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rekindle your holidays: family traditions {$50 starbucks giftcard giveaway}

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My little sis (on the left) and I rocking the homemade Christmas light sweaters, circa 1988.

This week, I am excited to be sharing a 3-part series with you devoted to celebrating the holidays.

I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t matter how many holiday seasons I have lived through, how many conversations I’ve had over the years about how to “simplify” and slow things down, or what great intentions I may have. Decembers are simply always busy. Usually “good” busy. But busy nonetheless. So amidst the hustle and bustle, I will always take any reminders or ideas to heart for bringing back the meaning and joy of the season. Each year I am grateful that those reminders often come through traditions — both those that my family made for us growing up, and those that I have created on my own. And in my life, those traditions often revolve around family, music and giving.

So today we begin with family! Whether your family lives near or far, whether you have a big family or small, whether you are the young grandchild or the eldest patriarch or matriarch, hopefully a few of these ideas might help get your ready for the holidays with those you love.

Sled time with the cousins…with Yours Truly crying up a storm in the middle. Proud moment.

Break out the photo albums!

Your family may get along famously and enjoy every minute together. But whether you do, or whether that might not be the case, there is something about the magic of cracking open those weathered photos from the 80’s and seeing an earnest smile beneath sky-high poofy bangs that will bring joy to just about any room. Especially as someone with a terrible memory, looking through photo albums and then hearing the stories that accompany them is such a fun way to remember and celebrate good moments from the past. Even awkward teenage memories lose their edge a bit when you see how ridiculous awesome you looked in those big blue glasses.

So grab some photo albums and a family member (and better — grab a new family member to join in!), and take a trip down memory lane. (And then remind yourself to get those photos converted to digital after Christmas so that they will really stand the test of time!)

Break out the good eats!

As a food blogger, I hear from so many people who super-stress over cooking the perfect holiday meal. But if I’ve learned anything from helping entertain and cook around the holidays, the last thing you need is extra stress. Especially over a Christmas ham. My recommendation is always to do what you can do and still have time to hang with those you love and sleep.

So if you find yourself cooking for a huge crowd with little time to prepare, do not volunteer to do all of the work!! T his is not the time to prove yourself. This is time to enjoy your time with family. So if you need to delegate, delegate. If you need to keep things simple, go simple. If you want to go gourmet, go gourmet. If you want to do delivery or go out, there are now tons of amazing options out there.

Our family’s tradition is to have a big meal that everyone helps make on Christmas Eve. And then our immediate family enjoys monkey bread for breakfast and a shrimp peel for lunch on Christmas Day. One big feast, one quick and simple. And both provide plenty of leftovers so that you can kick back and relax the next few days (one of our favorite traditions).

Break out the board games!

Turn off the tv, and put those phones down. This is not Words with Friends.

Go and grab a real live Scrabble board, or Monopoly, or Settlers, or a deck of cards, or whatever your fam may have. Even if you haven’t played together in years, games are such a fun way to get everyone to interact and see everyone’s personalities come through. You will inevitably have someone who is a hard-and-fast rule abider, someone who wants to talk and always misses when it’s their turn, someone who wants to create new rules, and someone whose competitive streak will come out to surprise you. But regardless, keep everything in good fun and enjoy putting those brains to work while laughing it up and enjoying the company of your family.

Break outside!

Maybe it’s being from the Midwest where the weather is usually freeeeezing around the holidays, but for some reason, it seems that holidays often equal long hours indoors for so many families. So mix things up this year and start some new traditions outside! And if you have snow on the ground, all the better!!

Our family had a tradition of making (literal) snow bunnies whenever we had a White Christmas. But even if you’re not up for rolling around in the snow, grab your boots and just go for a nice walk around the neighborhood after a meal. It will help you start burning off some of those calories, and can be a great time to chat it up with a family member, or even get a few minutes to yourself if you’re an introvert. Either way, the fresh air will do you good.

And of course, you can always break out the Christmas sweaters.

Well, that may not be a tradition with the people†in our family. But Henry dresses the part each year.

$50 Starbucks Gift Card Giveaway:

How To Enter:

How are you preparing for the holiday season? †Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a $50†Starbucks†gift card!†


No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  • a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  • b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  • c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  • d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 12/13/12 -12/28/12.

Visit the Starbucks brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts and find more chances to win!

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174 comments on “rekindle your holidays: family traditions {$50 starbucks giftcard giveaway}”

  1. I began my holiday preparations by throwing a Christmas party last Friday. We cooked and baked so much food! And it wouldn’t be Christmas if I didn’t make everyone listen to my Barbara Streisand Christmas vinyl at least twice!

  2. tweet–

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

  3. We have been going through our house trying to see what clothing and toys can be donated.

    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

  4. my wife and i kept it simple this year for Hanukkah. we’re spending time/skyping with family in other cities and letting our puppy get us a present.

  5. I’m doing lots of baking!

  6. I’m preparing for the Holidays by doing a lot of grocery & gift shopping, baking, decorating, listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas cartoons & movies, and drinking lots of ginderbread lattes.

  7. I tweeted about this promotion.

  8. Lots of baking, listening to Christmas music and decorating!

  9. This weekend is the annual bake-a-thon for holiday goody plates!

  10. At the moment, I’m mostly preparing by baking and cleaning! Soon, though, there will be decorating and wrapping presents and meeting with friends (:

  11. We like to ride around with the kids and look at lights. We pop some corn and make some hot chocolate and make an event out of it!

  12. Awwww, such cute photos! And Henry is adorable.

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway! I’m preparing for the holidays by utilizing my slow cooker for many of the big meals – that thing is a godsend!

  13. I am preparing by exercising now so I can eat my heart out when I get home next weekend!

  14. This is going to be my first Christmas away from my family- my first Christmas as a wife. I’m having a hard time getting in the holiday spirit but I am excited to combine some of our individual family traditions to create our own traditions as a couple. In the mean time- listening to christmas music and looking at my tree make the season a little brighter!

  15. came across your blog on pinterest! love it!

  16. We set up all our christmas decorations, our tree, and made our xmas cookies! We are all ready :)

  17. tweeted

  18. I’ve been doing a lot of shopping and decorating!

  19. I’m getting ready by planning gifts (doing my comparison shopping at home on the laptop instead of wandering through stores), drinking eggnog, and cranking the Christmas music.

  20. I’m writing my thesis to finish grad school and starbucks would be wonderful!

  21. I am preparing for the holidays by not getting caught up in the hype of the holiday gimmicks to need all the things advertised…to be grateful to,have what I do and remember nothing material can change my life..true change, the best holiday gift starts with me

    Oliviatheservicedog at hotmail dot com

  22. Baking a lot! Drinking eggnog lattes! Burning candles! I LOVE this time of year!!!

  23. I’m getting ready to go across the country to California for Christmas. Only regret is definitely no white Christmas for me this year. Of course, with a Starbucks every 10 steps in airports & on every block in California, I could really use the $50.

  24. Making Christmas cookies :)

  25. I’m preparing for the holidays by baking and decorating the house :)

  26. I tweeted

  27. We’re putting up a tree and a few decorations but most of our holiday will be at Grandma’s so we don’t put out a lot of effort.

  28. Getting ready for Christmas by baking, listening to my awesome Xmas playlist on repeat, shopping & decorating as much as possible! I love Christmas!!

  29. We have put up our tree and lights and are reflecting on the advent season each week.

  30. preparing cookies, buying decorations on sale and keeping a list of all the holiday appetizers to try this year!

  31. We are making the dough for those cookie recipes that can be frozen and baked later. We started the cleaning by doing a little every day so we won’t have to rush on the 23rd. Bought the turkey and all other ingredients except for the fresh veggies.

  32. tweet

  33. I also tried to let our lily cat wear sweaters, hats, and boots, she’s super cute :D poor thing. We’re travelling for the holiday season, I’m knitting gifts for family and friends. Thanks for the giveaway.
    songyueyu at gmail

  34. tweet:
    songyueyu at gmail

  35. By making LOTS of lists and boxes to sort each destination for gifts that are traveling

  36. Cleaned house and put up tree and decorations.

  37. We are preparing for a road trip to spend Christmas with our family :)

  38. Tweeted!

  39. I’m preparing for the holidays by shopping and wrapping gifts along with keeping a list of things that I need to buy.


  41. I’m cleaning, getting the shopping and wrapping done as far in advance as possible, and deciding what goodies to make for my in-laws’ big Christmas get together.

  42. I prepare by making a list of what I need to do

  43. Looks like that monkey bread is going to become a major player in my little family’s holiday tradition!

  44. I am preparing for the holidays by encouraging my husband to help me come up with some holiday traditions of our own this year :-)

  45. I’m preparing by baking lots of cookies!

  46. It is not my year to host the big holiday for family, so I am getting ready to travel. I have also made batches of home made gifts–vanilla extract and vanilla sugar that I need to label.

  47. Tweet;

  48. I wrap presents and do my shopping early so I can enjoy holiday parties and not stress as much

  49. I am preparing for the holidays by doing some last minute shopping, spending time with family, and listening to A LOT of Christmas music!

  50. i’m, wrapping as a i shop and stay away from malls to keep myself in the spirit