Making the Most of your Holidays with Family and Friends

As some of you may or may not know, I’m heading east for the holidays! I grew up in the eastern part of Canada, went to school in the States, married an American and now live in Oregon — over 2000 miles from home.

Yes, that is my life in one sentence.

We always try to get back to visit my family every other Christmas which seems fair, but really it’s not a whole lot of time compared to all the months I’m NOT there. So, whenever I do get around to visiting home, I try to do everything I can to savor the moments to last me two years of being away.

Here’s what I do to make the most of the time I have with my family:

1. Pause and Reflect — Whenever my {abnormally large} family gets together, there is rarely a quiet moment. 10 adults plus one million children under the age of 9 makes for one crazy house. But in the quieter moments of the day, I always try to burn memories into my mind and feelings into my heart. One of these memories from 2010 includes staying up late on Christmas Eve once all the babes were asleep, telling stories and laughing hysterically with my siblings and parents. I don’t remember what we were talking about but I know we all had a wonderful time.

2. Capture Moments To Have Tangible Memories — I never used to be obnoxious with my camera, but I’ve turned into quite the paparazzi. Recently I invested in a video camera so I can record the fun things we do on this visit home for Christmas. Whenever I pull my camera out, I get groans. But then come mid January, everyone comes knocking on my door to get a copy of all the pictures I took.

When you think you don’t need your camera, bring it along! The last Christmas we spent at my parents’, my daughter was 2 months away from her second birthday and LOVED playing with her cousin who is a few months younger. Well, luckily I had my camera out one afternoon when these two decided to sit in the fridge. The other chairs were too big for their little bodies, so they loved having a little ledge to sit on that was just their size. Whenever the fridge popped open, these two little girls came running!

3. Create Rituals —  I decided to pick ‘rituals’ as my third tip because it’s something that can help make something memorable. If it’s out of the ordinary, odds are you’re going to remember it better!

Back in September, once my Mom knew all her kids and grandkids were going to be coming for Christmas, she started asking us for ideas on what to do together. Things came up like going skating, baking cookies and bowling.

I asked my daughter what she wanted to do in Canada and all she could come up with was “throw snowballs at Grandpa Ernhofer”. So, we’re planning on doing that too.These rituals can be big or small. As long as you’re together making memories, it doesn’t matter what they are!

So, those are the things I’m going to do this year to make the most of the Holidays with my Family.

BlogHer wants you to make the most of your holidays and give one of you lucky readers a $50 Starbucks gift card. Here’s how you can enter: To be entered for a chance to win, answer the following question in the comments below: “What is your most favorite holiday tradition?”


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 12/17/12-12/28/12.

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

Good luck and Happy Holidays!

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241 Responses to “Making the Most of your Holidays with Family and Friends”

  1. #
    Amy Tong — December 17, 2012 at 12:56 am

    My favorite holiday tradition is baking cookies with my kids….lots and lots of cookies to give and enjoy. :)

    amy [at] utry [dot] it


  2. #
    Amy Tong — December 17, 2012 at 12:58 am
  3. #
    Susan B — December 17, 2012 at 3:58 am

    We do a Christmas Day movie as a family.


  4. #
    Erin — December 17, 2012 at 4:00 am

    I live 5 1/2 hours away from my family and my favorite traditions are spoiling my mom on her birthday (dec 22) and spending time with my parents and siblings- isn’t that the best part if the holidays??


  5. #
    Megan S. — December 17, 2012 at 4:48 am

    My favorite is going to a movie on Christmas Day as a family


  6. #
    Renata S — December 17, 2012 at 5:13 am

    My favorite holiday tradition is enjoying Christmas dinner together as family on Christmas Day with lots of delicious homemade food and quality conversation time!


  7. #
    Renata S — December 17, 2012 at 5:15 am

    I shared and tweeted the link on Twitter too! Thank you and Merry Christmas!


  8. #
    Jess M — December 17, 2012 at 5:46 am

    My favorite holiday tradition is having breakfast with my parents on Christmas morning. We have chocolate croissants while we open the gifts we so carefully selected for each other. Then we go to my fiance’s parents’ home and drink mimosas while we exchange gifts again! It’s wonderful that our families live so close and we can share Christmas morning with both sets of parents.


  9. #
    Kristi H — December 17, 2012 at 6:24 am

    My favorite holiday tradition is leaving cookies for Santa, carrots for the reindeer and cheese for the Christmas mouse!


  10. #
    Ellie W — December 17, 2012 at 6:43 am

    My favorite tradition is our yearly family Christmas party and pot luck.


  11. #
    Ellie W — December 17, 2012 at 6:45 am
  12. #
    Tammy — December 17, 2012 at 6:49 am

    My favorite tradition is that we buy a new ornament each year. My daughter loves it. We also started a new tradition last year that we just repeated Saturday and that is that my 18 year old daughter and I invite my best friends 6 year old daughter over for a day of Christmas crafting. This year we tried 4 different pins and had a blast.


  13. #
    Natalie S — December 17, 2012 at 6:55 am

    My favorite holiday tradition is eating appetizers and playing family board games on Chritsmas!


  14. #
    Sandy — December 17, 2012 at 7:20 am

    sending christmas cards…and fewer people do it every year *</:o(


  15. #
    Abby — December 17, 2012 at 7:25 am

    My favorite holiday tradition is always cooking with my mom and sister – we make sugar cookies every year and frost away. My dad and sister always get too fancy for their own pants.


  16. #
    Lauren — December 17, 2012 at 7:31 am

    My favorite Christmas tradition is baking cookies with my mom and sisters!


  17. #
    danielle — December 17, 2012 at 7:51 am

    My favorite tradition is dinner with the family


  18. #
    Kaysey C. — December 17, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Having a pancake birthday celebration for Jesus on Christmas morning with my kids


  19. #
    Jonena — December 17, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Sometime on Christmas day, snuggle up on the couch with eggnog and family and watch A Christmas Story.


  20. #
    Ashley Winans — December 17, 2012 at 8:28 am

    My Favorite holiday tradition is baking cookies with my mom and grandma. I lost my grandmother earlier this year due to complications during surgery however I know she will be watching over my mom and I make some of her favorite cookies!


  21. #
    Rachael — December 17, 2012 at 8:46 am

    My favorite holiday tradition is decorating the tree with my hubby!


  22. #
    Leah C — December 17, 2012 at 8:48 am

    My favorite tradition is homemade buttermilk pancakes on Christmas morning!


  23. #
    christopher sorel — December 17, 2012 at 8:48 am

    seeing my kids get cookies and milk for santa ready then trying to figure out which one he will eat first.


  24. #
    christopher sorel — December 17, 2012 at 8:49 am
  25. #
    Gayle — December 17, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Holiday joy comes when we gather to bake and decorate Christmas Cookies. A fun, delicious tradition.


  26. #
    Ericka G. — December 17, 2012 at 8:50 am

    My favorite tradition is one my family has held forever (one also held by both my dad’s family and my mom’s when they were young) — you have to sit down with everyone to eat breakfast before we can open any presents! :)


  27. #
    Andreea — December 17, 2012 at 8:50 am

    spending time with friends and family!


  28. #
    Danielle B — December 17, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I asked my daughter last night just that question. She surprised me by saying “going to church on Christmas Eve and opening one present afterwards” She is 19, not a little kid anymore.


  29. #
    Melanie M. — December 17, 2012 at 8:52 am

    My favorite holiday tradition is choosing a new almond crescent cookie recipe to make. My husband loves them and I can never find previous years’ recipes…so we try something new annually!


  30. #
    laurie — December 17, 2012 at 8:52 am

    My favorite holiday tradition started when I was young. Every Christmas Eve we were allowed to open one present, the rest had to wait till Christmas morning. My grown daughter still loves this tradition


  31. #
    Caroline Lehman — December 17, 2012 at 8:55 am

    My favorite holiday tradition is opening one gift on Christmas Eve – it’s always jammies. Nothing better than going to sleep Christmas Eve and spending most of Christmas Day in the comfort and warmth of family and new jammies.


  32. #
    Sarah L — December 17, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Opening gifts with my grandma and grandpa on Christmas Eve


  33. #
    Angie — December 17, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Baking cookies with my kids.


  34. #
    Laura C. — December 17, 2012 at 8:59 am

    My Mom’s side of the family gets together on Christmas Eve – we usually have a theme such as ugly sweaters, pjs, raindeer antlers, snowman contests, etc. It doesn’t matter what we do, it’s just my favorite day of the year : )


  35. #
    Megan J — December 17, 2012 at 9:00 am

    My favorite holiday tradition is making tons of different kinds of christmas cookies!


  36. #
    Marcelene F. — December 17, 2012 at 9:02 am

    My most favorite holiday tradition is lighting all of the candles in the house.


  37. #
    Luke Moritz — December 17, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Growing up our family would celebrate Christmas as they do in different countries around the world.


  38. #
    Jesica Buccilli — December 17, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Hearing the excitement in my boys’ voices when they wake up and see all of the gifts under the tree. Hearing them scream that Santa has come makes my entire day!


  39. #
    Liane — December 17, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Baking, lots of baking. Sometimes my kids and I, sometimes it’s just me and my husband. Love that together time!


  40. #
    Sandy — December 17, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Family get together are great, but the quiet time with some one special is better


  41. #
    Jesica Buccilli — December 17, 2012 at 9:08 am
  42. #
    Carol Flynn — December 17, 2012 at 9:13 am

    We always open one gift on Christmas Eve…..everyone gets new


  43. #
    Katie Lynn — December 17, 2012 at 9:15 am

    My favorite tradition is the White elephant gift game we play with one side of my family. It started out as joke-gifts, but now it’s useful non-gender specific gifts. There are about 20 of us who play (you get to play when you turn 21, so if there is an alcohol gift you can have it) and it is so much fun! There’s always one gift every year that is stolen several times, and it’s kind of a competition to be the person who brings the coveted gift.


  44. #
    Meredith — December 17, 2012 at 9:16 am

    My favorite tradition is listening to music together and going sledding.


  45. #
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — December 17, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Our favorite tradition is driving around looking at holiday lights. Sounds so simple but it is one of the best parts of the season. Have fun at home! BTW Love your new layout.


  46. #
    Coleen @ TheRedheadBaker — December 17, 2012 at 9:17 am

    One of my favorite traditions happens Christmas morning. I make a special treat (this year will be eggnog donuts!) to eat for breakfast before we start opening gifts.


  47. #
    Coleen @ TheRedheadBaker — December 17, 2012 at 9:19 am
  48. #
    Jill — December 17, 2012 at 9:23 am

    I love going to church on Christmas Eve, and then going back home to just relax for the night, eat and drink, and relax with family.


  49. #
    Sandie — December 17, 2012 at 9:27 am

    eating our together as a family on christmas eve and then opening our stocking!


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