Tidying Up Our Holiday - going to the Rockettes

It’s the holiday season! It is a joyous time to celebrate with friends and family, but it can also come with some stress. We have made a conscious effort to tidy up our holidays, so we can focus more on doing what we love. For us, this means tidying up our time, our travels, our cooking, and our decorating!

Tidying Up Our Time

extended family

Balance time with nuclear family and extended family:

Before having kids, we used to travel to visit our parents and siblings during each holiday break. We would spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s with extended family. Now that we have children, there are different needs that we face as a nuclear family.

As a teacher, there is a heavy mental (and often emotional) push that happens at school during September, October, and November, culminating in parent-teacher conferences on the Tuesday night of Thanksgiving week. After that, we have found that we need the nuclear family down-time over that short break.

The past few years we have chosen to celebrate Thanksgiving as a nuclear family, and save our extended family gatherings and travels for our longer 2-week break over Christmas/New Year’s.

tidying up your time - recognize things can change

Recognize dates, times, and locations for family gatherings can change each year:

We are learning that just because we celebrate the holiday one way during one year, that doesn’t mean that we always have to do it that way every year. The pressure is taken off a bit when you realize that you can change what you do each year.

This year we have decided not to travel over the 2-week break, but we have invited our parents to come to our new home for a few days. We are not changing the rhythms of holidays forevermore, simply because we’re doing things differently this year.

take a break to take a walk

Consider that individual family members may need different things:

Some people thrive on the energy of large family gatherings, while others find they need a break to recharge. Think about your own needs, your spouse’s needs, and your children’s needs. Sometimes I need a short break during long stretches of extended family time, especially when family is staying together in the same space for multiple days.

Some of my strategies for recharging during holidays are taking a walk outside with Emily to check in with her, volunteering to run an errand alone, asking for some individual choice time to read a book or exercise, and taking our kids outside to play for a while.

Tidying Up Our Travels

tidying up our travels

Try to plan travel during traditional peak family gathering times:

Last year we flew to Kentucky on the afternoon of Christmas Day. It meant that we were able to celebrate Christmas Eve night and Christmas Day morning at home as a nuclear family. Then we spent the afternoon traveling and celebrated with extended family the very next day. It was a very smooth and easy day to travel.

The airport wasn’t crowded, and we brought chocolate treats to pass out to the staff working that day. Mabel’s charm even got us bumped up to First Class! So yes, that’s my number 1 holiday travel tip! Give your kids a bag of treats and express gratitude to every worker you interact with that day.

pack light

Pack light, and be strategic and organized:

We have multiple sets of these packing cubes, and they have transformed the way we pack. Each person in our family uses a few sizes of cubes to keep their clothing separate and organized.

We vertically fold our clothing so that we can see each item, and the cubes can be stacked into larger bags or suitcases. We also consider the fact that we may need to pack gifts for others in our holiday suitcase, and leave some extra space to bring home gifts we have received.

plan activities for kids

Plan activities for kids to do during travel time in the plane or car:

We like to pack small activities for our girls to do while they’re sitting in a plane or car, like colored pencils, reusable stickers, and magazines. We shared more of our Travel Tips with Kids this summer, and the tips are perfect for holiday travels too!

Tidying Up Our Cooking

making gingerbread houses

Choose where to simplify versus where to splurge: 

We try to balance a mix of homemade versus store-bought recipes when we celebrate holiday meals. We may prepare a more time-consuming main dish, and pair it with an easy-to-assemble salad and roasted veggies.

We love to decorate a gingerbread house with the girls each year. We could definitely make homemade gingerbread, but we prefer to buy a store-bought ginger bread kit, and focus our energy on the fun experience of assembling and decorating together.

prepping breakfast in advance

Determine which recipes can be prepped in advance: 

Think about the rhythm of the family gathering and the activities you want to incorporate into the day. I enjoy baking and cooking during the holidays but don’t want to spend my entire day in the kitchen on the actual holiday.

I’ve learned to strategically plan prep-ahead meals for those busy family times and use the evenings when the girls are asleep to prep food items for the next day. One of our favorite prep-ahead dishes for Christmas morning is sausage, egg and cheese breakfast casserole with winter fruit salad. I love to pop the casserole in the oven as soon as we wake up so it cooks while people visit and play together.

Cook Smarts Kitchen Hero

Use time-saving strategies when possible:

The holiday season can get very busy. One of the tasks we used to find burdensome was scouring the internet for recipes that looked delicious, deciding which recipes seemed to go together, looking for overlapping ingredients, and compiling all the recipes into one grocery list.

For the past two years, we have subscribed to Cook Smarts, a meal planning service that has transformed the way we cook and eliminated the mental burden of meal planning. We are able to focus our time and energy on the parts of meal prep that we love – simply cooking together. Our family was recently featured on their blog as one of their Kitchen Heroes!

We love to use the Cook Smarts archives when choosing dishes for holiday meals. This year we plan on making the mashed potatoes with cauliflower as part of our Thanksgiving meal. Cook Smarts also has a great menu planning guide for large dinner parties that is a wonderful resource for holiday planning. Cook Smarts is currently offering a 30-day free trial, AND their biggest discount of the year for new subscribers (30% off!) and regular price subscriptions are only $6-$8/month. It’s a perfect time to try it out for yourself, or purchase a meal plan subscription as a holiday gift for someone on your gift list!

Tidying Up Our Decorating

making decorations

Consider making some of your own holiday decorations:

Last year we made a Thankful Chain with the girls on Thanksgiving Day. We each shared things we were thankful for and wrote them on strips of paper. We linked the strips of paper together to make a paper chain, counting down the number of days from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Each evening we would remove one paper strip and remember the things we were thankful for as we read the message together. It was a fun activity, colorful decoration, and it required nothing to purchase before the holiday or store after the holiday!

sentimental China

Use sentimental items on the table rather than purchasing specific holiday table settings:

We inherited Emily’s grandmother’s China dishes, and we try to use them frequently. They are a perfect way to make a family meal feel extra special. We also have a collection of cloth napkins from Emily’s sister’s wedding, that were made by Emily’s mom. We like to use them during holiday meals rather than festive paper napkins. We also love to look for items from around our home to use as special centerpieces on the table.

enjoy special decorations

Enjoy the same special decorations from year to year: 

We like to purchase ornaments when we travel, and use them to decorate our Christmas tree. Our tree is topped with The Statue of Liberty. We set up a wooden nativity scene that Emily’s parents purchased in Israel. We also have the Fisher-Price Little People nativity set that the girls enjoy playing with each year. We look forward to setting up these special decorations each year, rather than purchasing new items at a decorative store.

Thanks for pinning!

___________________________________________________________________________

This post contains affiliate links. We may make a small commission for purchases made through these links with no additional fee to the customer. We only link to products we use and love! Thank you for supporting our blog! 

About me

Hi, my name is Tyler Moore. My wife and I live with our two young daughters in a 700- square-foot apartment in New York City. I began my tidying journey when an early-30’s crisis invited me to reflect upon, challenge, and change my patterns of daily living. I quit my job as a school administrator, returned to teaching, and started Tidy Dad to help others tidy, simplify, and find joy in their lives. I firmly believe the tidying process can transform your life. I’d love for you to join me in exploring ways that tidying can make room for what’s important in life. 


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November 25, 2019

Tidying Up Our Holidays

Are You Ready
To Transform Your
Cleaning Routine?

free Download

Tidying Up Our Holiday - going to the Rockettes

It’s the holiday season! It is a joyous time to celebrate with friends and family, but it can also come with some stress. We have made a conscious effort to tidy up our holidays, so we can focus more on doing what we love. For us, this means tidying up our time, our travels, our cooking, and our decorating!

Tidying Up Our Time

extended family

Balance time with nuclear family and extended family:

Before having kids, we used to travel to visit our parents and siblings during each holiday break. We would spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s with extended family. Now that we have children, there are different needs that we face as a nuclear family.

As a teacher, there is a heavy mental (and often emotional) push that happens at school during September, October, and November, culminating in parent-teacher conferences on the Tuesday night of Thanksgiving week. After that, we have found that we need the nuclear family down-time over that short break.

The past few years we have chosen to celebrate Thanksgiving as a nuclear family, and save our extended family gatherings and travels for our longer 2-week break over Christmas/New Year’s.

tidying up your time - recognize things can change

Recognize dates, times, and locations for family gatherings can change each year:

We are learning that just because we celebrate the holiday one way during one year, that doesn’t mean that we always have to do it that way every year. The pressure is taken off a bit when you realize that you can change what you do each year.

This year we have decided not to travel over the 2-week break, but we have invited our parents to come to our new home for a few days. We are not changing the rhythms of holidays forevermore, simply because we’re doing things differently this year.

take a break to take a walk

Consider that individual family members may need different things:

Some people thrive on the energy of large family gatherings, while others find they need a break to recharge. Think about your own needs, your spouse’s needs, and your children’s needs. Sometimes I need a short break during long stretches of extended family time, especially when family is staying together in the same space for multiple days.

Some of my strategies for recharging during holidays are taking a walk outside with Emily to check in with her, volunteering to run an errand alone, asking for some individual choice time to read a book or exercise, and taking our kids outside to play for a while.

Tidying Up Our Travels

tidying up our travels

Try to plan travel during traditional peak family gathering times:

Last year we flew to Kentucky on the afternoon of Christmas Day. It meant that we were able to celebrate Christmas Eve night and Christmas Day morning at home as a nuclear family. Then we spent the afternoon traveling and celebrated with extended family the very next day. It was a very smooth and easy day to travel.

The airport wasn’t crowded, and we brought chocolate treats to pass out to the staff working that day. Mabel’s charm even got us bumped up to First Class! So yes, that’s my number 1 holiday travel tip! Give your kids a bag of treats and express gratitude to every worker you interact with that day.

pack light

Pack light, and be strategic and organized:

We have multiple sets of these packing cubes, and they have transformed the way we pack. Each person in our family uses a few sizes of cubes to keep their clothing separate and organized.

We vertically fold our clothing so that we can see each item, and the cubes can be stacked into larger bags or suitcases. We also consider the fact that we may need to pack gifts for others in our holiday suitcase, and leave some extra space to bring home gifts we have received.

plan activities for kids

Plan activities for kids to do during travel time in the plane or car:

We like to pack small activities for our girls to do while they’re sitting in a plane or car, like colored pencils, reusable stickers, and magazines. We shared more of our Travel Tips with Kids this summer, and the tips are perfect for holiday travels too!

Tidying Up Our Cooking

making gingerbread houses

Choose where to simplify versus where to splurge: 

We try to balance a mix of homemade versus store-bought recipes when we celebrate holiday meals. We may prepare a more time-consuming main dish, and pair it with an easy-to-assemble salad and roasted veggies.

We love to decorate a gingerbread house with the girls each year. We could definitely make homemade gingerbread, but we prefer to buy a store-bought ginger bread kit, and focus our energy on the fun experience of assembling and decorating together.

prepping breakfast in advance

Determine which recipes can be prepped in advance: 

Think about the rhythm of the family gathering and the activities you want to incorporate into the day. I enjoy baking and cooking during the holidays but don’t want to spend my entire day in the kitchen on the actual holiday.

I’ve learned to strategically plan prep-ahead meals for those busy family times and use the evenings when the girls are asleep to prep food items for the next day. One of our favorite prep-ahead dishes for Christmas morning is sausage, egg and cheese breakfast casserole with winter fruit salad. I love to pop the casserole in the oven as soon as we wake up so it cooks while people visit and play together.

Cook Smarts Kitchen Hero

Use time-saving strategies when possible:

The holiday season can get very busy. One of the tasks we used to find burdensome was scouring the internet for recipes that looked delicious, deciding which recipes seemed to go together, looking for overlapping ingredients, and compiling all the recipes into one grocery list.

For the past two years, we have subscribed to Cook Smarts, a meal planning service that has transformed the way we cook and eliminated the mental burden of meal planning. We are able to focus our time and energy on the parts of meal prep that we love – simply cooking together. Our family was recently featured on their blog as one of their Kitchen Heroes!

We love to use the Cook Smarts archives when choosing dishes for holiday meals. This year we plan on making the mashed potatoes with cauliflower as part of our Thanksgiving meal. Cook Smarts also has a great menu planning guide for large dinner parties that is a wonderful resource for holiday planning. Cook Smarts is currently offering a 30-day free trial, AND their biggest discount of the year for new subscribers (30% off!) and regular price subscriptions are only $6-$8/month. It’s a perfect time to try it out for yourself, or purchase a meal plan subscription as a holiday gift for someone on your gift list!

Tidying Up Our Decorating

making decorations

Consider making some of your own holiday decorations:

Last year we made a Thankful Chain with the girls on Thanksgiving Day. We each shared things we were thankful for and wrote them on strips of paper. We linked the strips of paper together to make a paper chain, counting down the number of days from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Each evening we would remove one paper strip and remember the things we were thankful for as we read the message together. It was a fun activity, colorful decoration, and it required nothing to purchase before the holiday or store after the holiday!

sentimental China

Use sentimental items on the table rather than purchasing specific holiday table settings:

We inherited Emily’s grandmother’s China dishes, and we try to use them frequently. They are a perfect way to make a family meal feel extra special. We also have a collection of cloth napkins from Emily’s sister’s wedding, that were made by Emily’s mom. We like to use them during holiday meals rather than festive paper napkins. We also love to look for items from around our home to use as special centerpieces on the table.

enjoy special decorations

Enjoy the same special decorations from year to year: 

We like to purchase ornaments when we travel, and use them to decorate our Christmas tree. Our tree is topped with The Statue of Liberty. We set up a wooden nativity scene that Emily’s parents purchased in Israel. We also have the Fisher-Price Little People nativity set that the girls enjoy playing with each year. We look forward to setting up these special decorations each year, rather than purchasing new items at a decorative store.

Thanks for pinning!

___________________________________________________________________________

This post contains affiliate links. We may make a small commission for purchases made through these links with no additional fee to the customer. We only link to products we use and love! Thank you for supporting our blog! 

November 25, 2019

Tidying Up Our Holidays

tidy home

Are You Ready
To Transform Your
Cleaning Routine?

free Download

About me

Hi, my name is Tyler Moore. My wife and I live with our two young daughters in a 700- square-foot apartment in New York City. I began my tidying journey when an early-30’s crisis invited me to reflect upon, challenge, and change my patterns of daily living. I quit my job as a school administrator, returned to teaching, and started Tidy Dad to help others tidy, simplify, and find joy in their lives. I firmly believe the tidying process can transform your life. I’d love for you to join me in exploring ways that tidying can make room for what’s important in life. 


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Subscribe and stay informed with the latest tips to a tidier life

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