This past week Blake took the day off from work and we headed to Disneyland with Otis to enjoy a day of holiday fun at the parks. It’s one of my favorite times to visit because they do it up GOOD and the decor is just so cute and everything just gives me the warm fuzzies. (I know, super scientific terminology!!) We stayed from 9am to 7pm and let me tell you, we had the BEST DAY EVER. Since we are annual passholders, we can come to Disney pretty often (and we do!) but we always like to make time in December to see the tree lit up and experience the holidays there. Otis coy little smiles when he met Mickey are the sweetest thing to witness and I just love watching him grow and learn to love Disney more and more each month.
The holidays can be hectic and wild for alot of people. Between holiday parties, family get together, work deadline, and holiday presents can feel stressful for alot of people. I always remind myself each year that it’s important to remember what is really important this time of year: spending time with the people that you love. Whether that is friends, family, etc, make sure you are taking time out to slow down and enjoy life. I wanted to share with you my holiday bucket list of things that I try to do during the holiday time! Don’t let this list stress you out either! There is so much pressure to celebrate the holidays in all these perfect pinterest ways but really, it’s as simple as grabbing your dog and taking a walk in a new neighborhood discovering some holiday lights that can really add a special warmth to the holiday season. With Christmas next week, we still have a full weekend ahead to explore some more holiday traditions and I encourage you to take some time for yourself to slow down and take it all in.
My Holiday Bucket list
Find Holiday Books: This one I can already check off my list. Take a trip to your local bookstore or library and grab some new books to get into the holiday spirit. We read books every night with Otis before he goes to sleep and it’s a very special part of our day. I wrote a whole post with my favorites kids Christmas books here. Plenty of time to swing by your local bookstore and pick up a holiday favorite.
Take a holiday lights walk: This can be as simple as exploring your own neighborhood and checking out the holiday lights after the sunset. Where we live, we love to check out the holiday lights and houses on Balboa Island. People go all out and it’s a nice walk with our stroller along the inlets. We also love to watch the Newport Beach Boat Parade. People decorate their boats and parade through the water. It’s been a special tradition to go see it for us! Especially since moving to Orange County it’s such a unique experience. Lots of local Zoos and botanical gardens usually decorate as well!
Plan a Holiday Snacks Party: Gather your friends and have them bring different holiday cookies (store bought or homemade whatever your vibe is!). Or find some kind of food you can decorate. Sugar Cookies are always a crowd pleaser but they take alot of work to make. An easier treat to whip up is rice krispies and let kids decorate with icing and sprinkles. You can also have everyone bring one sweet treat and create a massive sweets charcuterie board. Basically keep it easy and fun and use it as an excuse to get together with friends.
Walk around Disneyland to see all the decorations: This one is specific to me here in California. Since we have an annual pass, there are times we just go to walk and have a special holiday flavored treat. SO WORTH IT if you are debating on going. Yes it’s crazy crowded, but if you do a little research and go with the flow, you can have a really amazing day.
Host a cookie decorating party: Making sugar cookies took me years to get into. Then one day I found this recipe that is magic and makes the perfect sugar cookie. Now I look forward to making them each holiday. Last year, we had a cookie decorating party at my friends house with my sisters family and we all spent the night decorating cookies with icing and sprinkles and ordering Chinese food takeout. We had holiday music blasted and it was the most fun day. I plan to keep this in our holiday traditions. If baking isn’t your thing, you can easily buy some store bought cookies and icing and do the same thing at home with friends. It’s more about having the time together creating something yummy.
Friendsgiving: We all spend alot of time planning our family Thanksgivings but we love to celebrate the holidays with our friends as well. Either cook and have everyone bring a side, get catering, or just make it a special dinner out if you don’t want to be bothered cooking. We love to plan Friendsgiving with our friends that have kids since no one case we plan our dinner at 4pm so we can all go home at bedtime. HA! I know it’s way past Thanksgiving but the idea of a big special dinner is something you can easily accomplish without roasting a turkey for hours too.
See Santa: I am a big kid at heart and seeing Santa in the flesh is just always so special. Even without kids, seeing the man in red always made me smile. We saw so many Santa’s this year and Otis is finally getting excited to see him from a far. I loved the Santa at South Coast Plaza (here is our pic!) and they have a little train and carousel etc there that makes it a fun activity day for the kids. Otis didn’t enjoy sitting ON Santa but what a fun memory to share with him when he’s older. We also now have a tradition of going to my friend Poppy Lea Photography’s studio for an intimate Santa experience. I posts about it here if you are into it for next year! I also oddly enough ran into Santa at Target!! Honestly Santa gets around guys. There are so many places to go see him!!
Christmas Tree Hunt: Another great activity if you are into Christmas is going on a Christmas Tree hunt! Lots of local malls and shopping centers have some amazing setups and the lights and decorations can be such a fun thing for adults and kids to experience. It can be a fun game to make a checklist of all your favorites and then make it a tradition to go see them each year.
Donate: My family has a tradition of donating money to the local food bank ever since I was younger. I remember my dad explaining to us that every year, it was important that we did that to help our local communities. It has always stuck with me that in a season where everything is so focused on gifts and gift giving it’s so important to take a step back and think about others. Whether its bringing toys to a local children’s hospital, donating food to your local food bank, or dropping off toys and food at your local animal shelter. There are so many way to contribute to your communities and what better time than the holidays to remind us all that we need to open up our hearts a little bit bigger if we are able to.