So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

As we all know the year 2020 has been . . . less than ideal. The holiday season is fast approaching and we could all use a little bit of extra holiday cheer to help lift our spirits.

Here are some of my favorite simple Christmas traditions I do with my family that you could start with yours as well.

Bake Cookies

This one is a tradition that began way before I was even born. My mother and aunts would always bake plenty of different types of Christmas cookies with my cousins, sister, and I. Then when we were finished baking we would make different trays up to give to our neighbors and loved ones. Now I bake cookies with my sons. If your little ones are extra little, bake the cookies and then have them decorate a couple with icing and sprinkles just for them.

My favorite part about baking cookies is giving cookies to our neighbors. It displays what the holidays mean to us. It displays the spirit of love and giving. Let’s be honest, we can use all the love and giving this year. If you’re concerned about the spread of COVID-19, just share the cookies with those you’ve already been in contact with.

Try Grandma Eulalia’s Christmas cookies!

Toy Donations

Going along with the spirit of giving, every year we have our 6-year-old pack up toys he no longer wants to donate. This serves two purposes. One, it helps my children understand the importance of giving, and two, it helps clear out space for new gifts my children may receive from Santa. My 1-year-old will participate in donations this year as well. Mainly because we no longer need his infant toys. Cue mama tears.

Blessing Bags

Last year my family and I made Blessing Bags with the help of our community. We gathered at the local library and each family donated a specific amount of toiletry items. These items are helpful for homeless and low-income individuals. Once we made up all the bags, we donated them to a local church that gives back to the homeless community. I’ve done this in years past as well. Each time it gives me a feeling of hope and joy for mankind. If you’ve been feeling defeated and down due to current events and the pandemic, try giving back and making a difference. Focus on the good and good feelings will follow.

This is what the angels on those trees really need.

DIY Ornaments

Every year my kids and I make Christmas ornaments to give to family and friends as part of their presents. We also make a set to hang on our tree. I love seeing all of our ornaments from years past. Each ornament holds precious memories from that year. Most family members tell us how much they love putting up the boys’ ornaments every year.

Christmas Lights

Christmas isn’t Christmas without Christmas lights. We love driving around the neighborhood and checking out different displays. We also love to visit areas that have exceptional displays. There is something so special about all of those colorful lights and inflatables.

The Polar Express Hot Chocolate Pajama Day

The Polar Express book, the movie, cozy pajamas, and hot chocolate. There is something so special and magical about The Polar Express. Its sole focus is on believing. We could all use a little belief and hope right now. To take this adventure to the next level, get cardboard boxes and let your kids create their own Polar Express train to sit in during the movie. Let those creative juices flow, all in the spirit of believing.

Christmas Costume Day

Dress up in a Christmas costume or shirt. Have a day filled with Christmas movies, Christmas themed foods and crafts. Set up a photo booth. The whole family will love this new tradition. It’s a way to be creative and festive without having to go out of the house.

Christmas Movie Marathon

I look forward to watching the classics with my kids. One of my favorite classics is the 1970 movie, Santa Claus is Coming to Town. I love how the story explains how Santa became Santa. However, my all-time favorite Christmas movie is Elf. If you haven’t seen Elf, where have you been the last two decades? Anyway, make a list and have a marathon! I usually decorate the house with my husband and kids during the movie marathon. Can you say, multitask like a mom?

Try one of our top 10 Christmas movies to watch with your teens! 

Christmas Karaoke

Listen, if you haven’t belted out Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” at least once every Christmas season, then you aren’t really celebrating the holidays. Christmas karaoke for the family is a fun tradition to start this year. With so many streaming apps and YouTube, you can easily set up karaoke versions of your favorite Christmas songs to be sung by the whole family. After all, “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing Lois for all to hear,” Buddy the Elf knows all about Christmas cheer and traditions.

Chocolate Milk and Cinnamon Buns on Christmas Morning

This is my husband’s tradition that he had with his family, and we have since been doing with ours. It’s something to look forward to right before, during, and after opening presents. My older son looks forward to it every Christmas morning. Sometimes I sneak in snowman pancakes, too. It depends on how hungry everyone is.

I hope some of my traditions make their way into your homes in order to brighten your spirits this season. Enjoy these ideas, from my family to yours.

Dear Christmas, we need you now more than ever.

Holly Dignen

Holly Dignen is a Stay-At-Home Mom of two boys. She is also one of three Kid's Event Chairpersons for her neighborhood community. She has her Master's degree in Elementary Education and several years of teaching under her belt. When she isn't spending time with her beautiful family, she is volunteering or writing.

My Mom Delivers a Favorite Dish to My Family Every Month and it’s the Best Gift Ever

In: Living, Motherhood
Grandma with grandkids and food

For Christmas, Mom and Dad gave each of my sisters and me a note with a pan of frozen lasagna. The note read: During the year of 2022 you will receive a Mama’s Recipe (cook’s choice) delivered to your door one time monthly by Papa’s Food Truck.” (The “food truck” is just my mom and dad delivering food to my sisters and me—not an actual business.) Part of the gift includes the container the food comes in. The list for each month is below. You’ll also find recipes (where available) and links to the containers.  PS: If you click and...

Keep Reading

13 Reasons Having a Family Dog is the Best

In: Living
Boy with dog

Dear Buster, I never thought we would get a dog, and yet here you are—an integral, irreplaceable part of our family of five. You have filled a void in our household that we were not even aware existed. RELATED: 8 Reasons Every Family Should Get a Dog Here are my top 13 ways in which you make our lives so much richer and more incredible, including the lessons you teach us. After all, as I like to remind my kids, learning lessons is fundamental to living.  1. You alleviate our stress. Rubbing your head and tummy is akin to therapy,...

Keep Reading

I Love Having a Friend With a New Baby

In: Baby, Friendship, Motherhood
Woman snuggling newborn baby

To my sweet friend with a newborn, Thank you. This stage you’re in is the sweetest, most innocent, and challenging time. The exhaustion and love are overwhelming I know—I feel like I was just there yesterday with my own kids. Only, it wasn’t yesterday. Even though I can close my eyes and remember those precious moments with my own newborns, it feels so far in the past. I love the age my kids are now, but I’m telling you, there’s something magical about those first few weeks of life. When your baby scrunches their body into a ball when you...

Keep Reading

Jesus of the Rock Bottom Rescue

In: Faith, Living
Sad woman sitting on floor

Have you ever hit rock bottom? I have and it was the scariest place I’ve ever been but that’s where I found Jesus. Where I truly encounter the Holy Spirit and the healing power and life He can give. I was raised in a Christian home by good parents that would have given their lives for me. I was raised in the church and loved by my church family. I enjoyed going to church as a child and I loved Jesus my whole life. At the age of 8 years old I asked Jesus into my heart and was baptized....

Keep Reading

I’m Done Feeling Guilty for Struggling with My Mental Health

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman walking down a sunny road

My mental health hasn’t been great for the past week. I couldn’t put my finger on what was going on, I just knew I was struggling. My whole body felt like I was squeezing, holding in the building tension of life, trying not to burst on innocent bystanders in my path. It took me days to finally clue in that it was my anxiety, a handful of little things combining to create a perfect storm. The endless cycle of sickness hitting my family, parenting pressure, and pain from past trauma. In retrospect, I guess it wasn’t little things at all,...

Keep Reading

Even as an Adult, It’s Hard When Friends Move Away

In: Friendship
Woman looking out car window

I grew up in an anomaly of a small town where no one moved away. Seriously, I can count on one hand the number of friends who left during my childhood. Granted, most of us hightailed it out of that one-stoplight town as soon as we had our high school diplomas in our hands, but I’ll forever be grateful for the friendships I made there. It never occurred to me how much it would hurt down the road when, as an adult, my friends would move away. RELATED: The Heartache When Your Friend Tells You She’s Moving I remember reading...

Keep Reading

Setting Boundaries Has Side Effects No One Talks About

In: Living
Family walking away

I cut off my brother a few months ago. Easter Sunday, to be exact. It wasn’t something I wanted to do, but it was a choice I had to make for my sanity, for my family, for our peace. If I’m being honest, it was something I should have done long ago, but I’ve never been one to rock the boat. I typically avoid confrontation at all costs, but that particular day was the straw that broke the camel’s back and forced me to take action. I was prepared for the anger. I was prepared to feel uncomfortable. I was...

Keep Reading

A Mother/Daughter Bond Should Be Unbreakable, but Sometimes It Isn’t

In: Grown Children, Living
Frowning woman holding phone

It’s OK to grieve your absent parents while they’re still alive. I see so many articles or well-meaning posts from people who had beautiful relationships with their parents and are now grieving their loss. It’s amazing to read about such incredible parent-child relationships, but it also usually comes with guilt for me. “Call your mom, I wish I still could.” Yeah, me too, I want to say. I stare at my phone, my finger hovering over her name, and sigh. I let the screen go black instead. My birth mother is alive and well but I chose to end my...

Keep Reading

My Grandma Doesn’t Remember Me but I Visit Anyway

In: Living
Elderly woman embracing young bride

Today I went to see my grandma in the memory care facility she now calls home. Visits now are nothing like they used to be at her house. There is no kitchen stocked with my favorite snacks or comfortable room of my own with a fold-out bed stacked with hand-sewn quilts. It’s just her, an armchair, and a twin-sized bed that creaks up and down with a remote control so she can be bathed and dressed in the optimal position. But her face lights up when she sees me and her small body relaxes into me when I hug her. ...

Keep Reading

“Yours From the First Moment I Saw You.” Read the Tributes To Olivia Newton-John That Have Us Tearing Up

In: News
Olivia Newton-John Instagram photo

“Tell me about it . . . stud.” I’ll never forget the iconic ending scene of “Grease” when the camera pans from the shocked face of John Travolta as bad-boy Danny Zuko to his high school sweetheart, Sandy, who has literally transformed from an innocent transfer student into a leather-clad cool chick, complete with massive perm and sky-high heels. In the starring role of one of the most successful movie musicals ever made, beauty icon Olivia Newton-John stole America’s heart and never looked back over the course of an awe-inspiring five-decade career, which included both movies and musical hits like...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.