Take the time to enjoy the lights and decor of the holiday season with your family.

Christmas Photo

I absolutely love this time of the year! It’s so much fun to drive around and look at decorated homes and store fronts in the area where you live.

The picture in this post is near my home and I wait with anticipation every year to see it. It makes me laugh and smile with a childlike giddiness!

Every year, I try to map out 5-10 holiday decorated homes in my area. If you need help finding them, either google “decorated holiday or Christmas houses” in your area or wait for the listings in the local newspaper as it gets closer to Christmas. My husband and I enjoy this “holiday tour” as much as the kids do.

If you live in the area (Garden City, NY), the following light display should be a definite stop on your holiday light tour – go to www.lightstoabeat.com for details. This year the light display includes Shake It Off by Taylor Swift, Feliz Navidad, Amazing Grace, etc. They are accepting donations for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Amazing!

If you are visiting NYC, check out the holiday store windows. They are all really good this year. I can’t say I have a clear favorite – www.mommypoppins.com  has a really nice description of what the decorated windows have to offer.

These are the eight holiday windows worth seeing:

1) Bloomingdales (59th and Lex Ave)

2) Barneys (61st and Madison Ave)

3) Bergdorf Goodman (58th and 5th Ave)

4) Tiffany and Co (57th and 5th Ave)

5) Henri Bendel (56th and 5th Ave)

6) Saks Fifth Avenue (48th-49th and 5th Ave)

7) Lord and Taylor (38th-39th and 5th Ave)

8) Macy’s (34th and 6th- 7th Ave)

PS – Don’t forget to stop at the Lindt chocolate store between 54th and 55th on 5th Avenue to enjoy some good chocolate to give you more energy to keep you going.

Have fun! YOLO (You Only Live Once)!

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10 Tips to Keep Parents Sane over the Holidays

Stay Sane

I posted this last year and the tips are definitely worth repeating….

1. It’s ok to say no : Everyone knows the holidays can be hectic. My husband always says “Less is more”. You don’t have to justify why you can’t make it. You just can’t – end of story.

Wait a minute… I just had a funny Marcia Brady flashback – Click here to go to the utube video clip (and yes, Doug Simpson is Friedrich from the original Sound of Music movie)

2. Order online : This is a no brainer and I have posted about this before. Amazon Prime is the way to the go. Many items will be at your door step within two days and you will never even have had to leave your home.

3. It’s not about the gifts : Don’t make this holiday so commercial. It’s not what it is all about… Keep Christ in Christmas. Go to your “new toy” closet (you know you have one) and give gifts to those who are less fortunate – Toys for Tots, church drives, etc.

4. Send out “Happy New Year” cards : So many people stress out about getting their cards out before Christmas because they don’t have the perfect picture where everyone is smiling. I personally really enjoy getting cards with the kids and family on them, but you don’t have to send them out before Christmas. In order to remain sane, you may need to send out Happy New Year cards or don’t send any out at all – who says you have to?

5. Have the kids make gifts: Make Rainbow Loom bracelets, pictures, ornaments, etc. It will keep the kids busy and out of your hair while you are trying to get things done at home. Who doesn’t like to get a handmade gift from a child?

6. Give gift experiences : How many gifts can Santa really bring? I have posted about this before for birthday gifts. Gift cards are an excellent choice for massages, restaurants, movies, ice cream, carousel rides, Chuckie Cheese, nail salons, etc. How about cooking, wine or cheese classes? Tickets to the theater or the circus? They are practical and fun gifts the person on the receiving side will enjoy and will not take up a lot of space in the house.

7. Break down your “things to do” list : We all have huge lists of things to do, but breaking the list down into small bites makes a list of twenty items seem doable. I take a piece of paper and write down three things I have to get done and it helps me focus. Once I have completed those items, then I tackle the next three items on my list. Try it. I really think it helps you feel you are in control and getting things done.

8. Ask for help : Car pool, get a babysitter, have your significant other/grandparents watch the kids while you run around to get everything done.

9. Be satisfied and enjoy the present moment : Enjoy the smell of your holiday wreath and/or Christmas tree, cookies baking in the oven, watching Christmas shows on TV, holiday lights, the sparkle in your childrens’ eyes because they love the holidays as much as you do. That is what it is all about. Enjoy the moment!

10. Laugh and have fun : Laughter is a great stress reliever. Enjoy the holidays! If it’s not “perfect”, there is always next year!