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Episode 38: Simplifying the Holidays (with Nana – AKA Emily’s mom!)
Happy Holidays, you guys! After months of waiting, the most festive (and busy) time of year is here again. As you ramp up all the fun stuff—the lights, the music, the decorations, the menu and party planning and gift wrapping galore—don’t forget: it’s not your job to do what you think you’re supposed to do to make the holidays merry for everyone. Just do what matters to you and your people, and forget the rest. That’s something Emily learned from her mom, Stephanie, who’s affectionately known as Nana! Nana stopped by the podcast to share some of her best tips for keeping your special days simple but meaningful: you don’t have to deck all the halls; gifts that give experiences can be more fun than toys; and kids will love slathering store-bought frosting on store-bought cookies as much as they will homemade ones. No matter how you choose to celebrate, Nana reminds us that the holidays are special not because of what you do, but who you share them with.
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“When it comes down to it, don't forget our number-one rule to make your life more simple: do what matters most to you and forget the rest. And I'll tell you what, the holiday season is the perfect time to name what matters for you and your family and forget the rest of it.” – Emily Ley
“Make some memories. Whatever your favorite memories are, those are your traditions. They don't have to be what somebody else does. Make your own. And if you like to decorate cookies, but you don't want to bake cookies, then buy the store bought ones.” – Nana
“Don't decorate around your clutter. You're not going to see your decorations as well, you're not going to enjoy it as well. Also, you don't have to decorate every room. The room you are going to be in the most—decorate that.” – Nana
“As a grandparent, when I think of gifts, I don't want to give my grandkids things that have a lot of pieces, because they’re going to lose those pieces. I like to give them something that will teach them something.” – Nana
A Blessing for Your Week
As you usher in the holiday season, may you see more of the good that exists in the world.
As your hands wrap gifts and make cookies and decorate your home, may you feel the arms of the ones you love around you.
And above all, I hope you remember the real reason you celebrate, because love came down to give you hope for a bright tomorrow, forever and ever.
Simplicity Tip of the Week
We’ve talked about so many things that could help you have a holiday that’s a bit more happy and a bit less stressful. But I think underneath it all, there’s one thing that’s more important than the rest: think about what matters most to you during the holiday season. What is it about this season that brings you the most joy? Is it connecting with people you haven’t seen in a while, or spending time with the ones closest to you over your shared traditions? Is it feeling the thrill of hope at the Christmas Eve service, or spending the season in the kitchen baking all kinds of yummy treats for the one you love? Whatever it is, just take a second to name that thing. Then, make sure you do that thing.
That’s it. That’s your tip. Because like I’ve said before: joy doesn’t just happen to us. Joy happens when we choose to make space for it in our lives. And naming what matters to you and brings you the most joy this holiday season and making space for that to happen? That will bring the holiday magic that makes the season so special.
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