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Healthy Holiday Traditions and Why Pink is the New Green

Of the things you’ll likely set your mind to this year, I would guess that your family’s health will likely be one…the sustainability of your children’s future on this planet Earth another. Which is exactly why I am going to attempt to convince you that you should establish a new holiday tradition centered on fitness – starting now – complete with fun festivities in non-trad. colors!

GREEN. It’s one of my very favorites and I use it everywhere I can – clothing, linens, toiletries, house paint, handbags…yes, quite liberally, with really just one exception: my thumbs. So, come March 17, I’m generally safeguarded from the random, traditional pinch. However, this year, I’m risking it all, putting a little spin on things and going out on a limb (or three owls on a tree branch – to be exact) for my GREEN InITiaTIvE…oh, in a lovely shade of PINK!

Sounds a little crazy, I know!

In the spirit of fun-loving competition and with a passion for the majestic Colorado outdoors, I have decided that the end-all celebration for this – and most – holidays includes a festive 5K. In this case: St. Patty’s Day 5K #pursuitofgreenconcoctions.

Mama Drama: Christmas Morning Craziness

Dear Mama Drama:

Christmas day is a nightmare at my house. My children run downstairs, dump their stockings, tear open all the gifts and then fight over who got what.

(photo credit.)

When the rest of the family comes over, it’s the same thing. They greet their grandparents with, “What’d you bring me? What’d you bring me?” Then there is wrapping paper everywhere and they have no idea who gave them what presents nor any appreciation for them.

It’s like a feeding frenzy. I have no idea what to do to make this better.

~Feeling Frenzied

Dear Frenzied:

Creating a routine for Christmas morning and opening presents is just as important as developing regular daily routine. Since your children have a pattern of behavior already established, it is important that you start talking with them before Christmas morning about changes in your expectations this year.

Begin discussing the importance of appreciating their gifts, whether they are from Santa, parents, or other relatives and friends. Let them know your concerns with their previous behavior and how you would like that to change. Teach them ways to express gratitude and have them practice.

Create a new Christmas morning tradition together. Perhaps the kids can all climb in bed with you and snuggle.  You could all take turns doing shoulder rubs or tickling backs. You could also read a book together. If everyone is old enough, perhaps they can read quietly in their rooms until a specified time.

Make a new rule that you will wait to open presents until all family members are downstairs. Set a time when everyone is expected to be up. As they begin with their stockings, give them each an area where they can open their gifts. Encourage them to take items from their stocking one at a time, rather than dumping them, and examine the gift.

I’m making a list and checking it twice.

It’s that time of year again! Barely two weeks ago, sleigh-bells were ringing; were you listening? In the lane, snow was glistening, and it was a beautiful sight! Because this is beautiful Colorado, of course, it was in the 70s right after that.

Still, we know that Winter is just around the corner, and for our family, that means it’s time to get the Holiday Letters done. (stock photo by lusi)

I love doing our Holiday Letters. Every year, I tweak The List. Even with some addition and subtraction, we try to keep the number hovering around an even 100. We receive about as many, and we use them in our decorations. One year, I strung the cards and photos on ribbon and they graced our banister. Another year, we affixed them to the door of our coat closet, and they brightened the whole room. I haven’t decided how to handle the wonderful onslaught of cards this year.

Every year, our Holiday Letter is a little different than the year before. Some years, I’ve written a poem, updating all our friends and relatives about the highlights of our year. Some years, it’s more of a traditional letter. (I keep everything to one page, though. Anything longer than that, and my eyes glaze over, so I can imagine what happens to our poor recipients!) This year, I’ve written our missive in Pop Quiz form.

Wait. What? Did she say written!?

Yes, the Holiday Letter is done. The photo cards were created in October and have arrived. The envelopes are addressed, and the letters are printed.  (I haven’t decided if any snowmen will be punched in the process of creating this year’s letter or not!) They are ready to stuff, seal and mail by December 1st. The year Claire was born was the only year I’ve missed my self-imposed “they have to be mailed on December 1st” deadline. I had her on the 30th, and she and I weren’t even released from the hospital until the 2nd, so getting them out on December 3rd was the best I could do.

One of my sisters times her holiday cards so that they arrive on December 1st, and even I think that’s a bit extreme (says Pot, as she’s chatting with Kettle).

Every year, we do a family photo of some sort. Before Claire was born in 2005, my husband and I would pose with our kitties, Merlin and Jasper. Yes, we were those people. In 2005, we cheated.  We had a great friend come to the hospital and take our very first family-of-three photo.  That photo, coupled with Claire’s birth stats doubled as The Birth Announcement AND our Holiday Letter, all done on the same photo card. Merlin and Jasper were bumped from the photo, but I didn’t hear them complain too loudly. This year, I was able to include three photos: a photo of Claire, a photo of my husband and I, and a photo of the three of us. Fancy!

Speaking of fancy, why not just send electronic cards? I’ve gladly embraced technology and have changed most of our lives over to the electronic age, yet I can’t bring myself to end this tradition yet. A ton of people on our list aren’t as electronically advanced as we are. Plus, there is something so magical about putting the Holiday Stamps on an envelope. On the flip side, there is something I’m not ready to give up yet when it comes to physically opening mail from far away places.

So, what about you? Do you send Holiday Cards? Are you going more electronic this year? Are you doing anything different than last year? Share with us!