit Santa in. We are starting a tradition to go eat “Breakfast with Santa (for Dinner)” at an amazing local farm near our home. This farm is the perfect place to pick apples and pumpkins in the fall, cut down your own Christmas tree in the winter time, and hand select your buckets and buckets of strawberries in the summer. We love to make it down there and support the local farm whenever we can.

I cannot wait to visit Santa next weekend in our specially made tees from Gracefull Stitches. Owner, Jessica, surprised me with the design and it could not be more perfect for our family to have a lovely night out together creating traditions and memories with baby Ollie.

Her shop is honestly full of these designs to help make memories for your littles. She has these adorable onesies for the holidays as well as designs for back-to-school, sports, and more. She also crochets a ton and has some really pretty pieces in her shop!

Use the code either ABODE10 for 10% off or FREESHIPPING for free shipping at her shop for yourself! You have until December 31 to place your orders and get the discount, so don’t delay!

♦ WIN IT ♦
Head on over to our Instagram page today for a chance to win a copy for your own home. Hurry! Our contest runs through December 12th!

Here is a little bit more about Jessica, the owner of Gracefull Stitches:

How did you get your shop started?
I wanted to go into to business for myself and be in charge of my own schedule. I was tired of working for others and then having to juggle being a mom in the process. Knowing that I had a knack for crotchet and shirt design, I decided to open my own Etsy shop. It has been one of my best choices and I am constantly improving my skill to make each piece better.

What is the hardest part of owning a shop?
The influx of orders. I thought I would open my own shop and do it as a hobby, but it has become a fulltime job. All of my crotchet items are hand stitched one by one, plus the shipping and responding to customers messages with in a timely manner. I want to do the job right and make my customers happy, so I have to put the work into making that happen.

What is one thing unique about you?
I am a perfectionist, I try to make every order the best that I can. I have even been known to be half done a crotchet project and rip it all out because the rows didn’t line up perfectly and re-do it all over again. My husband says not to do that because I am wasting time, but I really what to provide a good product to my customers. I take pride in my work.

What is the best part of owning a shop?
The Thank You’s. When someone receives my product either for themselves or as a gift and they tell me how happy they are to have it. Knowing that the time I spent, with constant messages back and forth and personalizing the item has all been worthwhile for a simple thank you. Then in turn they would recommend me to one of their friends.

How did you get your shop name?
GraceFull Stitches is two things, God’s Grace is full of Stitches, symbolizing when God died on the Cross for our Sins and we as (humans) are never perfect and God is constantly putting us back together. Also Grace is a family name and it helps remind me that family always comes first and that I run this business for them.

What is one way that you keep organized?
Thank goodness for my Mac! I use my Mac for everything when it comes to orders. I normally right orders down on scrap paper and then transcribe it into a Pages format document that I use to keep track of all my orders.

How do you balance family life and work life?
Part of the reason why I opened my own shop was to make family and work life “easier” but it’s never easy. My daughter is involved in every sport under the sun and my son does dance. So in between being a Basketball-, Cross-Country-, Dance-, JROTC-, Tae-Kwon-Doe- and Soccer-Mom by day, I am Master-Crotchet-Specialist by night. So it’s difficult to manage everything, especially since I want to give all my customers instant responses to messages and make positive suggestions but I manage and I love what I do.

Shop Small :: Shop at Bash

Thank you, Shop at Bash, for sponsoring this post, part of Bahorich Abode’s Shop Small Holiday series. I was selected for this opportunity by Shop at Bash; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Okay, I admit it. I am weak for some graphic tees. I love them and have far too many… but really, is that a thing?

We are wrapping up our small shop holiday series this week but before we do, I wanted to introduce to you an adorable little shop — Shop at Bash over on Etsy. Owner, Kari, started off doing tees and tanks for bashes (like bachelorette outings) and her site and designs have just grew and grew from there. She sent me over this “It’s Not a Food Baby” tee and it has been perfect for the holiday season. I just love it. It’s a little flowy but so ideal for my growing belly.

Her shop is filled with so many designs, over 1,000 to be exact! From the holidays to bachelorette apparel, her shop also includes birthday designs, motherhood styles, kindness lines, and more. I picked out some of my favorite below.

I feel like I have an ideal spot for each and every one of them in my closet! There really is something for everybody in Kari’s shop, especially those hard-to-buy for folks that are still on your holiday shopping list. Good news though!

Use code “HOLIDAY15” for 15% off at checkout for Shop at Bash’s Etsy shop! This code is good until 12/31/17 and truly will fit any need that you may have left for the holiday season!

Here is a little bit more about Kari, the owner of Shop at Bash:

How did you get your shop started?
When I was getting married, I decided to try some DIY projects for my wedding decor and it was a huge success! So, I started out selling wedding decor on Etsy but eventually started making graphic apparel for brides for their bachelorette parties. Now we are strictly graphic apparel and we love it!

What is the hardest part of owning a shop?
The hardest part is definitely not being able to turn myself off since I work from my home. I work around the clock when I’m not with my family.

What is one thing unique about you?
Going back to my wedding – one unique thing is that I met husband on eHarmony!

What is the best part of owning a shop?
The best part of owning a shop is seeing all of the tiny details of the business come together and at the end of the day those tiny details make our business a success. We also love helping out people with graphic apparel for their special events.

How did you get your shop name?
We work with customers that are attending a bachelorette bash, a birthday bash, etc so we decided to name the store Bash.

What is one way that you keep organized?
I stay organized by keeping lists of the tasks I need to accomplish. This greatly helps me stay on track with everything I need to do each day, because there are so many steps to running a business!

How do you balance family life and work life?
We really strive to spend time with our families. It is super important to us, so we literally make the time on nights and weekends. Family is first in our book!

Shop Small :: Colour Blocks

Thank you, Colour Blocks, for sponsoring this post, part of Bahorich Abode’s Shop Small Holiday series. I was selected for this opportunity by Colour Blocks; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

🖍💛🖍💚🖍💙🖍💜🖍❤️🖍Colour Blocks are handcrafted crayons I make. 100 percent sustainable crayon company from Encinitas California. These square block crayons are safe for kid, non-toxic and comes in 12 designer colors. These square block crayons stack like block toys. New giant jumbo size is even safer for toddlers. Follow my bio link to buy at our art supply shop. 🖌❤️🖌💛🖌💚🖌💙🖍💜#safeforkids #safeforbaby #safeforchildren #safefortoddlers #crayons #beeswaxcrayons #beeswax #preschool #earlychildhoodeducation #earlychildhoodeducation #baby #kidscrafts #kids #kidsart #doodling #coloring #colorpop #colourful #drawing #reggiokids #waldorf #montessori #montessoriathome #blocks #blockcrayons

Bahorich Abode is all about intentionality over here. We try to make good decisions every day as we know that even the little decisions that we make can have a larger ripple effect in not only our own lives, but others and the environment. Whether it is purchasing small this holiday season or ensuring that you have dinner each night around the table with your family, the decisions that you make can have a larger meaning to someone else.

I love that all of our small shops know this. Each small shop that we partnered with this season has such great meaning behind them. Today’s small shop, Colour Blocks, does just that. They solely exist to make something out of what most would think is nothing… old crayons.

Made in the USA, these crayons are safe, non-toxic, and 100% recycled. Owner, Spramani Elaun uses eco-friendly packaging and has designed the crayons so that children can color with them easily and the crayons, themselves, won’t roll off the table. They are designed in two different sized blocks which forms to little hands to hold so easily!

We are loving teaching Ollie the gift of art and creativity with our new Colour Blocks. He is just learning the concept of coloring in general and these are a great way to introduce art to him at such a young age. He can grip the crayons easily because of their design and owner, Spramani, is offering you some amazing discounts this holiday season as well.

Buy a 6 pack of the regular sized block crayons and get a small christmas tree crayon for free, plus free shipping, for just $14.00. Buy a 12 pack and get a gingerbread man crayon for free, plus free shipping, for just $24.00. Or buy a 6 pack of jumbo crayons, and get the gingerbread man crayon free, plus free shipping for just $24.00! Just click on pictures below for the direct links to buy!

Also, just head on over to her Etsy shop today and use the code OLLIE6 for $5 off any set! Finally, we are partnering with Colour Blocks for an amazing giveaway this morning. Check out our Instagram in the next 48 hours to enter!

Colour Blocks

6 Crayon Pack (Free Christmas Crayon)

Colour Blocks

12 Crayon Pack (Free Ginderbread Man)

Colour Blocks

6 JUMBO Large Crayon Pack (Gingerbread Man Crayon)

Here is a little bit more about Spramani, author of Colour Blocks:

How did you get your shop started?
I started making and selling Colour Blocks – square stackable block crayons at a cute hip farmers market in Encinitas, San Diego near the beach in 2008. I’m an earth-friendly art teacher for kids. My product came from me trying to walk my talk about being sustainable in every way. All my art students families, local teachers and restaurants were donating crayons to me, which became a whole lot! I had so many and didn’t have the heart to throw them away. I was quite accident that my cool recycle design came about. I was playing around with different shapes and watched little kids start stacking and counting my crayons like toy blocks, Colour Blocks was born. Then I soon discovered how functional the crayons really were for little hands. I’ve been making Colour Blocks now for 10 years, they come in pure beeswax, recycle and soy wax. I ship them out all over the world now, it’s really fun.

What is the hardest part of owning a shop?
The hardest part of owning my shop is organization for me, I’m the creative messy type! I like being creative and making stuff, not keeping good records or a well organized stockroom. Both my teens have been taking over that part of my shop, thankfully! Making crayons is also a very messy job, my family jokes I should have been on the show Messy Jobs.

What is one thing unique about you?
I have a natural gift in teaching kids how to paint and draw, and I’ve written 5 education books about it.

What is the best part of owning a shop?
When customers return and tell me how much their children loved their art supplies, it’s also fun to see the kids growing up. I have the cutest customers!

How did you get your shop name?
Colour Blocks is the name of my Etsy shop, Nature of Art® is the actual name of my business. It came from my passion loving nature and art making. Colour Blocks – square stackable block crayons, is just the name of my crayon products, and of course it came from the shape of my product and the 12 unique custom colors they come in. My kids named all my colors when they were little. Colour is spelled this way because of it’s link to classical color theory from the beginning of antiquity.

Sea Glass
Summer Sunset
Lemon Yellow
Fire Red
Violet Blossom
Grassy Green
Hippie (my multicolor crayon)
Cloudy Day
Multi Cultural Skin Tone
Midnight Black
Bubble Gum
and Harvest Brown

What is one way that you keep organized?
Get help from my sweet heart and teens, they run that part of the business.

How do you balance family life and work life?
My business started with the necessity to stay home and homeschool both my kids first. I invented a way to make money, raise and home education my kids together. I used to stay home during the week, make crayons and sell on the weekends only with my kids. Being a close family is important to me. My own teen life was isolated because my single mom had to work all the time. My father passed away when I was very young. I always knew I wanted a real close relationship with both of kids. My kids are a big part of my business, in fact both just traveled with me internationally for business. I ask a lot of input from all family members to keep us close and involved. It took many years to figure out my work must support the family eco system. I don’t’ sell much any more at the farmers market, I just sell online now, and bigger retail shows, which helps me stay more connected with my teens busy social life. This business aways allows me to adjust yearly my schedule to what the family really needs.

Gift Guide for Him

Can you believe it, guys? We’re already to the holiday season and it’s time to roll out some GIFT GUIDES! First up this year is the gift guide for the men in your life, because let’s be honest, they’re usually the hardest to shop for. I created this particular guide with a lot of my husband’s help… and by “a lot” I mean he basically created this gift guide himself for y’all. He chose almost every item, and the ones he didn’t choose, he gave his approval, so you know it’s something an actual guy would love to get.

My number one goal with these gift guides is to make shopping a little easier and less stressful for you, and to hopefully give you some great ideas you haven’t thought of! Let me know how you like them! And hopefully you find some things on here for your husband, brother, dad, friend, cousin, whomever!

Let’s get to the guys…

              

UA Pursuit Hoodie                                        Massage Ball Set

          

Patagonia Mens Better Sweater                             Leather Lightning Cable

          

Nike Mens Joggers                                        UGG Australia Slippers

           

Withings Activité Watch                                  Every Man Jack Beard Oil

Custom Holiday Decor with Salty Pine Paper Co

Thank you, Salty Pine Paper Co, for sponsoring this post, part of Bahorich Abode’s Shop Small Holiday series. I was selected for this opportunity by Salty Pine Paper Co; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Today I want to introduce you to Salty Pine Paper Co.

I love personalized ornaments. We have plenty. From our first home to first year married, we have them all. I just love these glass hand painted ornaments and they look so great on our tree this year! Owner, Jenny’s prices are just right for those holiday gifts for the sitter, teacher, mailman, whomever, and her designs are just great. Jenny makes custom ones for each state and paints on wooden slices also. Her shop is just full of adorable hand designed prints and other neat gift ideas. One of my favorite things is her wooden gather wall hanging also!

This is a set of four red glass bulb ornaments that Jenny sent me, each measuring 2.5″. They are all hand-lettered and embossed in gold. All four ornaments arrive tied with a cloth ribbon, and are packaged safely in their shipping container with lots of love! (Please note – the pictures above show the ornaments in our premium keepsake box, which you can add on at checkout. This does not come standard with each order.) They are made with such love and look how adorable they are!!

Jenny also offered a special code just for Bahorich Abode reader. Use the coupon code “BAHORICH15” so you can get 15% off their purchase now through January 31st, 2018!

Salty Pine Paper Co.

Here is a little bit more about Jenny, the owner of Salty Pine Paper Co:

How did you get your shop started?
I started Salty Pine Paper Co. in the spring of last year, after I took an interest in calligraphy and started lettering things for around our own home. I loved the idea of making personal pieces that will bless and brighten someone else’s space, and I think there’s something SO special about having hand-made items as part of a home’s decor!

What is the hardest part of owning a shop?
Hmmm…I would say the thing that’s been most challenging for me is actually pricing. First, it can be nerve wracking to assign what you think is a fair value to your pieces, while hoping that others also see that value and then are willing to use their hard-earned money to acknowledge it. Second, I haven’t always been diligent about intentional pricing, where I collect the cost of every single material needed for a certain product and then price the final piece in such a way as to cover materials and make a profit. My engineer hubby, Luke, is very good at numbers and at keeping emotions out of decision making when it’s needed, and he has helped me grow tremendously in this area, so that now, I’m confident about charging what is actually reasonable and necessary, instead of essentially giving my pieces away.

What is one thing unique about you?
I’ve lived in all four corners of the US… California, Alaska, Vermont, and now, Florida!

What is the best part of owning a shop?
There are so many things that I love about owning my own shop, but I think one of the top ones is the community of other small business owners that I’ve met. There are so many incredible entrepreneurs with kind, generous hearts, who want to cheer you on in your own business, support you, and come alongside you when you need a little help. That has been a HUGE blessing to me in my business, and I hope that I can be that person for others as they step out into their own adventures!

How did you get your shop name?
Deciding on a name for the shop took me a good bit of time, because I really wanted it to represent “me” somehow, without having to use my actual name. The “paper co.” part came about because I felt like it captured more of the “small town feel” I want my business to embody. The “salty pine” part represents the places and things that I hold dear – “salty” for my since-I-was-little love of the sea + Florida, the first place Luke and I moved to *together*, and “pine” for my growing up years in woodsy places, namely Alaska and Vermont + my love of outdoor exploring. All combined, I really loved the way Salty Pine Paper Co. sounded, and I feel like it carries personal, intentional meaning, which was important to me.

What is one way that you keep organized?
I LOVE my planner and a good ol’ fashioned to-do list! Luke teases me all the time for still using a real-life planner when I could store all the same information on my phone/computer, but there’s just something I love having things written out in front of me.

How do you balance family life and work life?
One thing that helps me to balance family life and work is setting boundaries on my time. So for example, I’m not usually in the office after Luke is done work for the day, or on Sundays, etc. That boundary gives me the margin to really enjoy and maximize work days, but also the freedom to not feel guilty when I’m soaking up “free time” with my favorite people!

Salty Pine Paper Co.

Salty Pine Paper Co.

Salty Pine Paper Co.

Salty Pine Paper Co.

15 Fall Family Activities

Oh my goodness! I still cannot believe that it is finally fall. Although I am super sad to say good-bye to pool days and the warm sunshine, I cannot wait for fall season and all of the fun events that come with it. I have been spending my days dreaming about the cool crisp air, pumpkins, crunchy leaves, Halloween, chili… all this fall. Not to mention, around the corner is my favorite holiday: Christmas!

This fall, I am strapping on my Women’s Nike Zoom Winflo 3 Running Shoes, because I know it is going to be a busy season. With a baby in the oven and a semi-toddler all over the place, we are in for lots of fun. I really want to do a lot of fall activities this year since Ollie is older. He is at such an exploratory age right now and I love watching him learn. Here are 15 fall family activities I am looking forward to:

Pumpkin Patch
If you don’t have a pumpkin patch near you, you can even just all go pick out your own pumpkins.

Family Walks
This is one of my favorites. The weather is so nice in fall and I just love having evening family walks around the neighborhood. We did this with Ollie last year and he loves it!

Pumpkin Painting
I am looking forward to letting Ollie paint on a pumpkin. I’m sure it will be a big mess, but he will have a blast.

Trick Or Treating
We are honestly probably doing more than Ollie cares for this year, but heck, you can’t just wear those cute costumes just once. We are headed this weekend to a local trunk-or-treat at the YMCA that our church plant hosts out of. Next week, we are off to Disney for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and then we will be passing out candy in our costumes on our front porch for our neighborhood this Halloween night. So much fun!

Fall Craft
Think out of the box, maybe a craft with leaves or something of that nature!

Hayride or Festival
There are so many great festivals and events going on during this season, find one near you. We love anything with food… so chili or bbq will be in our future.

Fall Family Pictures
We are doing ours later this year to help incorporate the new baby belly, but I love doing this every year.

Jump in Leaves
There is nothing better than playing in a big pile of leaves when you are little.

Make Candy Apples
I think Ollie will love this as well. Let’s face it, he loves anything that involves food. I am thinking I will cut the apple into pieces and then make candy apple pieces just his size.

Visit Farm Animals
Think petting zoo. It will be such a fun day!

Visit a new playground
Find a new playground in your area and spend some time exploring and swinging!

Make Pumpkin Pie or Muffins or Cake
Really, pumpkin anything.

Cook S’mores
Fire. Blanket. S’mores.

Read outside
Ollie loves to read all of his books right now, so I think this will be a really fun outside activity.

Movie Night with a fall or Halloween theme
I love movie nights and halloween movies are awesome! Nothing scary but definitely seasonal.

We are in for a busy fall, but I am so excited for all the fun family activities. I left it off the “list”, but finding out the gender of our little babe and announcing it to everyone will be a fall activity for sure! With such a busy season in front of us, I am going to soak in every moment of these new beginnings!

Shop Small :: Ahmelie

Thank you, Ahmelie, for sponsoring this post, part of the 2017 Shop Small Spring series. I was selected for this opportunity by Ahmelie; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


The Bahorich household is in full spring swing. Although we have had some busy, busy months, summertime is quite possibly always our busiest. We cannot get enough of community, sunshine, summer travels, and the pool. This summer is already packed to the max and I am working on ways to honestly keep my #OLW (one little word), Savor, into the mix. I just do not want for the summer to be gone in a flash. We just love it too much.

One thing we love about the spring, summer, and fall months is being outdoors. Winter is just filled with moments of folks rushing home after work and closing theirselves into their own homes. But these months that are full of nicer weather allows us to see more people, have more parties, and enjoy each other more.

We have tons of get-togethers at our house. People over for church, for birthdays, and for no reason at all. We love having our friends over to grill on the weekends and joke about chasing the ice cream truck down a bit too much. I honestly am most excited about yard games. I was the girl that grew up with a pool in the middle of the country. There was tons to do, so now that we live in suburban life, yard games are my jam. We mastered corn hole last year (or bags), and now this year we get to dominate Yard Yahtzee!!

When I found Ahmelie’s shop, named after her perfectly, I just knew that it would be a perfect addition to our lifestyle. Her life-sized set of Yard Yahtzee can also double as a Farkle game as well. The dice are constructed of premium douglas fir + wood burned dots for long lasting usage and the quality is so nice! The set comes with (6) 3.5″ dice, a galvanized bucket for tossing and storing, a laminated score sheet for Yahtzee + Farkle, dry erase marker and clipboard! It truly is going to be hours of endless fun right in our backyard.

Yard games are perfect to keep the busy moments of summer down to those times that we can savor. Savoring our afternoon with our friends, making memories that will last a lifetime. They are also great because Ollie can stack them, knock them over, and sit on them — all things that this momma has to think about now!

The best part is that they make a perfect gift. I cannot wait to gift these this year for maybe Father’s Day or for an upcoming wedding. How perfect would that be?! Good news is that you really need to have one of your own sets for yourself too. Use the code “JOY10” and it will get you 10% off one item! Ahmelie’s shop is full of other items as well from bibs to blankets and scarves so make sure to check her shop out. She is one talented gal!

Also, be sure to check her out on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to keep up with all of her new products!


Here is a little bit more about Ahmelie, the owner of Ahmelie:

How did you get your shop started?
I’ve always loved making things with my hands. Whether its a meal, a creative project or a pinterest fail, I mean, come on, who hasn’t had one of these?! I always enjoy getting my hands dirty and being a maker.

What is the hardest part of owning a shop?
Marketing. My husband on the other hand is wonderful at this. 🙂

What is one thing unique about you?
I have a creative design + sewing shop and I also own an accounting practice and work with businesses who run on QuickBooks. This clear line between creative and black and white helps keep me balanced.

What is the best part of owning a shop?
I love being my own boss and the flexibility and freedom it provides. My husband and I are 100% self employed and it fits our personalities and schedules well. We live off the beaten path out at the lake so we do a fair amount of driving to “civilization”, but its worth every minute of the nature and ambience we get to experience at home. We are true homebodies.

How did you get your shop name?
It’s my name and it means industrious one. I’m well named, I have a hard time sitting still and love to be productive. Whether it’s making handmade treasures or cranking out financial statements, my mom nailed it when she named me.

What is one way that you keep organized?
I use Google Calendar and Evernote to keep me on schedule and keep all my necessary notes at my fingertips. One of my favorite ways to organize fabric is on hanging files, I fold the fabric over the hanging file edges and I have a quick glance of all my fabrics. And the best part, no wrinkles!

How do you balance family life and work life?
I don’t balance. Is this ok to admit? I work hard a both and succeed and fail at both from time to time. I don’t beat myself up when I fail, I get back up and take another run at it. I have a fabulous husband who takes on more of the household duties to keep us running smoothly when its necessary. The key to making it all work is choosing joy no matter what life serves up and having a partner who is in it for the long haul. I have both. I’m a lucky girl.

Ollie’s First Christmas

Each Christmas since Dusty and I have been together, we have traveled down to Southern Illinois to my parents house for Christmas. Although I don’t know what this looks like in a few years once Ollie understands who Santa is on Christmas morning, we woke up at my parent’s house and waited for my sister and brother-in-law to arrive. We opened stockings from Santa and then presents from each other.

It was so fun watching Ollie be so excited. He reacted a lot more than we thought he would this year. We really didn’t expect him to get into presents or really know what was going on, but he had a blast! He loved all of his toys and wanted to eat the bows on his packages. I believe I became “mom of the year” after having to dig some wrapping paper out of his mouth… but I assume we only live once!

After presents, Ollie fell asleep for a long morning nap. Honestly, he has had so much energy this past week after being in the hospital all of last week, the nap was overdue. We stayed at my parent’s house for Christmas breakfast and lunch! It was super yummy. After lunch and some napping ourselves, we hit the road to return home. It is only about a two hour drive from our house to our parent’s and we had to get home to do a little Christmas hosting of our own! It was so nice seeing everyone and celebrating Jesus’ Birthday!

Breaking Christmas Busy

Breaking Christmas Busy

I’m a doer and a dreamer. Holiday season loves me. I love the holiday season. However, each year I set expectations for myself that positions me in a such a way that I fail. I fail every time. Not really to other people’s expectations, but to my own; and I beat myself up.

I was listening The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey the other day on the way to a work meeting. I love The Happy Hour. It’s real people speaking about real life, even if their lives seem fancy and admirable. It’s an hour a week… or more where I sit and listen to these folks and repeatedly say “yes! that’s exactly right!” more times than not. Well, this day I was listening to Alli Worthington, and this girl is the coolest. She’s wrote a book and leads a company on women finding their passion, purpose, and potential in the world, linking business and Jesus together. How cool is that?! She’s right up my alley.

Anyways, she recently wrote a book about the impact busyness has on your everyday life and I want to tell you that I have read it, but I haven’t and that would be lying. I just want to. Alli and Jamie were discussing her new book and started talking about Christmas expectations. Work parties. Friends’ parties. Cookie exchanges. Pictures with Santa. Breakfast with Santa. Elf on the Shelf. Hand-stamped craft paper wrapped presents. Christmas family photos. Christmas cards. New Year’s recap email. Presents for the sitter, and the coaches, and the teachers, and mailman, and your favorite barista. Black Friday shopping. Christmas shopping with the girls. Stringing popcorn. Constructing gingerbread houses. Driving around looking at Christmas lights. Decorating everything — your exterior, your interior, your wardrobe, whatever. Ugly Christmas sweater parties. Ugly Christmas sweater hunting. Hot cocoa. Christmas movies. Writing a letter to Santa. Making reindeer food. Volunteering. Donating…

Geez I’m exhausted already.

Breaking Christmas Busy

It’s easy to exhaust ourselves over the holidays. Sure enough, you can open up Pinterest and search “Christmas bucket list” and see how you are not living up to expectations. We tell ourselves that we have to do all of these things, or at the very least, we want to do all of these things. But in all honesty, I make a promise each year to just be “present” during the holidays, “enjoy” them, and “experience” them.

So with that I am making a promise to you not too expect much this year. I am breaking my Christmas busy. I am closing my eyes and picturing what a successful Christmas looks like for me and my family, and not including any assumptions from others in that. It means we might not be able to attend your party this year. It means that my presents may be wrapped in mismatched left overs from our previous Christmases. It means that we will not string popcorn, write a letter to Santa, or buy miniature presents for everyone on our list because we are suppose to. We value you, I promise, but you surely do not want that value pack of mini lotions anyways. Mini lotions do not equal love and honestly, if you think they do, you don’t know us too well. And we will NOT do Elf on the Shelf. Ever.

When I close my eyes and picture the present, relaxed, anti-chaotic holiday season for my family… this is what I see:

  • Baby Ollie rolling around in the floor staring at the bright Christmas tree.
  • Filling our house with people that we love over cookies and wine.
  • Cuddling on the couch with Christmas Ale and The Santa Clause… maybe with some Christmas-themed ice cream, or just Sam’s Choice cookie butter because it is delicious.
  • Pictures with Santa.
  • Packing up the car to visit family.
  • Ending our Christmas night with a drive through the local lights.

That’s it. If it is not listed above, it is optional and although parts of me wants to apologize for that, I am not going to. The “feeling bad” part of all of this is what drives us to an insanely busy holiday season with high expectations and the feel of failure. I don’t want that for me. I don’t want that for my family. And I don’t want that for you.

So what does your Christmas season look like? How is the picture painted in your hear when you close your eyes? If you need some inspiration, I highly suggest listening to Alli Worthington right now and then intentionally imagining your holidays. Make a point to not to set high expectations that lead to that feeling of failure and regret and despair. Break your Christmas busy.

Breaking Christmas Busy