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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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Twelve years ago this coming Saturday, I went on my first “official” date with my now-husband. Our date planned for the previous week was canceled thanks to a dreadful case of strep throat on my part, which derailed our plans to go to the State Fair for ham biscuits, cotton candy, and a ride on the Ferris wheel. Little did I know that dinner at Chili’s and trip to a haunted house would lead to our forever. I wouldn’t change a thing, but before that first date, there is something I wish I had known…

Photo by Gina Zeidler

Actually, I’m fairly confident I could list out 100 different things, maybe more. But one immediately rises to the top of my list: I wish I had known that our love story would become a one-of-a-kind work of art. Not a Rembrandt or a da Vinci, but an impressionistic finger painting – one that doesn’t look like much until you take a few giant steps back so that you can see the whole picture. Each twist, turn, joy, sorrow, and celebration was just one more glob of paint necessary to create our love story masterpiece.

It’s no secret that life is messy and doesn’t always go as planned, and Kyle and I have had our fair share of “messy” over the last twelve years. Yet I’m still a hopeless romantic and a sucker for a cheesy rom-com flick, and it’s easy for me to fall victim to the belief that ‘good things’ follow a specific formula, and therefore should fall into place like a connect-the-dots game. I also think it’s easy to wish for or even actively try to create a picture that looks an awful lot like someone else’s (which is never a good idea).

For those of y’all out there in a new relationship that down the road might be a forever-kind-of love, I hope with all of my heart that you’ll grab a paint brush and get messy. Make your own priceless piece of art. All cheekiness aside, I wasted a lot less energy in the first years of our dating being overly concerned with creating a perfect picture instead of wiling embracing a messy (future) masterpiece. Four years into marriage, this concept still rings so true. [Insert lack of Pinterest-perfect home décor or holiday celebrations (God bless football games ON Thanksgiving).] Fighting for my very own masterpiece still, brown sofas included.

My number two thing I wish I had known would be that KPW is a bit of a thermostat monster (ha). I would have invested in a few more sweatshirts and perhaps a blanket for our car trips and evenings spent watching TV on the sofa ;)

I’d love to hear what ONE thing (although I know there are many) you wish you would have known before you went on your first date with your forever plus one? I’m sure we can all learn a lot from one another. Leave a comment below!

PS: This sweet little corner of the Southern Weddings blog is a place where I get to chat all things marriage. I would love to hear from y’all. What topics to you want to discuss? Any questions or things you would love a different perspective on?  Don’t be shy. Send me an email: [email protected]  or leave a comment below.

kristin Written with love by Kristin
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    Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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