How I Get Ready for the Holidays + a Starbucks Giveaway!


Ever since I’ve become an official adult, it’s been really hard to ‘get in the holiday spirit’. I’ve found myself year after year thinking, “It doesn’t feel like Christmas,” or “This doesn’t seem like today should be Thanksgiving.

Do you ever feel the same way?

Growing up, things seemed to be so magical, and I was full of pure joy October through December because the anticipation would kill me!

Things get tricky when you get married and share traditions, not to mention trying to find a balance between what family you spend what holiday with. And then if you throw kids into the mix? Then things get REAL interesting.


I’ve been married 5 years now ,and through those 5 years I’ve learned a few things to keep me sane, happy, and most importantly bring back that holiday cheer. Today, I’m going to share some tips and tricks I tend to use again and again in the last few months of the year.

1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. If things don’t turn out as planned, don’t worry. I’m a control FREAK. It took me a long time to throw my hands in the air and mutter the words, “Oh well“. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether your gravy is lumpy, your house is a disaster, or that some of the ornaments broke.

2. Decorate for the holidays. This could be big elaborate things or small little knick knacks. It doesn’t matter what it is, just as long as it makes you happy! For me, this includes homemade crafts by my 3 year old and photos from previous holidays.

3. If you’re not into decorating, go somewhere that will be all decked out for the holidays. Department stores and malls go all out for the holidays, and I love it! When I worked at Starbucks a few years back, the holidays were the best times to be there! The smell of coffee reminds me of my grandparents, and the Christmas music automatically puts me in a great mood. Is there anything merrier than eating a peppermint brownie with a Starbucks drink {in those fun red cups} in your hand? I submit there is not! Cookie Cut out 2

4. Bake something that will bring back memories. I love baking sugar cookies with my little one, decorating them, and bringing them to our neighbors. I also like to make a traditional pastry that my Mom always makes for Christmas morning called wreath. Since I’m 1000+ miles away from my parents, I love making wreath when we can’t make it home for Christmas.

5. When in doubt, do something for someone in need. It can be volunteering somewhere, collecting food for your local food bank, caroling at retirement homes, writing cards to those in the hospital or noticing someone in your social circle who needs a little extra love and cheer. Looking for ways to help and then going out of your way to do something kind for others is one of the best ways to bring joy into your lives!

These are just some of the things I do to keep the happiness alive around the holidays. Stay tuned for other ideas I have in the next few weeks.

But in the meantime, my friends at BlogHer are giving away a $50 Starbucks gift card!

Here’s how you can enter for a chance to win: answer the following question: What do you do to rekindle the holidays in your lives? Leave your answer in the comments below!


No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “”#SweepstakesEntry””; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 11/29/12 -12/9/12.

Visit the Starbucks brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts and find more chances to win!

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414 Responses to “How I Get Ready for the Holidays + a Starbucks Giveaway!”

  1. #
    Olivia @ Liv Lives Life — November 29, 2012 at 3:57 am

    I agree with you – decorating is one of the best ways to bring the holidays into the home. I look forward to it every year!


  2. #
    Melissa b in il — November 29, 2012 at 4:15 am

    I put on the holiday music and we decorate as a family like we did when i was a child. Each of my boys helps me pick out the playlist (i have alot of holiday music). We make sugar cookies and Spritz cookies and take to friends. When dh and i lived or of the country we figured out you really have to make a effort to make things special.


  3. #
    Amy — November 29, 2012 at 4:16 am

    Ever since my husband and I have been together/married almost 15 years total now!), we always decorate for Christmas on Thanksgiving while the turkey is in the oven. We watch the Macy’s Thanksgving Parade and then put on Christmas music. It’s always the best way to get into the holiday spirit!!!! :)


  4. #
    Katie — November 29, 2012 at 5:09 am

    Totally with you – it’s not the holidays until I’ve decorated the house. I love preparing it to welcome family and friends!


  5. #
    Lisa — November 29, 2012 at 5:16 am

    We crank up the Christmas music, decorate a real tree, and do lots of baking!


  6. #
    Megan S. — November 29, 2012 at 5:24 am

    I’m getting married this upcoming summer and also like to be in control for the most part, so I appreciate the tips! :) It will be a whole new world sharing the holidays when kids come into play but making our own traditions is something I’m very excited for!


  7. #
    Mellisa W — November 29, 2012 at 5:32 am

    We do crafts and bake together as a family. Thanks!


  8. #
    Cara — November 29, 2012 at 6:06 am

    I love pulling out my boxes of decorations. I have my favorites from when I was a child and I absolutely adore listening to my children help me un-pack the decorations…”I remember this one”, “Ohhh, this is my favorite”, “Can I put this one in my room?” We listen to Christmas music, sing along and drink hot cocoa. My kids definitely give me my Christmas spirit!


  9. #
    Rebecca — November 29, 2012 at 6:14 am

    We listen to Christmas music and decorate our house. We also love to host cookie exchanges and have fun with family and friends.


  10. #
    Laura — November 29, 2012 at 6:19 am

    I always bake! Fall: everything with Pumpkin Christmas time: anything red and green!


  11. #
    Coleen @ DNCWWO — November 29, 2012 at 6:19 am

    One thing that always gets me in the holiday spirit is going on Black Friday to pick out our live Christmas tree! We make hot chocolate and put on some Christmas music while we decorate. I look forward to it every year!


  12. #
    Coleen @ DNCWWO — November 29, 2012 at 6:23 am
  13. #
    Amanda — November 29, 2012 at 6:26 am

    I love having Christmas music playing in the car! And I always decorate the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving!


  14. #
    Meagan B — November 29, 2012 at 6:33 am

    Def has to be getting the Christmas tree with the entire family via a tractor ride. Last year, we happened to blow a tire on the way back and had to haul everyone back in 2 vehicles and then replace the tire to get the tractor and wagon back home! When I lived with my husband for the first few years in a tiny apartment, he didn’t want a live tree so being able to FINALLY have a live tree in our house is magical!


  15. #
    Maggie — November 29, 2012 at 6:36 am

    Mainly, I try to get my (still newish to me!) husband in the holiday mood. He’s never liked Christmas AT ALL, so I’m trying to show him it’s a fun holiday. Decorating the house together (maybe this weekend) should help. Frankly, anything will help, as it has to be better than last Christmas, when we both had bronchitis!


  16. #
    Heather Bonner — November 29, 2012 at 6:37 am

    I keep focused on what is important. The true meaning of Christmas. I get things done early (put up tree before Thanksgiving trip, get shopping done early) so I can slow down and really enjoy the season.


  17. #
    Vanessa — November 29, 2012 at 6:40 am

    Decorate, decorate, decorate!


  18. #
    Jaime F — November 29, 2012 at 6:42 am

    I have always loved the holidays, but I totally agree that it’s difficult to get in the spirit of things when you’re an adult! You’re busy with work and grown-up life obligations that you didn’t have as a kid. That being said, I think it’s so important to keep the spirit alive! I plan a special day to set up the Christmas tree (a new tradition since we just got it recently!) and have cocoa, listen to Christmas music, all the fun cheesy stuff. Being around family and trying to be in the moment, and enjoying the little things are important too :) Thanks for reminding me to enjoy this time of year!


  19. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — November 29, 2012 at 6:45 am

    I totally know what you mean – it doesn’t even feel like Christmas to me! I mean I see the decorations all over town and hear the Christmas songs on the radio but it just isn’t so Christmasy yet for me. But I will most definitely take your advice and try baking some gingerbread cookies and decorate them with the boyfriend. It sounds like such a fun date!


  20. #
    Lauren — November 29, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Living in Florida makes it really hard to get into the Christmas spirit (it’s currently 80 degrees) but leaving the Christmas music on 24/7 and going ice skating at least once help to get me in the spirit!


  21. #
    Kristen — November 29, 2012 at 6:50 am

    I put on holiday music and decorate my house to get in the mood for the holidays. It definitely makes a big difference coming home to a Christmas tree every night!


  22. #
    Rachel @ The Avid Appetite — November 29, 2012 at 6:51 am

    I love all of these tips! I get into the spirit by decorating, listening to holiday music and baking with my mom. I can’t wait to do these same things with my daughter in the coming years! Some of my best memories are of Christmas time :)


  23. #
    Julie G. — November 29, 2012 at 7:04 am

    I agree! Just a little holiday decorating will put everybody in the mood! And to top it off, I love to have a cookie-baking day with my mother. It’s not a complete Christmas without it.


  24. #
    Terah — November 29, 2012 at 7:10 am

    I’ve never been a huge fan of the holidays, but this year I’m going to try to get in the Christmas spirit by baking cookies!


  25. #
    Kelly G. — November 29, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Not sure if my other comment went through… I love to watch Christmas movies with my family and drink hot chocolate!


  26. #
    Jenica — November 29, 2012 at 7:21 am

    I open my mouth and start to sing christmas carols. I may turn on the music, but it doesn’t really feel like christmas till I start belting out the tunes myself and annoying the entire house!


  27. #
    Mami2jcn — November 29, 2012 at 7:22 am

    We get into the holiday spirit by putting up the tree the day after Thanksgiving. My husband and I have similar cultural backgrounds and grew up opening presents on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day so that’s what we’ve continued to do with our children. December is very special to us because our wedding anniversary is December 28th!


  28. #
    Dana — November 29, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Decorate the house and walk or drive around to look at everyones Christmas lights


  29. #
    Jaime F — November 29, 2012 at 7:24 am
  30. #
    Mami2jcn — November 29, 2012 at 7:24 am



  31. #
    Anna — November 29, 2012 at 7:28 am

    I volunteer to ring the bell’s for the Salvation Army. I try to do it once towards the beginning of the holiday season to “get me in the spirit” and again a couple of day’s before Christmas to keep me in check with what this holiday is about. It may be super cold where I live this time of year but it’s worth it.


  32. #
    Emily — November 29, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Definitely decorating and making sugar cookies to decorate!


  33. #
    Maureen — November 29, 2012 at 7:34 am

    I decorate the season in my house. we make sure to get a fresh tree and put lights outdoors. I also put up my collection of nutcrackers. We also make a thing of decorating the tree.


  34. #
    Carrie — November 29, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Getting the tree up and getting a few wrapped presents under it gets me in the Christmas mood!


  35. #
    Mary — November 29, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Playing Christmas music and decorating the tree. After nearly 18 years of marriage, my husband I have collected many ornaments. As we are decorating, we often talk about where the ornaments came from and the memories that they bring with them.


  36. #
    Julie — November 29, 2012 at 7:51 am

    I decorate and play fun Christmas music and dance around!


  37. #
    Andrea — November 29, 2012 at 7:56 am

    I rekindle it with decorating and making cookies every year. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday.


  38. #
    Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking — November 29, 2012 at 7:57 am

    First off, your ways to get into the holiday spirit kind of made me tear up a little bit. Yikes, what is happening to me! I have often felt the same way. I think it takes a trip to the mall when they have the lights and decorations all up, a peppermint mocha, and a healthy dose of twinkle lights and Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You!


  39. #
    Crystal W. (@EatDrinkClev) — November 29, 2012 at 7:58 am

    I like to make decorating the tree and event with my fiance- we have appetizers and some wine and talk about all the ornaments we’ve gathered through the years when we travel. It really starts the holidays off right!

    I also always make pizzelles and share them with my family and very special friends. They are a true labor of love and always make me happy remembering the times I made them with my Grammie.


  40. #
    Amy — November 29, 2012 at 7:58 am

    When we put up our tree, I tell the kids why we got each ornament (vacation at Disney World, the year Mommy and Daddy were married, when they were born, etc.) It just reminds us of past Christmases and the great times we’ve had throughout the years.


  41. #
    Tracey Whitney — November 29, 2012 at 8:00 am

    I love everything about the holdiays! Everyone seems a little kinder and that is what we all need!


  42. #
    Amy Bounds — November 29, 2012 at 8:01 am

    I haven’t really found a way to bring that magic back. Thank you for sharing your ideas I hope to do better this time.


  43. #
    Sarahanne — November 29, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Decorating does it for me! Putting out my Grandmother’s nativity scenes and displaying a poinsettia! I’m farther from my parents now but they always went poinsettia crazy


  44. #
    Courtney Coon — November 29, 2012 at 8:04 am

    I like to carry on my favorite Christmas traditions that we did growing up with my son!


  45. #
    Kristy F. — November 29, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Now that I have a child, reading the Christmas books to her. And decorating.


  46. #
    Debby G. — November 29, 2012 at 8:06 am

    We rekindle the holidays in our lives through decorating and baking. We also love to watch our favorite holiday movies together while munching on our favorite Christmas cookies that we have made.


  47. #
    Piper — November 29, 2012 at 8:07 am

    We always go and buy a tree together.


  48. #
    Katie Lynn — November 29, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Decorating and making things simpler! The past few years I decided to go all hand-made for Christmas gifts and successfully knit everyone a shawl or a hat. But the past several years I was all stressed out about finishing those items in time for Christmas. This year I decided that while I’m still doing handmade there will be NO KNITTING (*gasp!*) but lots of other projects. I am currently about 75% through a cross-stitch of Ron Swanson for my brother, which will be epic. That’s the most intensive thing I have to make, and I expect to have it finished by next Friday at the latest. I’m much more laid back this year, at least so far.


    • Dawn Post — November 29th, 2012 @ 8:26 am

      I don’t do a lot of decorations but I always put out the nativity. We just moved into a small house and I had to get creative with where to put it. It ended up in my boys’ room on top of their dresser. I love that it’s in their room!


  49. #
    Alexis @ Hummusapien — November 29, 2012 at 8:09 am

    I’d have to say decorating and eating cookies!!


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