Happy Friday from the front porch sweet friends and welcome to December!
We made it home safely from the cabin and I’ve spent most of the week catching up on laundry, cleaning out the car (oh my word the nose prints and slobber drive me bananas 🤦♀️) scoping out sales for last-minute gifts, and putting the finishing touches on our holiday home.
We had the bulk of everything done before we left, and it felt so good to walk through our front door and have our sweet shop-inspired Christmas tree welcome us home.
The long drive back always gives me plenty of time to think so I thought I would share a few gentle reminders and answer some of your questions before we get too far into the season…
Reframing the Holidays:
Some of you got a second chance at a Happy Thanksgiving filled with family and friends and I could not be more excited for you! I don’t think we’ve fully realized the impact Covid has had on our society yet.
Those 2 years of dealing with the pandemic were really, really tough.
For those of you that got to hug your loved ones tight and make fresh memories – keep that feeling close this season – it is pure gold.
I’ll get to see my parents and sisters and their families this weekend and I plan to smother them with hugs and kisses. I’m sure the teenagers will be thrilled 😂
For those of you who had a Thanksgiving that didn’t turn out as you had planned don’t be afraid to grieve the loss, feel the feelings, look for the silver linings where possible, and find a way to move forward.
I know it’s not always as simple as “letting go.”
Believe me when I say I totally get it.
I just want you to know there is still plenty of time to have a magical season.
Don’t let what happened at Thanksgiving mess up your Christmas, ok?
You can give grace and honor your boundaries at the same time.
Recapping and Reconnecting:
After every trip, we do a post-mortem assessment on what could have gone better or been handled in a different way, and it. is. eye-opening.
Sometimes it’s as easy as, “I forgot my nail kit. Can you order me an extra one for my travel case?” or as complex as “Being around this person makes me uncomfortable. I’d like to shorten the time I have to spend with them.”
The conversations are not always easy to have but they are so, so, so important!
On Gifting and Donating:
I know a lot of you have been diligent about decluttering and organizing your homes this year since starting our 52 Weeks to a Simplified & Organized Home Challenge.
It’s been so much fun to cheer you on and help you celebrate reaching your goals.
This time of year can be tricky, especially where gift-giving is concerned. So, I thought I would share how we handle gifts that are a little “extra.”
Several years ago, someone gave me a purple puffer coat in a size XL. I wore a medium at the time. It was a tender situation, and I desperately didn’t want to hurt the person’s feelings.
I graciously accepted the gift that no joke made me look like an Oompa Loompa knowing I would never ever wear it.
A few days later, one of my girlfriends was helping me clean out my closet and fell in love with it. I gave her the coat on the spot, and she was tickled pink.
Since that moment, I’ve never hesitated to donate those gifts that are not the right fit for myself or our family because I know someone else can love, enjoy, and treasure them more.
Ideas for Guys/Dads/Brothers in Laws:
Finally, several of you have asked why I didn’t include a Dad/Father in Law/Brother/Brother in Law ideas in our Best Holiday Gift Guide post.
The honest truth is that most of the guys in my life don’t wait for a holiday to ask for what they need. They simply save for what they want and get it when they need it no matter what time of year it is.
I’m talking about everything from a paper clip to a plane, which means we have to get really intentional with their gifts.
In the past we’ve given date night packages that included making the reservations, paying for dinner and babysitting, specialty cuts of meats and rubs, race tickets, concert tickets, a yearly beach pass, making a generous donation to their favorite charity, books from their wish list, an Audible and Masterclass subscription, a range finder for the golf course, food truck vouchers from around the city, gift cards, money, and lots of random items we thought they would love in between.
This year, we did a “Making Spirits Bright” gift that fell under our Simple Pleasures and Little Luxuries theme for my brothers-in-law with craft moonshine and goodies to make dirty martinis.
My Dad is THE hardest person on the planet to buy for so we’re helping him transition Bliss Barracks to include more smart home features.
Last year, Santa made his childhood dreams come true with his very own drum set. It was the last gift he opened and one of the few times I can ever remember him being speechless. Talk about a priceless moment!
If you have someone in your life that is hard to buy for pin your favorite gift guides now and consider keeping a list of things you hear them talk about or seem interested in throughout the year.
I do this for the ladies and for the littles in my life too!
That way, when it comes time to celebrate special occasions or holidays, you’ll have an idea at the ready.
A Few of Our Favorite Things from Around the Web…
This home is so beautiful, it’s hard to pick a favorite space.
Jen totally nailed her Red and White Old World Holiday House Tour, every inch is so warm and inviting.
Speaking of foliage, Kim put together, 9 of the Most Wonderful Tree Decorating Ideas, to put you in the holiday spirit this week.
Loved the European farmhouse vibe in this holiday home tour, it’s really pretty.
A unique and creative log cabin tour by Jean Stoffer Design.
I could definitely cozy up in Rachel’s holiday kitchen with a cup of hot cider. The orange slices and greenery are all amazing!
This tablescape would be such a pretty way to celebrate a winter birthday or the holidays.
These playlists are so good!
These hotels are creating sleep-enhancing packages and they sound fabulous if you need a possible gift or getaway idea.
Have you seen these gift-wrapping videos yet? They’re fantastic.
I love this paper too!
This is such a pretty dress if you have a fancy party, wedding, or dinner to attend this season.
30 Simple Moments to Remember This Season (these ideas really helped me stay focused during the long holiday weekend)
Words to Live By…
Fourth Quarter Books of the Month and Devotional…
(Amazon affiliate links have been provided for your convenience. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Any sales made through such links will support us with a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read our full disclosure policy here)
- October: Celebrating Home by James T Farmer, III (this book would make such a fabulous gift!)
- November: How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K White (love how she gives herself 4 cleaning related non-negotiables each day because it feels totally doable) OR How to Keep House While Drowning by KC Davis
- December: The Power of One More by Ed Mylett
- Devotion: Courageous Kindness by (in)courage (the best way to start the day!)
On the Menu this Week…
December 4th – December 11th
- 12/03 Saturday: 20-Minute Sheet Pan Sausage & Veggies
- 12/04 Sunday: Oven Braised Pot Roast with Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
- 12/05 Monday: Salmon with Creamy Dijon Sauce with a side of asparagus
- 12/06 Tuesday: Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup with Jalapeno Cheddar Bread
- 12/07 Wednesday: Greek Salad with field greens
- 12/08 Thursday: Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Sesame Chicken with brown rice and steamed veggies
- 12/09 Friday: Turkey Apple Brie Flatbread with field greens
- 12/10 Saturday: Slow Cooker 3 Bean Chili
- 12/11 Sunday: Thai Shrimp Noodles
Sweet Treats to Try This Week…
Blush and Neutral Inspired Finds We Spotted Online at Amazon and Target This Week…
(Amazon and Target affiliate links have been provided for your convenience. As an Amazon and Impact Media Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Any sales made through such links will support us with a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read our full disclosure policy here)
If You’ve Missed Anything from the Blog Recently or the Archives, Here’s a Peek At What We’ve Been Up To…
5 Simple Steps to Decorating a Holiday Mantel (10 cozy ideas in one post!)
A Little Sparkle Holiday Home Tour (last year’s home tour)
Our Best Holiday Gift Guide (160 Ideas to Explore)
December Bucket List…
- Observe Advent
- Celebrate December Birthdays and Anniversaries
- Donate to the Sweater Drive
- Hang a Stocking for Piper
- Attend Dance and Piano Recitals and Cheer on The Littles
- Sip Cocoa at The Lights Festival
- Christmas Lunch with Extended Family at The Farm
- Make Christmas Fettuccine and Watch The Holiday
- Celebrate Christmas with The Pod at Bliss Barracks
- Leave Cookies and Milk for Santa and Veggies for the Reindeer
- Enjoy Holiday Vacation
- Set Goals, Dreams, and Intentions for 2023
- Create a Vision Board for 2023
- Celebrate New Year’s Eve and Midnight Gift Exchange
- Read the Book of the Month
- Keep Sundays Sacred
December Simplified and Organized Home Challenge…
Focus of the Month: Holiday Planning & Preparing for the New Year
- 12/03 – Mail Christmas Packages
- 12/10 – Finalize Christmas Menu & Grocery List
- 12/17 – Purchase New Planner & Set Goals for the New Year
- 12/26 – Organize Holiday Storage Items
TCG Housekeeping Notes, Dates to Remember, and Upcoming Posts…
- 12/02 National Mutt Day
- 12/04 Second Week of Advent: Peace
- 12/04 National Cookie Day
- 12/09 Christmas Card Day
- 12/11 Third Week of Advent: Love
- 12/13 National Cocoa Day
- 12/14-17 Shipping Deadline for Christmas Ground Delivery
- 12/17 National Wreaths Across America Day
- 12/18 Fourth Week of Advent: Joy
- 12/18 Hannukah Begins
- 12/24 Christmas Eve
- 12/25 Christmas Day
- 12/26 Boxing Day
- 12/26 Hannukah Ends
- 12/26 Kwanzaa Begins
- 12/31 New Year’s Eve
As always, we appreciate you more than you could ever know, and we hope your weekend is peace-filled and relaxing. We can’t wait to share even more with you next week!