+ This 5 Holiday Tips post sponsored by the J. M. Smucker Company +
It’s my favorite time of the year. Time to slow down and just enjoy being together.
Yes, it can be hectic. Yes, it can be stressful. However… If you can manage to find some balance, they can turn into some of your most magical memories.
They are work, but the kind of work that is so rewarding. Some of my favorite childhood memories are from those simple Holiday experiences with my family. Sitting down to a special meal together, baking Christmas cookies, playing games, door-bell-ditching your neighbors with special treats.
This is when we teach our kiddos the true meaning of sharing and caring for those who are in need. Finding ways to share some of our bounty with those who have hit hard times. Sometimes it’s sharing a simple, yet special meal.
Before I share my Five Holiday Tips, I am honored to share about a special program from the J.M. Smucker Company starting this week.
This campaign is near and dear to my heart.
When I was five years old I had a rather profound experience in my life. My Father had lost his job, I was still so young and naive I didn’t really know what that meant. I had no idea the heartache that my Parents were experiencing as the Holidays were approaching. I can’t even imagine the cloud that was in their hearts knowing that they would not be able to provide a magical Christmas for their young family.
As the Holidays approached, for several nights we would receive a knock at the door.
Each night when we would open the door, all that was there was a bag or box full of something special.
Some nights it was much needed groceries, other nights it would be special little trinkets for my little sister and I.
They even gifted us with our full Holiday meals.
No one was ever on our door step!
We had a special angel.
Someone who took the time out of their busy Holiday schedule to share a bit of themselves, and their Holiday purse with our little family.
I was FIVE, I don’t remember much from that time of life, but I remember that Christmas!
I remember those special nights when our Angel visited.
So many people are in need these days.
The folks at the J.M. Smucker Company (whom I have come to love,) are heading up a fantastic campaign to help Share the Goodness this Season.
They have been working this year to help bring families back to the table, because EVERY MEAL MATTERS! They understand the power of a family meal. No matter if it’s a standard Monday night or Thanksgiving… Every meal matters and we need to make sure they are special. We need to be the angels to help those in need and we need to let our own families know how much we care for them.
Did you know that On November 2 (this Sunday), there will be coupons in participating newspapers for Crisco and Pillsbury products that help you share the goodness this season and make every meal matter.
They have committed to providing 6 MILLION meals this Holiday Season to Feeding America®. Every $1 helps provide 10 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local member food banks.
The J.M. Smucker Company will make a minimum donation of 4.5 million meals (a $450,000 donation) and a maximum donation of 6 million meals ( a $600,000 donation) to Feeding America.
They need our help!
Let’s help the folks at the J.M. Smucker company become Angels for millions in need.
Who’s Ready for Some Holiday Tips?
The holidays are a special time of year. It’s time to make the magical memories that your kiddos will remember forever. You don’t need to create an over the top experience that exhausts you and is totally unnoticed by your family, but do try and go the extra mile.
Several years ago when my kiddos were little we had moved far away from our families and were on our own for the first time. I set-out to create my first stand alone holiday meal and was saddened to realize that my Mom wasn’t going to be there to create the magic… The magic was all up to me.
We didn’t really know anyone in the area quite yet, and family members couldn’t travel so we were on our own. I was feeling some serious pressure. I cooked a great meal and made sure to create a beautiful table setting for the celebration. I pulled out the good china, used cloth napkins and created a fun centerpiece. It wasn’t over the top, but it was just enough to make the day special.
Many times, especially around the holidays, you are gathered with a bunch of strangers. This could be strangers from your husband’s office or even family members that you haven’t connected with for awhile. When it comes to family, at times relationships can be strained. Rather than an awkward night, plan for an ice breaker activity to level the playing field, break-down barriers and get the fun flowing.
The ice breaker can be a silly game or a staged event that gets people talking. Ina Garten from the Food Network in one of her first cookbooks, Barefoot Contessa Parties tells of a party that was turning into a real dud. She scrambled and called in reinforcements. Her neighbor was Paul Neuman and she stealthily called her friend to come help the sinking ship. Within minutes, he walked right into the house in is racing gear, walked up to a woman, planted a shocking kiss right on her lips, turned and walked right out. Needless to say… The icy party had been shattered. All of those walls that were preventing people from connecting has been demolished.
Think outside the box to create a fun experience for all.
So many times we plan our celebrations and events around the people over 5 feet. We tend to forget the kiddos. Make sure when you are planning your gathering, create a kiddo safe zone. A space with simple activities for the little ones that is child proof and ready for the under 5 foot crowd to have a special space of their own. You may even want to go the extra mile and hire a teen in your neighborhood to help supervise and run activities. That way, everyone can have fun!
Farm out the cooking responsibilities. If you want a specific spread. Handout recipes to family members so you can have a controlled meal. If you have guests coming from out of town who can’t cook. Put them to work in the kitchen. No need to be a one woman show. Enjoy that time in the kitchen together!
Foster fun memories by creating some quirky traditions. Ugly sweater contests, Go Fish marathons, Door-bell-ditch your neighbors with scrumptious Holiday treats together. Do something out of the norm to create those lasting memories.
Disclaimer // This post is sponsored by the J.M. Smucker Company.0