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Extremely Achievable Holiday Traditions

by What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood
December 16th 2020
This topic came from Bradie on our Facebook page, who asked: What is one simple, basic, Christmas tradition that your family has? Don't come at me with baking gingerbread houses or cutting down your C... More
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lower the bar together. What fresh hell laughing in the face of motherhood. I don't research, as you know, but everyone's Why do Google with Margaret Apples and Amy Wilson? Just tell me what to do. Just give me an assignment. Ah, podcast that solves today's parenting dilemmas. So you don't have Thio pretty much dismissed anything I say today. Hey, hey, everybody, Welcome to what fresh hell. This is Amy and this is Margaret. And today we are talking about achievable holiday traditions. Love, we're lowering the bar guys, let's lower the bar together. This was suggested by Brady in our Facebook group, she said. What is one simple, basic Christmas tradition that your family has? So spoiler alert? Brady's celebrating Christmas. And so you and I are both Christmas celebrators as well. Indeed, so these will be mostly Christmas traditions, although the holidays air getting

kind of broadly secular early celebrated. So hopefully this is applicable to everybody. Yeah, we talked about it a little bit in terms of like, Well, it's all Christmas, and we know that not all of our listeners celebrate Christmas. One thing to point to. I was thinking about this, and I looked it up to make sure it was true. And it is. I don't research, as you know, but everyone's while I do Google and the concept of lights and lighting the darkness is a huge, overarching concept at this time of your celebrated by pretty much all the world religions. Maybe that's too much of an overstatement. But like Diwali Festival of Lights, Hanukkah Festival of Lights, Kwanza involves seven principles honored by candles. And then Christmas is Christmas lights. And then back in the day, we won't go down this rabbit hole When it was, uh, pagan holiday, I guess, is the word. It was a yule log, you birthday yule log, and you'll kind of got folded under the

Christmas umbrella. So, yeah, I think there's a reason why we're all doing this at this time of year, basically, and it is like the darkness. But we're discussing with Susan Katz Miller on our episode last week about interfaith families. Go back and listen to that if you haven't yet, that there are religious traditions, and then there are these cultural traditions that can be, you know, just important to you, based on the family in which you were raised in what you celebrated. But you can kind of pick and choose these things for yourself, so hopefully no matter if you're religious or you're not, that there are things in here that you could do to make this time of year, which is very dark and very cold, and the kids are out of school a little bit more fun. And this your need. We say much darker and much colder on every level. It's cold within our souls and without our souls. That's the problem. Let me go back to Brady because she worded the so well, I thought, she said. What is one simple, basic holiday tradition that your family has? Don't come at me with decorating gingerbread houses or cutting down a Christmas tree. I'm talking things like a

favorite meal, the order and manner in which you open presents a book you always read. Standards are low. People give us ideas of things too easily. Implement with minimal preparation. And this is a fun idea and something that I want to point to as we go through it. And I think we talked a little bit about this with Susan Katz. Miller is you don't know when you're forming a tradition, and this is something that we talk about all the time that some of my favorite holiday traditions are not things that you know. There's a lot of things I put a lot of thought into. What's the meal going to be? What China are we gonna use? We use a fancy China or the Christmas place. That stuff is in the tapestry. But the threads that stand out tend, Should I say tend, I think often are things that are much more random and hilarious, and these things go deep. We were also talking about that on the episode, and I will begin with a story that we always slept together. So I had

a brother. I have still a brother and three sisters, But growing up you have two sisters. E only have two sisters. There's guys. My brain is not functioning well being. I have pandemic fog in the worst way. So pretty much dismissed. Anything I say today. Good thing I'm here to fact check. Including my own name. Thank God Amy is here to, like, keep it real. What is that thing? You're like, the Pinocchio counter for May. We used to sleep all together in the same room on Christmas Eve. Wait, Not all the time. Oh, no, no, no, thank you. Speaking of fact checking. God, I'm on mess today we're going down a rabbit hole already. We would spend the night Christmas Eve together and we were objectively way too into Christmas. We were nerdy family and Christmas brought out like all the nerdiness and I and we were all I was. Maybe especially. But I think all of us were like it always has to be done exactly the same way because that's the magic. And my brother went off to college and brought home his college girlfriend, and we were all getting in. Our jammies

were all closely spaced. So it wasn't like we were little kids and he was grown. We were all late high school. At dinner, we were like, Oh, and then we'll put our jammies on. Where you going to sleep Where you, my brothers college girlfriend correctly, was like, Yeah, I'm not down for this at all. I'm not sleeping in a room with you all. I'm sleeping in a bed good for her. I would have liked gotten under the covers and, like, not slept a wink the whole night with, like, somebody's weird sister. No, she was like, Oh, no, you haven't met my sister when she was like Hells, No, I remember. I mean, I was, like, 17 years old, and I was completely devastated. An outrage and being like, How can you possibly break the chain of Christmas magic? And I think that's something that many of us do probably me more than most, because I am insane. Don't Yuck! My holiday yum. Yeah, but at a certain point, it's totally fine to be like we don't need the cream white onions, if that is too much work this year during a pandemic. And so I think it is. Actually, I'm gonna

push back. Amy. I believe it is completely fine to Yeah, Christmas yams this year and be like this year. We can't do 8000 things this year. We've gotta let some stuff go and concentrate on really fun things. And that's what we're trying to guide you towards today. Well, let me tell you what. There's a Margaret principle of holiday celebrations that I am carrying with me more than ever. This year, we've talked about another holiday episodes, which is that you should let the laws of holiday attrition work in your favor. Just last night, so I'm trying to get my family to partake more in the Christmas stuff because I have teenagers. My kids are older now, like I'm not gonna like by a bunch of stuff that you can pretend this from each other and you don't even know what it is until it's opened. You are going to be in charge of this. You can imagine how that's going. Oh, I'm sure it's going. Holly. Jolly Amy. So my spouse is like, Whatever. Just tell me what to do. Just give me an assignment. So I said, Fine, call up your sister and find out what her four kids want because in the tradition has become the kind of you don't just get anything. We kind of know what they want and get presents for each other

. Four kids to buy for. So last night I said, What did she say? What do the kids want? And he said, Well, she said that maybe since we aren't actually gonna be together in person this year that we could skip the presence this year and I'm like, Oh, good on a course of angels began and then and then my husband said, and I was like, Wow, I mean, we could talk about it. And I was like, Are you kidding me? Said only, Do not have the things that we have to get, you know, on a list for me. But she gave you an out and you didn't take it. He said I didn't know what to say. And like you say, yes, you say, of course, Yeah. Let the laws of holiday attrition work in your favor. So I'm gonna call it a day and be like, Thank you so much. Let's get that This year I have to update because I believe on a previous episode this year I was making a point. Maybe it was on our Facebook Live like this is the year we're scaling back. We always have too many presents, and this year we're not doing it. And it's going to be pandemic Christmas and you know, everyone gets an orange and we're calling it a day. And that plan, not surprisingly

, hasn't worked out at all, and I think I was probably actually wrong about it. I'm all for not having a nutty Christmas with eight million gifts. But as I thought more about it, and as I started to get my kids gift lists were not traveling. This year. We're saving a ton of money on other things, and I kind of was like, Let's just go forth this Christmas and, you know, Listen, we're not getting them. You know everything under the sun. We're not getting them that much stuff, but other people are shipping gifts. There's going to be too many gifts, but I decided this wasn't the year to get out of it. But if someone had offered me and out, you better believe I would have taken it right. You let it work in your favor. You don't have to be the Grinch. Two steals everybody else's Christmas. But if that opportunity is presenting to you, you run. Run for the hills with a smile on your face. Yes, yeah, I love this idea. I want to jump in with a wrapping paper idea that I had never occurred to me. So Stephanie says that each kid

has their own wrapping paper, and Alicia takes it a step further that each kid has their own wrapping paper, but there's no names on the presence, and then she puts a little bit of the wrapping paper sample like in their stockings. So the kids have to go through their stockings and then see like, Oh, my wrapping paper has Santa's on it. I love that idea. I'm gonna do that this year. That is a really cute idea. I will share another wrapping paper idea. I'd never heard this. We're going to do it this year because my kids are 12, 10 and eight. There's still really, really into it, but it's getting a little less magic of Christmas and Mawr like silly fun. Lots of stuff. Christmas and I thought this idea was so fun and I'm doing it, Sarah says. We put wrapping paper over the doorway to our family room where the tree and gifts are and the kids get to run through it in the morning. My husband did. This is a kid, and we kept the tradition going. I was like, This is such a simple, fun

thing to do, like it's like the marathon tape right on. And I think that that's what we'll Dio is dio maybe even after they go to sleep, put wrapping paper, you know, bars on the door and there aren't we have open floor plan house, so the only door is the one out of their room. But let them bust through it in a cute, fun way that seems like hilariously fun and very low. Buy in to May very low buy in and another like five bucks worth of wrapping paper, too. And believe me, one thing we never have a problem with that is actually much wrapping paper. My kid's school does a wrapping paper buying fundraiser. We That's not a problem. And there's already enough. I mean, listen, the whole thing is a giant tree murder exercise where everything is just tons of paper getting thrown away. So I'll just add a little to the pile. And that's the kind of thing I feel like. You could do that with your kids, you know what I mean? You could do that with an 18 year old, and they would think it would be fun to bust through wrapping paper. Yes, so totally. I'm like, What's doorway can I use? I'm totally thinking about it. Yeah, because it's silly fun in exactly the way that

even teenagers would really be into. I grew up in a house where we didn't wrap guess what gifts from Santa were always not wrapped in my house. Well, that's because you grew up in a correct house where people knew how things should be done. Amy. Yeah, And so I had a sort of section, you know, we each had a section of the living room where we knew we could look, and that certainly makes it easier. In Santa's elves, however, it does make Christmas morning last 9220 seconds. So this is what we do, though Santa gifts. I mean, this is probably because we're extra in every way, and this is like what I'm trying to cut down on. And we'll probably never succeed in cutting down on Santa gifts in the morning. Regular Griff's at three o'clock in the afternoon. Yes, we do them after dinner. Yeah, that's right. I mean, then you have said they look forward to, although my kids I have one, especially my Christmas elf who just goes bonkers for Christmas. And I was this kid and it just makes me laugh pretty much every five minutes for the entire day. He's like, Is it three o'clock yet? I'm like, No, it's 10 02 eyes it three o'clock at No. 10

. 07 now, you know, I mean, he just goes. It's hard to wait for the afternoon. Now, this is a big one that a lot of people have different opinions on. Amy, do you watch other people open their gifts or do you not? I have heard this described as an absolute horrifying experience by people on both sides of the aisle. I have strong feelings about this, and I'm almost afraid to say, Should I go first? No, you go first. I think we have the same opinions on this. I'm almost sure, But go ahead again because, Well, having just stated that I hate when Christmas Morning last 90 seconds because there's nothing to unwrap, I think you will predict that my strong feeling is yes, you watch because it gives you something to do. Otherwise the family presents are opened and it's 307 p. M. And like No, no, no, no. The people who bought them spend a lot of time on them. Let's just sit and wait and watch people open presents. I am team. Everyone should watch everyone else open their gifts. Good, if you but I have spoken to people for whom this is not the tradition and they find this extremely

annoying. And I believe I have been part of celebrations where I have tried to introduce this concept and it has annoyed people. I think this is one of those things where you come down on two different sides. I had a friend recently talking to me about this, and she's like, Oh, it's Ah whole thing and everyone's got to be silent and you've gotta watch. And it's true that if there's 100 gifts, because there's not this year. But generally, you know, 14 people gathered that the sitting around and watching people about what? Oh, it's a scarf. Oh, it's blue. It is annoying. I understand both sides of this, but I am team. You watch other people open their gifts absolutely well, I think I don't know. I feel like the people who think it's annoying probably had nothing to dio with the shopping, the wrapping, the, you know, loading in the car. There's a lot of work involved. I don't know if that's true. I think it's just traditions for people because this person I was talking to his mom. So she's definitely not like Okay, but she's just like, you know, and it's true. I mean, we've had Christmases where there's 12 people involved, and it's like, What do

you have next? Grand. Not everybody wants to be stared at while they open stuff. I don't know. I think the whole thing is complicated and I have come Thio. I was always like people who opened gifts at the same time are monsters, and I have come to see another point of view on it. Which is, Can we just open and savor our gifts without the mom constantly shrieking? Everyone Look, everyone looked. Amy's opening your parent or the wrapping paper goes here. I am that mom. So I have a lot of sympathy for myself, but I have come to see where that could be annoying. You could be. There's that person. There's also the police of wrapping paper must go in. We're gonna pass around the garbage bag so that the wrapping paper could go in the, you know, recycling bag of garbage bag. Like, right now, right this minute. Oh, or even worse, let's fold up that nice paper will use it. Oh, Yeah, it's help, guys, the holidays. Here we go. I'm not that person You would think I was, but I'm not. We'll be right back. I have two teenage boys to feed. So when it comes time for dinner, I'm always grateful when it's a hello fresh night. Not

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laughing. Okay, we're back. Amy. Let's talk about food. People have strong feelings about food at the holidays. Food. My kids were just saying, I have teenagers, so they're like, What are we having for Christmas dinner? And I said, Look, I don't know What what do you have for Christmas dinner? We always have exactly the same thing. Exactly the same thing. I found a Rachel Ray recipe a couple years ago called Christmas Pasta. Know you've talked about this Christmas pasta. Yeah, I'll put the link in the show notes, and the kids were like, Yeah, we'll have that. It's just a very like, you know, like long braised Balinese with like, you know, four kinds of meat in it and some fresh rosemary and stuff. It's really good, and it's called Christmas Pasta, because in her family they had all the fish on Christmas Eve. If you're Italian, we don't have that. But it's just a sort of like one pot meal that kind of takes all day and bubbles on the stove, and it's delicious. It will probably make that that's nice and easy to Yeah, I mean, this is one thing growing up. Have I mentioned we were a little Christmas extra Amy? But we had There were four kids in the family. I thought

recently there were five, but my imaginary sister of my mind, you've corrected me did not exist. And so we had four kids. The two parents Grandma Uncle would come over and would come on. It was always a big to dio. And then, as we opened gifts at cocktail hour with fancy hors d'oeuvres is and drinks and then my mom would be preparing an entire meal. Like I look back and I'm like, It's kind of a mental way to do it. It's like Thanksgiving. But while you're making the meal, there's an entire other activity going on. But we still do that. But you're missing because you're making the meal. Yeah, and you're kind of like What was it? Socks? Okay, great. And you're like taking the temperature of the roast. And then you come out like the one thing you like went on eBay and found and bit out for it because someone's opened and thrown away. By the time you get out from making the meal, it's not great, Yes, but we do the big meal. We do roast beef, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and then some sort of, you know, Green Bean kind of a thing. We do the Grinch dinner roast beast, the roast based. Do you do Christmas cookie baking? You know we do. We

always have, and I'm very, very. I'm fighting my inner Grinch. This year I have reached my peak. I'm not going to say that because that's a mistake, because it could definitely go higher. But I have reached a strong stage of pandemic grouchiness. I am finding that like adding to the remote learning, keeping people on track, doing my several jobs that I pursue that now you know, Christmas cards and Christmas calendar and Christmas cookies. It's starting to feel like a crushing weight upon me, and I was thinking Christmas cookies may go this year, I don't know, but then again, what ends up happening is we have Saturdays to fill, so we'll probably do them next Saturday and try to be a little holly Jolly. I'm not feeling it. I have a really, really easy cookie recipe that I'll also put in the show notes. It's toffee cookies that are made with four ingredients. It's basically like butter, sugar, chocolate and saltine crackers and you bacon, and it turns into this incredibly

rich, crunchy caramel cookie that I swear I get requests for these back when you like. When places for Christmas people like please come to the Christmas party and will you bring those cookies that you make? And they don't know that it takes 10 minutes and they're super, super easy? I mean, it requires supervision, of course, but you could definitely do this with your kids, and it's so, so easy. I mean, my problem is again we've set up these traditions are Christmas cookie tradition is like the roll out cookies, and we use the Christmas cookie cutters, and it's fun. I may find the lane for it, but if you're feeling like Christmas Grinchy, I just want to say, out there, I see you. I'm kind of over it all, you know, and it comes in waves. All this stuff is opt in, make the Christmas cookies if your kid would like that and you'll have a little fun together and you're in the mood to do that. But I'm not trying to add anything to your Christmas list. Yeah, I'm watching the story of like, I have to do all of this, even though I'm miserable and I'm fighting it because I do tend to be the cruise director

. I do tend to be like Keeper of the Magic keys, you know, and I don't want to give up on that and Grinch out and then regret it. But I also need to take a couple of things off my plate this year because I don't want it to just be like I am working in the fun Jolly mine, digging up the fun, jolly stuff and feeling miserable. You should have dinner at Rachel's house, Rachel says. They do a lamb and grape leaves meal for the holiday. It's only complete when we roast each other at the dinner table. Until someone gets mad enough, they leave, then there the loser, and they have to load the dishwasher. That's hilarious. Adrian, in the same tradition, says it's not a formal tradition, but we tend to air our grievances this time of your true Festivus fashion. Festivus, if you don't know, is in holiday referenced on Seinfeld and it includes the airing of the grievances. That's a Goldilocks alert. Back in my dairy. I can't believe it. That's like 30 years old. That's early nineties Festivus. Is Seinfeld in Goldilocks alert

? Jeez, I guess you're right. But it's been a while, and I think being funny about the airing of the grievances is a great way to go. Oh, boy, I feel like that is a prickly path to go down, but we're doing it anyway. We might as well own it. We're not gathering this year, you know. So, like, we don't have the thing of like, Yep, you know, the dynamics of the table where it's like we can't bring up this around this person and we can't say this and this person is going to bring up this. It's gonna be controversial. At least we don't have that this year. Yeah. Ah, lot of people have advent themes. The days leading up to Christmas. Ah, lot of people doing books. Mary. This is extra, though. I'm sorry. 24 wrapped books and we unwrap one and read one daily. That's a little extra Mary. I'm glad it's making you happy, but it sounds really fun, but I wouldn't call that a friction free, but ah, lot of like books. The Icelandic tradition of Jolla Boca Flood. I know you love the Northern European traditions

, so I clearly was meant to be born in Finland because check your 23 May. Because at this point I'm thinking it's there. I've done it a runny I'm a million percent Irish. Oh, but I clearly have a bit of Icelandic blood somewhere because I love Hugo. Uh, the cozy feeling I love being a Danish baby. Yeah. What was that? It was like going outside free, Loose live. I love free, loose living. And I also love Jola. Boca Flood. Who knew? I will have to get better at these languages If I'm going to have removed to Finland, it means a Christmas book. Flood. Yes. People opening books to read on Christmas Eve. Everybody gets a book on Christmas Eve. I love this. I'm like DVD Book of Flood because we sometimes give out DVDs, but that's not really the same. That's not really a thing anymore. Right now. I'll give up my Netflix password and you can watch I give out

networks password. Boca Flood, which is just here. You could watch Rudolph tonight on TV, but this I like And this I might adopt this year for my family because, as you say, it's gonna be the five of us. I have jammies, and if I gave everybody a book and I'm going to sit down and read a book, that would be what? That's a novelty. What is this thing with paper? And there's letters on it. We read a book during the pandemic. This has started. It's kind of nice. We have a book, a family book and we read a chapter a night. This is the kind of thing that sometimes I hear people say things like this, and I'm like, No, no, I'm failing at everything. They're reading a book, but we're just kind of chilly reading right now. We're reading. We did Harry Potter, and now we're doing Siris of unfortunate events. So, like one chapter is maybe 15 minutes. Those air such a good read aloud. Seriously. They're really fun books, and my husband actually does. Them is funny because I know you do yours and you do. You're an actress. You do all the accents and stuff, do all the voices. Yeah, my husband does. He does all the accents. My niece, who's recently staying with us, and she's like, Why

is he doing a Swedish accent for that character? That person is American. I'm like, Please don't get involved with his accents. He's got a system. He reads it in funny voices. It makes no sense. There is no consistency to the accents. You know, a character, maybe Swedish one day and like, you know, Latin the next day, who knows what's going on with his reading? But it's fun his audiences bought in, right. They are there for the content. His audience is fully bought in. No, and I did notice while having an external critic. There is some flaws to the performance. Let's be honest, but the kids dig it and it just happens that our couch rims around the Christmas tree. And so last night, while they were reading and we mentioned. I think we got it. My mother in law sent us a little train that goes around the bottom of the Christian like a cheap plastic train. I'm not talking about an expensive item. It's so jolly like they sit there and read and the trains going around and I'm like, Look at us. We're Hallmark Christmas card come toe life. I have read a Christmas Carol to my kids in the past, and I recommend that one. It's not

that long. I mean, you can't do it one sitting, but it's not as long as you think it is. It is, of course, an amazing book. It has ghosts, but it's not. They're not scary ghosts, you know. It's like it's enough to keep. I would say anybody older than five and younger than 15 truly transfixed. Kerry says that her husband reads Twas the night Before Christmas before we put out the cookies thes air, the fun kind of traditions where it's goofy, it's silly, but there is a potential that your kids will still want to do this when they're 17 and it's fun. Those kind of things. They're fun, Yes, and nothing is better, right than when one of my kids who I thought was too old for this, said I'm going to read a Christmas Carol this year and was like, set you down. Let's get started. I couldn't believe that this give us still asking for it. That's hilarious and adorable. Ah, lot of people are driving around looking at Christmas lights, and I don't know, I think we might do this. This was a big thing in my family growing up, and we got to a point where we were big enough

with I mean, we This is to tell you something we all had. Spouse is and we were still doing this so we would take two cars and we would have a walkie talkie and talk to each other while we looked at the Christmas lights and our handles on the walkie talkie were spirit of Christmas, one in spirit of Christmas, too. That's extra, Yeah, I mean, we're Christmas nerds. I like him and that's something like that fell away. We don't do that anymore. The other big tradition we always had on Christmas Eve and I was just being annoyed at digital life, we always we had a projector and I don't know what millimeter nine millimeter film, maybe the little home movie cameras that they used to have back in the Stone Ages when I was a child and my dad would set up the projector on Christmas Eve and we would watch Christmas, you know, our home movies of us. Oh, that's sweet. And that is something that I wish I. But basically, now I'm like our Christmas movies. They're like on eight different computers down in the basement that I keep having a plan that someday will digitize. But like they're not, it's so much more convenient, and yet they're completely inaccessible. It's frustrating

. Can I go back to the light shows? Because I do want to give one caveat like that seems like a good thing to do this year. We can drive around, look at lights. The only problem with that is that everybody else has the exact same idea. I refrained in Michigan who said, Let's go because now they're setting things up where you could drive through a public park and, like the county, is set up a light shot. Like something like that. They waited 2.5 hours to drive through a public park and look at lights. Yeah, same here. We didn't do it, but I saw people on Facebook saying, Oh, by the way, the county light show is a 2.5 hour wait to know. Because what else is there to dio now? I mean, she was like, it was fun. My friend rolls that way. So my friend was like, we just watched a Christmas vacation on my phone. And then by the time it was over, we didn't have to wait that long before we could drive through a public park and look at Christmas lights like that. She's a more evolved being. You see what I'm saying? Thio handled that with equanimity because that wouldn't have been me, but yeah, you could also just somebody just said here Oh, Heather says they get hot cocoa from Dunkin

Donuts, which I mean, right, if you're a little kid like that's, like a five star day, right? Hot chocolate from Dunkin Donuts best and then just drive around. Even if you're a middle aged lady, that's a pretty good day. Sure, go to Duncan dunks. It's called dunks. Now. If you knew that I'm seeing that a lot on Facebook. Well, I have friends from Boston who have always called a donkey, so I was ready for dunks and you just drive around. Look at the lights. You don't have a destination, just sort of like, let's find the best house in town. I think this is a good time. Thio evoke a core principle of the podcast, which is Watch the story. This will be fun you could bail to, you know, because that's something that I think we say a lot. We have a famous story in our family that my dad thought it would be fun when we were in Florida at some point to take us all fishing on a deep sea fishing boat. And apparently it was pretty expensive, like outside of the budget. But my dad was like, That's okay, this is going to be our day deep sea fishing. And he got I think there was only three of us at the time

. My little sister's a five year gap. We were pretty young then, you know, we get out on the boat and I, of course, immediately start vomiting like immediately. We're barely off of the coast, you know? So then for an hour out, and by the end of it was just basically four of us throwing up over the side of the boat and my dad, who was very funny about it, but he was like, Well, I might as well have just gone out to sea and thrown the money in the water, you know, like it was just the most useless undertaking, but much more relaxing. And so I think, with Christmas and presence especially. You know, I think a lot of times we have things like I've come up with the greatest gift. Wait til I give it to this child, they're gonna be so excited. Just watch the story of, like, this is gonna be the thing, because, Justus, you can't predict what will become the tradition. You can't predict what's going to go well either. And so don't over attach on small kids like we always went to the zoo on Christmas Eve and it was the most magical night because likely you will just have kids crying and saying they're cold and wanting to go home. And then you'll feel super disappointed. We're afraid of Santa after

you stood in line an hour. Of course, that's not happening this year, but yeah. Oh, yeah. I'm not even going to get into that. The fact that they're doing Santa at my mom in my cousin in Montana she did get her son's picture taken with Santa with a sheet of like plexiglass between them. And yes, 1.5 year old did not cry. He was unafraid of Santa. Maybe we should keep it that way. Maybe we should just keep the plexiglass guys. All right, we'll be right back by now. You've heard us talk about pros. We're huge fans of the world's most personalized hair care. I've been using pros for at least three months now. And let me tell you before, pros, my hair was sad. Wamp, Wamp Bad trombone sound. After using pros for a couple of months now I have the hair of a palomino pony, shiny and smooth. Jamie, did you write that because you were literally describing my real hair? Look at that. You should see me shaking my head right now like a shampoo had, and now you can give the gift of prose hair this holiday season, pros will send your loved one, a digital gift card and a link to their in depth hair quiz so

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why does life have no meaning? Christmas Last year. There's no place like home for the holidays. Christmas this year, there's no place but home ever. You're not going to. And Jones, there's no ornament exchange of Cousin Cheryl's. The most exciting place I want to see you is taking you're trash cans to the curb and keep your home for New Year's to Christmas last year have ah, Holly Jolly Christmas Christmas this year. Listen, if staying in bed in a fetal position and shoving Christmas cookies into your mouth as fast as possible, while sometimes crying is your version of Holly and Jolly, we are here to respect that Christmas last year. Don we now? Our gay apparel Christmas this year. So here's the thing. The gay apparel won't button because I've been sitting still in over snacking for the past eight months. How about I don me now? These gay sweatpants? This has been Christmas last year versus Christmas this year from the what fresh hell. Podcast. Mhm

. Amy, I'm going to come back. I have my own. As you know, I'm very into Christmas. I think we've established that very clearly, but one of the fun things that has happened. My husband and his brother had a tradition at home, which I witnessed as an adult. As we know, I got married at, like 36. So we really grown adults when this was happening. Holiday traditions firmly entrenched. But that's when you know it's really a tradition when it's still happening. When you're approaching middle age, you know you're like, OK, this is definitely a thing they have. Both of them have plain ornaments, like a little airplane like a prop plane, And they have a competition about who's plane is higher in the tree on DSO at night. They like, switch each other's ornaments. They hide one of the plane like it's an ongoing battle. All Christmas of who's ornament is higher in the tree on. It's just one of those funny things that, like I'm not saying like, Oh, make sure your kids do this. It's really fun. It's gotta happen organically. But that's my husband and I. I'm a New York Giants fan, and he's a Dallas Cowboys fan on

. We were just noticing this year that the kids have really picked up on like, Oh, Mom is not gonna like this ornament. It all because we have a player from each team that goes out, That's an ornament. And those are the kind of things that could be really fun, just random funny traditions and, like, you know, oh, make sure you don't put that Dallas Cowboy player, however, that my Giants player and just fun Sometimes it's the little things I think is what I'm trying to emphasize. It's not really the like eight course, Fred that you put out. It's the funny thing that happens with the planes. It's like, you know, when you were little and on Christmas Eve you're listening for the sound of sleigh bells like as a grown up. You sort of listening for the sound of Christmas enjoyment and just jump on it right. If your kids think it's hilarious to have the football ornaments fight, then do it. We have a coming from Tiffany. My mother in law used to require her kids to go outside on the front lawn and yell, I believe in Santa Claus before they could open their gifts. My hubby and his brother look back on that fondly. And those also are the kind of traditions that can get

sillier and sillier as you're like college age kids were doing it. And you know it's fun to have those things that survived through the years. Yes, Erica says, Make green pancakes and have a Grinch night. Never thought about that and watch the movie. That sounds fun, too. May we were very big. This is something again. We speak to you from the past. Guys, you may not have ever experienced this, but there was one night a year that Rudolph the red Nosed Reindeer was on that horrible claymation. You know, Rankin Bass hot mess show? Yeah, the island of misfit toys. That was one of our favorite nights. And now I will say my kids the other day on a Sunday night, I said, You want to do a movie night and they're like, is it OK if the kids just watch Rudolph together with hot chocolate and I was like, It is definitely okay, It is more than okay, go for it. But it warned the cockles of my cold, dead heart a May to see those kids enjoying Rudolph together. Yeah, and those air on as you said, like they did a like freeform channel. There's always all these sort of Christmas marathons

now, so there is Christmas content on all the time. It used to be appointment television. I mean, seriously, you'd wait all year for Rudolph Night and Charlie Brown. Christmas with the Sad Tree So good Charlie Brown soundtrack is a great sort of like background Christmas music. Christmas Day kind of. It's mellow. I kind of miss my I used have Christmas very carefully cultivated Christmas playlists, and now I just go with the Spotify Christmas all that. You have to be very careful. You have to make sure that you choose classic Christmas on Spotify because otherwise you get like a million pop stars you've never heard of. If you're me because you're old that are singing like Christmas with my boo and stuff, which I don't are just Santa, baby, they all do a Santa baby, and I'm like there's enough versions of that already, and I'll even take a pop star. I've never heard of saying a classic Christmas song, but I really resent in the middle of my holly jolly nous getting hit with Like in sync. Christmas isn't the same without you. I'm just like, No

, that's not a Christmas song. Get it off my playlist. I love, like sort of novelty Christmas. I have a Pottery Barn CD back when you bought CDs by the cash register at stores, and it just is all these, like corny songs from the fifties and sixties about Santa lives on an island and stuff and that one I absolutely loved literally. What are you talking about? What is the Christmas song about Santa living on an island You never spent Christmas on Christmas Island? Don't put the link in the show notes. It's the Andrews Sisters and they sing a song about What would it be like if you woke up on Christmas Island? Back in my dairy? You've really made my day because you've referenced in Goldilocks alert That is too old for May, and I'm so happy that you've done that. We like Dominick the Christmas Donkey. Yeah, it's like Dominick the Christmas Donkey, but they're better songs or songs that are actually like pleasant to listen, to dominate the Christmas donkeys. Funny. Oh yeah, it's an ear sore, but it's so fun. And we, of course Grandma got run over by a Reindeer is a classic. Oh, that's on the opposite of my bucket list

, right? Like I could definitely live out my days without hearing that song again without ever hearing that again. I don't know. It's what my sister has a phrase I don't believe original to her, which is Delight Mare on its things that are, like delightfully horrible. And that Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer is the ultimate delight mare for me, like I want to resist it. But there is something delicious about it, too. May How do you feel about Mariah Carey? Because I feel like I could hear that song like I love All I want for Christmas is you and it puts me in the Christmas spirit. Like I think I've listened to it maybe 50,000 times at this point, and I'm still got it in me to really love that song. I believe there is some sort of contest. Are you aware of this? I don't know the name event, but its contest who and like you do it in packs of people who can go the longest without hearing that song eso itself reporting like you have to be like All right, I heard at the mall today. Sorry, I'm out. And so it's like a fun contest that friends do together. Like, can I make it through the entire Christmas season without hearing? All I want for Christmas is you. I could

probably go pretty far because who goes anywhere, right? But if you like when you go places well, this year, it wouldn't really be fun, because it's got to be like when you're out and about, you know? Yeah, this year you could go through the whole year without hearing another human sound mean contest is kind of ruined. I'm gonna opt out of that game this year and go back to when we see people you should opt in. You could be a winner, right? Like No, I never heard anything. I only heard the sound of Children screaming at each other. Here's a random and fun idea, Melissa Kissinger says. They put a pickle on the tree, and whoever finds it first opens the first gift. I want to say that when I read this, I was like, Melissa is clearly insane and needs. What fresh hell. Intervention! Because I've never heard of anything so crazy. What fresh hell is a pickle on the tree? But let me tell you, the Christian was like gotta have the pickle. And many other people were like, Oh, yes, the beloved Christmas pickle. Is it like a novelty item that could be purchasing gift shop? There is an actual pickle. I hope so. We need some clarification. Melissa, Kristen and any of you other pickle maniacs. Please clarify if

this is an ornament. Liken enamel pickle. I will be fine with it if it is an actual pickle. Is it a spear? Is it a pickle chip? I don't know what to say to you, but it's I love when this happens in life and on the Facebook group, where people are like, Oh, you know, the great tradition of hiding Santa surfboard. And you're like, What kind of maniac are you? Oh, yeah, right. And then 10 people are like, That's my favorite of all the Christmas traditions. And you're like, What? What is that? That's not a thing. Here's a free one that is super super fun. If your kids air into Santa the NORAD website and it is so fun you can. It tracks where Santa is. You know, all of Christmas Day like Santa's on Bora Bora right now, and he's delivered one billion presents already, and it has all of this content. It is so fun, and it kept my kids very busy when they were younger. The only thing I will say about the NORAD Christmas Santa is that it often drives my kids from, like a level 10 out of 10

of excitement into like a 47. You know, they go insane. They literally start jumping up and down and like dancing around. They just get crazy with that, nor read tracker. You have to get it, and you have to sort of maybe distract them a little bit like later in the day. It's fun when it's like 10 a.m. on Christmas Eve morning, and they're already out of their minds. But by like six PM, they can start to get really anxious about. I need to be asleep already. Yeah, the nine o'clock tracker starts to get real wacky. You know, they really start to go nuts. Here's a random one. I know Danielle on I'm gonna have to press her with some hard follow up questions. Because this I've never heard of. And again, people were like, I love this wonderful tradition. We keep a slice of our tree stump every year we date it, and then it stays out all year long until it is replaced. Have you ever heard of this? No, I don't hate it, but yeah, there's a lot of tree stump er's out there to People were like, Oh, the wonderful tree stump tradition. Like people are up to some weird stuff out there. I mean, I

love it, but I've never heard of anyone doing this. Uh, yeah. I wonder if it, like, smells nice. Do you get any sort of, like pleasant, sappy smell? E cannot imagine anything about this. Like why you would want to tree stump, Why you would want in August to be like, clearing stuff around a tree stump. I don't understand. Ah, look of it. But I appreciate that people are into it. Page says they do sausage bread for breakfast. You make it the night before Super simple Morning. We do like a French toast casserole, same thing and make it the night before, you know, turn on the oven before everybody comes downstairs to see what Santa brought. And then, you know, at some point the French toast casserole goes in and you want to make breakfast, but you have a good breakfast. My mother in law does it with, like a biscuit. Casseroles like biscuits, eggs, sausage And it all goes together and people are really into it. Got to give a shout out to the cinnamon roll people. People are way, way into their cinnamon rolls at me. I mean Pillsbury cinnamon

rolls, homemade cinnamon rolls, Cinnabons, cinnamon rolls. I mean, people have a lot of thoughts on this holiday and cinnamon rolls. I wonder, Can you get Cinnabon cinnamon rolls like not at a Cinnabon? Because, yeah, I think they sell like a frozen kind. Yeah, cinnamon rolls or one of those things where I feel like the Pillsbury one. It's like McDonald's French fries like you could make your own. But there's something about the highly processed version that's extra delicious. A Me. We were going to try to avoid this dude. We were going to try to forget about him because neither of us are supporters. Oh yeah, but we've come to the point of our podcast where we have to talk about elf on the shelf. Yeah, I want to say that's not like I think you shouldn't do it. It's just where the ghost of Christmas past here, like the Elf, was after my kids being little and so never had it. And I think the idea that you have to do it now it just seems like a big, big job to May. I think there are people who are so clever about it, the difference with Elf on the shelf because I remember hearing about it. What drove Elf on the shelf into his current

prominence is social media, like when people could post what they're. Elf was up Thio, and it seemed like everyone else was doing it because there was definitely a father shot. But I never even knew what it waas. And now you go on Facebook and everyone's got the elephant trumpeting around in the powdered sugar, and he's up to craziness. This is the kind of thing that I think if it's fun for you, do it, and I think I could see getting in my extra Christmas way. I had the good sense when this started. My youngest is probably still five, like, definitely young enough to do it. But I had the good sense when they started to know that like I would not be able to control myself and that I was not mentally responsible enough to have an elf because I would be at midnight being like Oh my God, what can the I'll be doing and running around? It's all my weaknesses, remembering to do stuff and then being two extra with stuff at the same time. So I bailed. I've softened my stance on it because I think in the past I was more like Don't do that Hello. And but then my sister, whose kids air a decade younger than mine, she was

like, You can't really opt out like the kids don't understand why everybody else have one. They don't. I love Amy's because I think this is an important one. It's not you and me. A different Amy different Amy. There's always a different Amy. There's always other Amy's. There's a lot of Amy's out there. A few years ago, when my husband was out of work, as something special. I put together a hot cocoa bar, mostly with stuff. I had marshmallows, cocoa, chocolate chips. I bought each kid a new mug at Dollar Tree. They loved it. I think often we think traditions and a lot of the stuff we talked about costs, money, you know, and we don't all especially around the holidays, have money to spend, and I think it's important. I mean, this is now we're heading into, like, the Christmas special ending where it's like it's not about gifts. It's about the love after all. But guys, that's kind of true. You know, it is kind of about the traditions from, like we hide candy canes. We have a special doll who moves around the house. It doesn't have to be elf on the shelf. Your kids will

actually remember the plane ornaments more than they'll remember the giant dollhouse that they you thought there was. There one heart's desire and not to be too, you know, cloying about it. I think the other thing is we have to be careful of the holidays that, like our way, is the right way. We talked so much about this with Susan Katz Miller, Laurie says. My thinking is I do the wrapping in the shopping. We should do it my way, right? She's not wrong. But remember that, like the ability to control the holiday and make it turn out the right way is not what your kids remember, either. It's that you were all there together and engaged in some form of Jolly Nece. Not about that. Everything turned out perfectly. Lead with the hot cocoa. That's my big take away for this episode. Like Have lots of hot cocoa available? Couldn't agree more Hot cocoa is low, Byeon delicious and downright Mary, I tell you, it will get us through. We solved it. Just have more hot cocoa. This

year we solved Christmas. Guys, I hope you all have a merry whatever you celebrate. You know what? I want to have a little holiday request. If you want to get us something for the holidays this year, as the year ends, we would love some ratings and reviews. We have plenty. We can always use more. I have instructions up on what fresh hell podcast dot com, But you can usually to swipe or tap wherever you listen and you know, hit some stars and give us some love. Can I give a little inside baseball? Amy, Which is that every single week before we record, we say we have to ask for ratings and reviews before we start talking. And we never dio we really did it this time. So please, and it's mostly my fault. So get me out of the Christmas doghouse with Amy and go leave us a rating our view because I always promise I'm going to remember to say that, and I never, never dio so that could be your Christmas gift to us and have a happy holiday. Guys, we'll talk to you next week. So long.

Extremely Achievable Holiday Traditions
Extremely Achievable Holiday Traditions
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