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The holiday are in full swing and Christmas is just days away. This time of year can be filled with joy and excitement (biggest congratulations to our newly engaged gals) and it can also be bursting with activities, events and a seemingly never-ending to-do list. Whether you’re all-the-hearts over your new diamond or trying to knock out wedding to-dos in-between wrapping presents and sealing envelopes, it’s easy to get caught up in the busy and forget to carve out time to focus on what matters most. So let’s all agree to put down the to-do lists, throw those last presents in gift bags and take some time to embrace the holidays.

Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Justin Demutiis for all these festive photos!

Here are a few personally tested ways to embrace the holidays and add a little extra festive love into your most important relationships:

1. Two words: Hot chocolate. Whether you’re a devout coffee drinker or an extra whip cream kind of gal (yes, please), the thought of taking time to actually sit and enjoy a hot holiday beverage for even a few minute without trying to cross off another to-do sounds dreamy. This doesn’t have to be an all day affair. Sneak away from your family for a half hour and drive to Starbucks or duck out after dinner one night or for any early-morning breakfast date. The important thing is not when but making an effort to carve out some intention time to be still.

2. Take advantage of any planned travel to enjoy a little extra holiday-inspired quality time. The SW gals are all professional road trippers: check out our expert tips. For travel over the holidays, take things up a notch and pack some gingerbread cookies, make a holiday playlist or prep holiday-themed “20-questions” (think: favorite childhood toy, best memory, worst holiday outfit, etc.).

3. Recreate a childhood holiday tradition. For me, it’s new pajamas on Christmas Eve and watching the Santa Clause (my most favorite holiday movie). Doing this with KPW puts me in the holiday spirit and force me to reset, so we’ve been known to do this on nights other than Christmas Eve utilizing last year’s festive jams.

4. Take listening to holiday music to a new level with your own version of Christmas Karaoke. While I’m a strict ‘no-holiday music’ until after I’ve eaten Thanksgiving dinner gal, all bets are off once the turkey leftovers are put away until the confetti falls on NYE. Pull out your parent’s old holiday records or blast the (retro?) N’Sync Christmas album. Don’t just play the music in the background–channel your inner Mariah Carey and belt out the songs! Dancing along is recommended and participation by all parties is highly encouraged. Let your hair down and turn the music up.

5. Go hunt holiday lights! Wedding bouquets are to weddings as Christmas lights are to Christmas. Twinkly lights might be around more than just during December, but there’s something extra special about the holiday lights when you add candles in the windows and wreaths on the doors (bonus points for holiday inflatables). Put on your cozy clothes and pile into the car or throw on your tennis shoes and a scarf (assuming you don’t live in FL) and go on a search for Christmas lights around your neighborhood or city (hand holding encouraged). I’m betting just getting away for a few minutes will clear your head and have you humming a Christmas song in no time.

It’s amazing what a little intentional holiday reset will do for my spirits and how (with just a little effort) it will refocus me on what ultimately matters. Remember, there’s nothing magical about December 25, so bring on the Christmas pajamas and hot chocolate as long at the tree’s still up and you’re still humming a little “12 Days of Christmas”. Merry Christmas, y’all!

PS: I’m sure y’all are bursting with other great ways to embrace the holidays. Share them below!! xo.

kristin Written with love by Kristin
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  1. avatar Kelly reply

    Oh I love these posts! Wonderful ideas to reset, be still, and enjoy these last few days before Christmas. :)

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SW Ornament Swap :: Partners Sent!

by in Main on

Hey, ladies! Just a quick note to say that I sent out the emails with your swap partner information a few minutes ago.

If you don’t receive an email by the end of the day, please let me know! As a reminder, you can read all of the details on the intro post here. Don’t forget to ship before December 15, and remember, earlier is always better!

P.S. I may have made a mistake on a few of the emails. :) Katie B, Libby B, and Paloma N, you are the only ones with a swap partner in Italy. Everyone else, please disregard that line in the email!

emily Written with love by Emily
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    2nd Annual SW Holiday Ornament Swap!

    by in Main on

    As if there wasn’t already enough excitement today, we’re thrilled to announce our second annual holiday ornament swap!

    Last year turned out to be a rousing success, and we know it’s going to be even better this year. After all, our office’s collective favorite month of the year is Nov. 25 – Dec. 25, so it’s only appropriate to host a celebration of sorts! Here’s how things are going to go down:

    If you would like to participate, send an email to emily [at] iloveswmag [dot] com (or click here!) with “Holiday Ornament Swap” in the subject line by this Friday, November 26 (the day after Thanksgiving). Include your name, address, email address, website/blog address, and Twitter handle, if you have one.

    By Tuesday, November 30, I will have emailed you the names and addresses of up to five people to send ornaments to.

    You then have two options for the ornaments you send out:

    Option One: Handmade by you. We suggest getting familiar with Gocco, Yudu, Cricut, Photoshop… or just some good old fashioned construction paper, glitter, and glue. Whichever design you choose, make sure it’s easy to produce in multiples – and ideally a bit Southern!

    Option Two: Made by someone else. That someone else could be your sister-in-law, it could be an Etsy vendor, or it could be your neighborhood Target. It doesn’t have to be expensive! You could even buy a multi-pack of ornaments and send one to each of your swap partners.

    Whether you choose option one or two, be sure to send out your ornaments no later than Wednesday, December 15! Then, all that’s left to do is wait for the holiday goodness to roll in.

    A last note: Please don’t sign up if you don’t intend to follow through! Think about how disappointed you would be if you sent out beautiful ornaments and didn’t receive a single one in response… I know I would be very disappointed. And watch out for postage!

    P.S. While you’re at it, how about signing up for Brooklyn Bride’s card swap, too? The more, the merrier, we say!

    Let the holidays begin, y’all!

    emily Written with love by Emily
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    1. avatar DIY: Christmas Angel Frame Ornament & Giveaway « Royal Events by Melissa reply

      […] is the first year that I participated in the annual Southern Weddings magazine Christmas Ornament Swap. I wanted something simple, classic, and elegant to reflect Royal Events by Melissa, but that could […]

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