11.23.2014

Random thoughts about blogging in the month of December…..and a giveaway!

If you are wondering, I am still here.

I have been at this blogging thing since 2009 and I have never much cared for blogging during the holidays.  I completely blame the self-imposed pressure I put on myself.  But it's hard sometimes to not feel 'less than' when you visit blogs during this time and it seems everyone but YOU has time for homemade gifts, crafts with their children, orchestrating the perfect holiday gathering, hand-stamping wrapping paper, hand-painting signs, advent calendars, date nights, decorating thematic trees, creating festively stocked hot cocoa stands in their kitchens and baking the perfect treats and cookies……I'm just exhausted writing it all down.  Don't even get me started on the 'Linky Parties', blog hops, home tours…….I am often left wondering, does the real life experience match the Pinterest worthy images? Is that blogger REALLY enjoying the season as much as her photos want you to believe?  More important, would her children rather have her TIME vs. the hot cocoa stand?

I have, in the past, fallen into the trap of wanting everything to be 'perfect' only to feel immensely disappointed when it is all said and done….not to mention exhausted and just glad it's over.  I vow to not allow myself to feel this way this year.  I have really thoughtfully considered what it would take for me to arrive at December 26 feeling like I really enjoyed the holiday season.  I will make a some changes this year.  I am going to lessen/eliminate some aspects of the season that stress me out and focus on parts of the season that bring me and my family the most joy.

Lessen

1.  Buy less gifts.  My girls are teenagers now, and really want for nothing.  They are blessed beyond measure.  In the past, I always felt like they need a 'big' gift and many smaller gifts - too many.  We are paying for private school tuition, theatre classes and this year hefty travel expenses for our soccer player.  Thankfully, my girls appreciate these things and know that these experiences are 'gifts' themselves.

2.  Simplify the food/meal planning and preparation .  I love baking, but not five different kinds of cookies.  Our family tradition has always been to go to church on Christmas Eve and then come back home and eat appetizers while opening our Chirstmas presents {Santa brings presents for Christmas morning}.  This year, I am suggesting we go out to dinner at a festive restaurant before church and then come home and enjoy desserts and wine while opening our presents.

3. Blog when I feel like it.  You will hear from me less this month.  I do have posts planned.  I will be sharing my decked out holiday kitchen along with a bunch of other bloggers.  And I will show snippets of my simply decorated  home too.  I am hosting a cookie exchange as a fundraiser for my daughter's school and have some fun plans for that that I will share too.  But I won't blog just to blog - I will leave all the things I mentioned above to the over-achievers.

4. Decorate simply with mostly natural elements rather than doo-dads and tchotchkes.

My Joy List

1. Attend Advent masses.  I love attending the Friday mass celebrations at my daughter's high school - there is something about seeing teens expressing their faith I find so inspiring.  I always have better Fridays when I take the time to attend these masses.  They make sure they are really special during the advent season.

2. Host friends for casual gatherings.  Also, have fun lunches with my girlfriends!

3. Bake with my daughters.

4. Christmas shop. I love taking each of my girls separately and help them choose gifts for one another and their dad.  Instilling a giving heart in each of my girls is very important to me.  I love witnessing them caring about picking out the perfect gift for their sister.

5. Peacock Lane and Zoo Lights.  In our city we have a street called Peacock Lane where EVERY house decorates all out for Christmas.  It gets so busy it requires police to direct traffic!  When the girls were little we would get them ready for bed in their pajamas and then go drive Peacock Lane.  Our zoo does 'Zoo Lights' and since our girls were little we made a night out of it.  Even though they are teenagers now, these important family traditions are a favorite of the season!

6.  Get an Oregon Forestry Department tree cutting permit.  I love our family tradition of going for a hike in the forest to find the perfect Christmas tree.  Now, my family has vetoed the 'natural' tree for our main Christmas tree so this year {like last} we will find a smallish natural tree to have in our dining room.

7. Watch 'Elf' with my family - it's our favorite!

7. Remember the reason for the season….

In addition, we are putting up our tree earlier, like the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  Typically we would wait till the first weekend of December but I am thinking that getting the house ready earlier will allow me to just enjoy the season - because believe it or not - I am NOT a huge fan of decorating my house for the holidays.  I happen to like my house the way it is decorated the other 11 months of the year quite well, thank you very much.

Please know, I don't mean to insult readers or blogger who LOVE all things Christmas……I am just providing my side of the story…. Admittedly this plan of mine could all go sideways as fast as you can say 'we wish you a Merry Christmas'……I promise to report back to you in early January if my plan was executed and successful…….or just how much the family liked my hot cocoa stand…...

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And in other randomness………….



 Remember the gallery wall update post I did a couple weeks ago?

When I freshened up my gallery wall, I replaced a more 'country' feeling sign that read 'NEST' with the more modern sign pictured above that reads 'HELLO'.

When I purchased my HELLO sign, I also purchased one to giveaway!


And because this post is all about making things easier for us busy moms…..I will make this the easiest giveaway you have ever entered! Simply type the word 'HELLO' in the comment section for your chance to win……that's it.  Enter by Tuesday, November 25th.  

Winner will be announced here on Wednesday!







72 comments on "Random thoughts about blogging in the month of December…..and a giveaway!"
  1. Hello! I love this post. I have been without internet for almost a month now.. It has actually been relaxing. I love the idea of simplifying Christmas. I almost reach the end exhausted and frustrated. I am determined for things to be different this year too. Thanks for sharing so openly. It is good to know others have the same struggles ad I do. Many Blessings!

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  2. Hello and thank you. I've been blogging a long time too and the holidays stress me out. The truth for me is that I adore the holidays but not the overdoing of decorations part. I love the decorations too...just not too many. Make sense? Thanks for your candor. :)

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  3. HELLO! I, too, am stepping away from my blog for the holidays. My home won't be decorated until December 1st contrary to all the big blogs - I won't push the season. Congrats on choosing a simpler holiday - I'm sure you won't regret it!

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  4. HELLO! Thank you, Jill, for keeping it "real" here in your space. I couldn't agree more with your sentiments & hope to follow your lead this Christmas season. Thank you for your honesty & inspiration! (And for the chance to win!)
    - Karen H.

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  5. HELLO. I agree that it is really important that we choose our activities wisely at this busy time of year and really be present for our families and traditions, whatever they may be. We regularly attended mass until this summer when we were faced with a challenge at our parish. I am hoping to recommit to mass this Advent season, even if that means driving to another town.

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  6. Hello, your blog was the first I followed, and start here everyday. Love your style!

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  7. Hello!
    Mnelson711@hotmail.com

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  8. Hello Jill! I love this post...and comes at the perfect time for me. I often find myself wondering how and where to find the time and energy to got it all in during this beautiful season. You've reminded me to pick the things that mean the most, not what "looks" the most. Thank you! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

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  9. Hello Jill! Love your style! Have a wonderful holiday season and be BLESSED!!!
    -Katie Sustarsic

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  10. oh my gosh i totally feel you here! i am craving all of this as well- it's so easy to get caught up.
    and i love the sign- it would look perfect in my bathroom! thanks for the chance to win!

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  11. HELLO...and I love your honesty in this post!

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  12. Hello from a Seattle mom who lived in Pdx for four years....loved Peacock Lane. Enjoy the season!

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  13. Hello and what a wonderful post. I completely agree about christmas time and blogs. In our house it's all about the traditions we have established through the years, since I have 16 year old twins this is so important to me. My kids will be off to college in a very few short years. So we must enjoy every minute while they are home. Happy holidays to you and yours, enjoy every minute!!

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  14. Hello - love everything about this! Xo Maria

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  15. Hello.... I love this honest post. I feel the exact same way :-)

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  16. Hello! Love this post. We have, over the past couple of years, done less for the holidays. Definitely more enjoyable.

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  17. Great post! We are keeping it simple as always around here. Our sons appreciate the traditions we have started which include a favorite treat, riding around looking at Christmas lights, and attending worship service together. Enjoy!

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  18. HELLO. Blessings to you and your family Jill. Merry Christmas. xo

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  19. Hello! Great Post! I agree, and simplifying our holiday decorating and cooking and lives! Happy Thanksgiving!

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  20. Hello! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your beautiful family!
    xo~Shonda

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  21. Hello! Thank you for your generosity in this giveaway!

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  22. Hello! {makes me thing of Lionel Richie and his song.... Hello, is it me you're looking for!?"}

    Happy Monday!
    Jen Gilday
    athomeinthenorthwestblog.com

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  23. Hello! And I agree with you about simplifying and not worrying about everything being perfect during the holidays. I'm hoping to enjoy time with my family, doing the things we love and baking yummy treats.

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  24. Hello there and thanks for the chance at the cute sign.

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  25. Hello from Patti H. in Livonia, MI!

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  26. Hello! I am with you in keeping it simple : )

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  27. HELLO! I'm right there with you on simplifying... and I feel at this point in my life I know what things are worth the effort (our annual caroling party) and what are not (trying to frost cookies like Martha Stewart).

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  28. Hello Jill! Super fantastic, wonderful, amazing post. I've had the same thoughts (one woman was moving and still decorated for Christmas ~ say wah?!!) I wish you and your family a very wonderful Christmas season (when the time comes!) :D

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  29. HELLO

    From Janis adonai_olkew@yahoo.com

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  30. You go girl! LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!!!!

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  31. HELLO...great post..and i agree..although i bet your hot cocoa station would rock!! ;)

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  32. Hello! Thanks for the giveaway and happy holidays to you and yours!

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  33. Hello!

    (And I'm sorry if this is a repeat comment--issues!)

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  34. hello...thanks for the giveaway!

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  35. HELLO!!! Always look forward to your posts!!

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  36. Alright, I missed the giveaway so I'll say more than just Hello. ;-) I just loved this post!!!! I have such a desire to simplify everything this Christmas, and I do wonder if it's because there is just so. much. going on when you're online. More than ever I want my home to be an escape from the noise. Well, decorating noise anyway. I don't think the kid noise is going anywhere any time soon! Haha, luckily that kind of noise welcome. Anyway, enjoy relaxing holidays and thanks so much for sharing. xoxo!!

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