Blink. It’s over. It blows my mind how quickly the holidays pass by. And to be honest, I’m kind of over it. Over the holidays, absolutely not, but over the stress yes.

As my husband and I were driving home from our 6th Christmas in 3 days.and discussing preparation for our 7th and 8th, I just got sad. We cram everything into a 3-4 day stretch, and as our families continue to expand and we develop traditions of our own, the schedule of the holidays becomes so overly-packed with events it’s not fun.

That sounds really dramatic. It is still fun, but some of the fun definitely gets taken out of it. It turns into work. I feel like I’m at school teaching and checking my watch every few minutes to make sure we are on schedule. And that is just ridiculous. How can you cherish the time you are spending with friends and family when you’re staring at the clock and thinking “3 minutes to finish unwrapping presents before we need to clean up and start cooking?”

As we get older and the “kids” in the family have grown up, of course some of the magic is lost. And as we see our loved ones aging and dealing with disease and death it’s hard. But I’m determined to change my holiday outlook in 2016!

I was trying to think back to my most memorable holidays from when I was young. My grandparents used to live in Knoxville, so we would go down after Christmas morning and spend several days there. At some point my cousins would arrive and we would spend days stretching out a delayed Christmas – eating, playing games, watching movies, and laughing.

More than anything…we just had time. Time is what it all comes down to.

And time is what I have found as an adult, that I do not have enough of. So my husband and I are going to start a new tradition, that we hope will help us savor the holidays and make the most of them for years to come. We are going to treat 2016 like Christmas. Who says you can’t make sugar cookie cutouts and deliver them to your neighbors in February? Who says it’s not appropriate to watch Christmas Vacation and drink wassail in June? Why do we only buy for needy families in December?! We’re done with the crunch. We want to spread holiday cheer the ENTIRE year.

Of course there is something that will always be extra special and festive from the day after Thanksgiving until December 25th, and there will still be stress, hustle and bustle, but we are determined to change our outlook. Think less about making things perfect and more about savoring the time we do have with family and friends.

So here’s to ringing in an extra special 2016 filled with friends, family, memories, giving back, cookie making, movies, fun, spreading cheer and cherishing time!

Ashley Morgan

My little family is my life. I am so proud to be Mrs. Morgan and am of course obsessed with my little pups Diggy and Samson. I have a ridiculous passion for health and wellness, and am constantly educating myself. After graduating from the University of Kentucky in 2007, I returned to Cincinnati to start a career teaching health and physical education. In 2010 I began teaching group fitness classes and have continued to advance my education while perusing certifications in fitness, nutrition and personal training.