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IMG_4587I know many people dread the coming weeks, but as you know, I love the holidays. I love the busy stores, the sights, sounds and smells, I love the cheer, the family get-togethers, the parties, the joy. I love anything the holidays bring. And while I love Halloween and Thanksgiving, my favorite is Christmas. I love anything Santa, the music, the cheer, the busy-ness of the holidays! I know it can be a stressful time, but once you remember the stores and traffic will be busier, things may be a bit more chaotic, etc, it all becomes ok, even fun. Just try to change your mindset and look around and enjoy all the holidays offer. It’s a time we see family and friends we may not see all year. Sure, some family and friends get under our skin, but they are still family/friends. People we really do love. I try to not think of how they might annoy me, but I try to smile and remember that’s what makes them them. I put aside my grievances with them and remember how lucky I am to see them at the holidays. Especially since we never know holiday to holiday if we will see them again. Again, it’s all in the mindset. You just have to change your own thinking. Try not to hate at this time, but try to enjoy it. There are families of our SOWF that would LOVE to have a chance to have that usual holiday fight with their loved one that may not get that chance this year. Think of the parents  of the SOWF kids who have to do this all alone this year. Keep them in mind when you start to dread the holidays. Think how lucky you are to be able to fight the crowds to buy those last few gifts, or food items for last minute parties. Trust me, they would all give up everything to have that. This year, when the holidays come around, think of our SOWF families, maybe give a donation in a friends name. When you cant think of that last gift to buy someone or your place of business needs another charity to help out, please PLEASE think of the SOWF. Help out those families all alone this year.
IMG_4550Giving is such a great part of the holidays. Giving donations, your time to someone in need, time with your loved ones. Some of my top favorite memories growing up was the holiday time. We spent so much time together as a family cutting down the tree, decorating it, driving looking at lights, going to mass, I loved it and still love it all. There is something so magical and cozy about this time of year. If it were me, it would be the holidays all year long! I grew up in a house that the rest of the year you may have fought more, got on each others nerves, etc but once it was holiday time we somehow all forgot that. We had parents who were Mr. and Mrs. Claus themselves, a house full of holiday spirit and love. And thankfully I married a man with that same holiday love. We love decorating the house, selecting the newest Santa (we love finding new Santas each year to decorate our house with), a new ornament for that year to add to the tree, we enjoy ever cheesy holiday movie, look for lights, etc. We are Christmas nuts. But I cant imagine not having family and friends around! It is my joy!

IMG_4638I love this picture of last years Santa. We went a bit big on it and this one gets to go outside!!! We spend all year looking for a new Santa to add to our amazing collection. Some were gifts, some were handmade by us or my former students, others bought specially for our collection! I LOVE SANTAS and our house at the holidays!

So this year, when things get to be too much, the to-do list gets long, and family is getting on your nerves, think about how lucky you are to have all of that to do and deal with. You are loved, you are lucky to have the holidays to celebrate, you aren’t alone!
Embrace the love and joys of the season enjoying each moment as we inch closer to 2016!