Happy Saturday and Happy Day 3 of our Subtraction Project.

Have you ever been around someone that has “must be nice” syndrome? You do something (like book a life-long dream vacation to Italy) and they say “Must be nice!” and it is either said nicely or kinda not. I like to think that all of you are nice enough to keep the “must be nice” thoughts in your heads…I know I try to keep it there. But there is a small part of me that sometimes thinks that. I’ve gotten my social scroll on and I think to myself “I wish I could do that!” And the truth is for MOST things: I could do that. It might involve radically changing some things but nothing is really impossible.

While the name of the game is Subtraction Project I think it’s so important to ADD in the good stuff, the amazing experiences, the joy because what I’ve found is that when I don’t thoughtfully add in the goodness I mindlessly let the same less than awesome things I’ve subtracted fill that space back up (I’m looking at you Old Navy t-shirts).

Here’s another example: I’ve created the space for some ease in our Christmas Day by not traveling, I don’t decide on an activity to fill that space and so at the last minute I decide to take on the complicated task of helping Lexi with one of her Christmas present projects which we are missing a key ingredient, when I’m not really well rested (hello 5am wakeup), and my patience has been tried for the past few days. In another world I could decide to not travel on Christmas Day and make plans right then to have a fire and watch our very favorite holiday movie all as a family on the couch in the afternoon.

On Day 1 you decided how you were going to create some ease and now it’s time to select a tradition of a fantastic addition before you fill that space back up with something else you’re not so keen on!

I’m so delighted to share these traditions from other followers of this project below:

  • Making pumpkin bread and delivering it to the neighbors and people I work with is my very favorite!!
  • I started reading “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” every Christmas Eve. I started while I was pregnant for our daughter. After she was born, we snuggled under a soft blanket in our Christmas pajamas. Now, this is our last normal Christmas, as she will be heading off to college next fall. She still brings me the book and every year my heart swells with the deepest love imaginable!
  • I get a new ornament for the tree
  • New pj’s on Christmas Eve.
  • My absolute favorite tradition is how we do Christmas cookies.  In the weeks leading up to Christmas, my daughters and I bake sugar cookies and freeze them. A couple days before Christmas we have a cookie decorating party with a few friends, using store bought icing and *all* the decorations. Our friends take home their favorites, we save a few for ourselves and Santa, and then the rest we package up. On Christmas Eve we deliver them to the local fire station or nursing home as a thank you for the amazing people working the holidays to care for us or our elders.  All the fun of Christmas cookies, spaced out to avoid stress, and none of the fights about how many cookies they can eat.  Plus, even though they are still little, they get to participate in the true spirit of Christmas.
  • I love is our book Advent calendar. I wrap 24 of our holiday books and we open and read one each day. Once they are open, they go into rotation and can be read again. On an ideal day, we wake up with enough time to read the book before school, but other days it’s after school or before bed. Whenever it happens, it’s a little pause and snuggle and Christmas spirit all rolled into one.
  • Our family tradition became making homemade pizza with our farm hamburger, homemade red sauce/cheddar cheese baked on 4-sided cookie sheet, homemade potato salad, cutout iced cookies & stove popped popcorn with farm butter—all for our Christmas Eve family celebration as we decorated the Christmas tree! Yes, a lot of cooking & baking for my Mother, sister & me but less work than what my father & 6 brothers were doing milking cows, but we did this annually. This tradition continues with me now!
  • Traditionally, when I was a kid, my family use to wait till Christmas Eve to shop. It’s like speed shopping. Kinda fun! Bc we’d all split up in pairs and then switch throughout the day. Meeting for an amazing lunch and snacks and dinner.  Now as a full fledge adult/wife/mom, I still have this habit and it’s a bit stressful…. not so much with the kids, more like adults/husband and those freaking holiday cards. It’s not an outing like I had with my parents, it’s more like sneaking to my phone to order Amazon.
  • Going to my grandparents place.
  • Favorite holiday tradition….we have a very small family and Christmas dinner is often just the four of us.  I started having a Christmas Day film festival to take the edge off the lack of relatives to share the day.  So, I develop a theme for the day that centers around the films. For example, last year I screened Lonesome Dove.  We started the day with biscuits and grits, followed by a brisket, roasted potatoes, beans and apple pie for dinner.  (We could have eaten out of cans and been historically accurate…cowboys ate directly out of cans.  I drew the line at that–I do have standards.  They also ate  a lot apples.  I did the research.)  Dinner is eaten clustered around the coffee table in front of a fire and it’s an official Pajama Day.  This year, we are showing Monty Python.  Breakfast will be scones with clotted cream….you get the idea.  My family loves Christmas Day at home.  I can only hope my boys marry women that will enjoy it, too.
  • Favorite holiday tradition hands down is an advent calendar
  • One random surprise night, girls get in pajamas, each gets a travel mug of cocoa and a blanket, we all hop in the car and drive allllll over looking at lights and singing carols and just quietly talking about Christmas or whatever…
  • Christmas Eve, we go to Powers Farm Market after dark, and we follow the trail and walk to the Nativity scene where we usually get to pet the stinky donkey and just feel the magic.
  • Socks.  One afternoon we go sock shopping, we buy all sorts of warm socks in all colors and sizes, and then we deliver bags of socks to Open Door Mission…
  • Even now, at 15 and 16, the girls LOVE their Christmas books, so every night I will read out loud a few books and now we have the added joy of them saying, “Remember when we got this book and…” or, “This book reminds me of…”.  Just the magic of my children still being children.
  • My favorite holiday tradition is to spend Christmas Eve (also our wedding anniversary) with my best friend’s family. Our families have known each other for 33 years (our dads worked together) and we love having three generations of friendship in the house every year!
  • My husband and I are both transplants so we do a lot of traveling at Christmas to see both families. It’s stressful, but important to us to spend time (even a little bit) with everyone. Instead of dragging gifts for each other all over the globe, we wait until we’re back home and have our Christmas together on New Year’s Eve. It’s a nice excuse to not go out, but it also makes the evening that much more special because it’s only ours. Besides, who doesn’t love presents and champagne? 😉
  • Our family traditions include watching our collection of family videos and re-watching Christmas movies together and we must have our homemade ice cream cake!
Share your favorite tradition in the comments!
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