This week I sat on the couch with a dear friend grieving her mom going to heaven earlier than you ever think your mom will. I can barely imagine how that must feel. My heart hurts for hers and inevitably feels a heavy sense of appreciation for my own mom, remembering that our future on this earth is unknown. But in the middle of all the sadness was a lot of joy and gratitude. I never got to know her too well personally, but her legacy is evident in the people who love her so much. As we reminisced about all the special holiday memories her mom created for their family, we laughed about the way the men in our lives might never realize what season or holiday was coming up if we hadn’t inherited that superpower from our moms. I think her mom and her legacy will be fresh in my mind for a while, but one thing my sweet friend said really stuck with me. She told me every time her mom would decorate for Christmas or put up the snowflakes in January or any of those special mom things that create wonderful holiday memories for her family… she would say, “moms make the magic!”
Isn’t it true?! When I dream up my most special holiday memories, there’s decorations my mom carefully picked out and placed in our home. There’s favorite meals we enjoyed around the table together. There’s specific activities she facilitated that I might’ve even thought I was too cool for once upon a time. 🙂 Even today, I love music because it played in my family’s 5 disc CD player sound-system at Christmas time. I watch the same movies every holiday season because it’s a tradition! The backdrop of all my special holiday memories is a moment and environment intentionally created by a mom who loves her family. What a legacy! What an inspiration!
I’ve been thinking a lot about my role in the lives of my own children this holiday season and the memories of my friend’s magical mom have hit this home for me even more deeply. Was it the lavish things that stand out? The most Pinterest worthy displays or moments that made for perfect family photos? No. It was snowflakes in the windows.
This week we almost cancelled our family outing to the pumpkin patch. Friends couldn’t make it, life has been fuller than ever, we’re all coming down with a cold… It just seemed like something easy to cut out. Then I started thinking about how this would be our last fall just the three of us and the first time Finn would really have fun with it and I just couldn’t let us miss the moment. So we rallied and I’m SO glad we did! It was the best day together! That’s when moms step in to make the magic happen. No one knows what your family needs better than you! And sometimes that does mean calling an audible to take care of yourselves. But sometimes it means prioritizing fun for everyone because you get to do that as the mama! And we will never get these moments back!
So my challenge to myself this holiday season and my challenge to you, mom friends, is this: Make the magic! Sometimes it means rolling with a change of plans or expectations. Sometimes it means calendaring fun events and experiences you don’t want to miss in the middle of a busy schedule. Or saying “no” to things that steal your time. Sometimes it means letting go of your hopes for picture perfect. Sometimes it means making a mess! For me right now, it means getting creative to celebrate the season with my one year old in an age appropriate way! It’s a little more work and a lot more messy, but for me, it’s the magical moments I always hoped to have on this side of motherhood. So what does making the magic mean for you and your family this year?
No matter what stage of family you find yourself in, I’ve got two practical tips to help you make some magic of your own this holiday season:
#1 – Meet your fam with the magic where they’re at!
We’re a LONG way off from pumpkin carving. I hadn’t considered a pumpkin activity because of that. I’d bought a bunch to be cute decor that I say “no hands, please” about a million times a day about! But last minute I decided it would be a whole lot more fun to enjoy them together. So I grabbed some acrylic paint from the craft store, covered our kitchen table with craft paper (we can still be smart with the mess! 😉 ), stripped my toddler down to his diaper and let him go to town. We had SO MUCH FUN! Later I shared a picture on my instagram and had another mom say, “wow my son is about the same age as yours and I didn’t even consider doing this. I thought he was too young!”
I’ve been there too! We create these guidelines and picture how it will go and wait until the circumstances line up perfectly… I mean, hello family pictures!?! But who says when your babe is old enough to paint a pumpkin? It’s all about creating an environment that will help them (and you) be successful. This is something I’m really going to try to learn from and remember when it’s time for Thanksgiving and Christmas activities. Don’t be afraid of getting creative in order to involve your family in a way that’s meaningful for them! What’s the worst thing that could happen? There’s a lot of magic that can be found right in the middle of big messes!
Want your little’s painted pumpkins to blend in with your holiday theme a little better? Choose a neutral color to color block over the top of their paint leaving some of their art peeking through! Plus, you get in on the painting fun that way!
#2 – Find ways to make ordinary things magical!
Here’s what I mean: everyone eats! How can you spice up the food to make it themed? I’ll never forget the way my parents used to make us pancakes shaped like our initials on Saturday mornings. I felt SO special because my pancake was in the shape of an “L”! It’s the little things!
Running to grab some coffee? Order a tiny 8 oz. treat for your little! Learn from my mistakes though… order a steamer instead of hot chocolate! You’ll spend a lot less time stain treating. Make sure you “cheers”!
Playing a family game or eating dinner together around the table? What can you do to make it themed and fun? Maybe you challenge every family member to go create a homemade costume out of what’s in their room and show up dressed up! Theme your art time, or even your learning time! Go on a walk to collect trinkets from nature… Fill your home with seasonal scents… There’s no limit to what celebrating looks like. Just remember, bigger isn’t always better. Don’t be held back from fun because your putting pressure on yourself to live up to an idea. Your kids don’t know a difference. They just know their mom is MAGICAL!
Seasonal and themed food is one of my favorite ways to do this! My son doesn’t even know the difference, but it brings me joy and someday he’ll get it! Even if you don’t have kids yet, your efforts to make moments special aren’t wasted! Your habits right now create family traditions for the future! My husband regularly mentions how much he loves the effort I put into celebrating in these small ways. It’s not even really his thing, but it blesses him just the same and it’s not just the kids who will remember these days, it’s your partner too! Someday he might miss the silly little things you used to do that made the holidays magical. And hopefully your children will learn a thing or two from you over the years and become the makers of the magic after you. It might be what they sit on the couch and remember about you so fondly when they’re missing you. It’s a legacy friends. Just one part, but a special part that may very well shape the most special memories your family will make.
Here’s a super simple way I put a festive spin on food this week! It brought me tons of joy, but it may be something different that brings you and your family joy! It’s all about finding that and deciding it’s worth a little time an effort!
I hope this doesn’t intimidate, but instead encourages you. You are already magical in the eyes of your kids. They’re easily impressed! 😉 And most of all, they love YOU, not your expectations of you. They’re not comparing you to the other moms on facebook. They just know fun when they see it and they love laughing with you! They know that those little things mean you love them. That’s priority number one. And chances are, you’re already doing it! So embrace that title mama! Own it and hone it.
Moms make the magic!
And you are one magical lady! ❤