// The Present of Presence + Holiday Experiences

The hustle and bustle of the holidays always swoops in and takes me by surprise. It's like a giant typhoon that roars through town and engulfs everything in its path. I love the holiday season, don't get me wrong. But I have a tendency to get a bit stressed out and anxious about everything. This year we're really trying to focus more on the "experience" of the holidays as opposed to the worry and pressure to surround the Christmas tree with far too many presents. Buying gifts for my kids is one of my love languages. When I see a shirt that would look darling on one of the boys, or a little tchotchke that they might like, I love scooping it up and surprising them. I try not to do this too often, but I'll admit I'm a bit more indulging than I'd like. Struggling to figure out what the boys should get for Christmas has been too much of a headache for us. I love seeing them get excited about "stuff," but at the end of the days it's just that... "stuff." Sometimes it gets played with for 15 minutes, sometimes a few days. But very few presents really stick around for the long haul. It got me to thinking about giving the gift of presence and experience instead.

It's not a novel idea or anything, and it's certainly not new. I know many families practice the "want / need / wear / read" model of gift giving, but that just didn't really seem to fit our ideal this year. We have yet to solidify any actual plans or activities for the season, but I was hoping some of you could share what you choose to do with your kids (or when you were a kid). 

Mike had to work the other night when the Christmas parade was in town, so I loaded up the boys and took them with Whitney and her crew. They had a blast! It was so much fun and I loved seeing their faces light up. I may or may not have cried a few times (but that's really no surprise there. I even cried when we took the boys trick or treating for Halloween.) It sort of hit me that these moments are what really matter. I love being able to just go do stuff with the kids. Seeing them experience something that they'll remember for a long time is so rad. I wish Mike hadn't had to work, but I understand the importance of what he does. It definitely made me more aware of how important it is to try and schedule these things for all of us to experience together.

Since we've only got a couple of weeks left until Christmas, I'm hoping to find a few things we can sprinkle into our calendar and experience as a family. Nashville usually has a pretty good selection of things to do / see, but how about where you live? Do you do seasonal activities as a family? I'd love to make it our tradition to invest our time and money into things we can do and remember as a family. 

xo KB

PS; I totally get the irony of posting something like this immediately after sharing a wishlist of my own. Things are nice, but experiences are way more fun.


  1. We do the usually Christmas stuff, pictures with Santa, parade, tree farm, baking, making ornaments. My son's birthday is the 15th, we try not to do christmas stuff before then unless he wants to. We're pretty low key around here.

  2. I have been on a spree to find fun (free!) holiday things to do in Raleigh to show Ryder. So far we've seen Santa (at Bass Pro Shop instead of standing in line for a hundred hours and paying a butt ton for a picture package) and we went one town over to watch the tree lighting! There is an ice skating rink downtown which might make for a fun date night. Last year we went out into the country for a hayride through Lights on the Neuse. It was so cold though!

  3. We do have some Christmas traditions...the lighted tractor parade, decorating cookies together, walks thru town to look at all the lights, and Zoo Lights!!!

  4. I hate that you're so far away from downtown now. They have this park (that I never knew about until now) called Jellystone Park. They have an awesome "drive - through - light" area where the lights flicker to music, you get out and have smores and see reindeer! All for $25 a car full! But it's out close to Opry Mills, kind of far :(

    1. We actually go to that every year! :P well, Toby went with my parents last year since L was so small. But we usually all load up as a group! Toby looooves it!

  5. What about making gingerbread houses and driving or biking around to look at Christmas tree lights?


HEY! Thanks for dropping by. xo KB