Ten ways to add a sprinkling of magic to your holiday (without money)

Happy holidays, friends! I hope you are all filled with the magical energy of the season! This month is just exploding with storytelling programs at holiday parties and schools! And every magical classroom or home that I visit, the children are wide-eyed and downright slobbery over their winter celebrations!

When I ask children about their favorite holiday traditions, the most popular answers revolve around enjoying simple holiday magic! (Believe it or not, I rarely hear excitement over receiving presents or new toys.) Children love to share about special foods and family fun!

When I ask parents and caregivers about their favorite holiday traditions, I never hear answers, I only see stress. This year, the adults that attend my holiday storytelling programs are worrying about money for gifts and are stressing about finding enough time for friends and family. One excellent mother even expressed her fears over not "living up to" her family's traditions. Not only are adults sometimes unable to feel holiday magic, but the holidays can be draining for us.

My holiday wish is for everyone to relax, breathe, let go of expectations in order to experience the true magic of the season! 

Yes, it can be magical to receive presents around this time of year, but the magic of receiving a new toy (or many new toys) fades away over time. We try to show others how much we care about them with gifts, but a few simple and heartfelt words, hugs and smiles will also make your friends and family feel magical! Taking care of yourself and only doing what makes you feel magical and sparkly are key to creating the experiences and feelings that will remain with you and your children forever.

Here are ten ideas to make this season enchanting:

1.) Limit your media intake.

Many television programs, newspapers, blogs and radio programs are filled with messages about how we should celebrate the holidays or what we "need" to have a proper holiday. I'm not suggesting that turning off the television will change how our society feels or how you feel about the holidays, but your holiday will be happier and healthier without these messages.

2.) Throw an ornament-making party!

It is amazing how adults light up when they see colorful paints and markers, scissors, glue and sparkling glitter. Throw a party and have an ornament making contest using items from your recycling bin. Or go on a group holiday hike and make ornaments out of found objects. (I love to paint pine cones and fallen tree branches!) Start with some simple sparkly snowflakes:

3.) Read magical holiday stories from around the world!

Your public or school librarian will be able to help you locate some books or even films filled with magic.

4.) Decorate your house with simple handmade decorations and use your imagination!

Transforming our home into an enchanted winterscape or a magical faerie forest of colors is one of my favorite things to do--even if it is just in my imagination!  You don't need to deck the halls because, with an active imagination, your home will feel more magical! Need a little inspiration? Start with a simple garland of stars:

In 20-minutes our living room was transformed into a sparkly colorful dreamland:

5.) Listen, play and dance to music!

Playing holiday (or any other uplifting and magical) music will transform your home into an enchanting world. Holiday music can be found streaming online if you don't have any of your own.

6.) Fill your home with smells of cinnamon, fruits and evergreen!

It is important to create a magical world for all of your senses, so don't forget your nose. Simply find some sprigs of evergreen to place around your home or press some cloves into an orange for a fragrant decoration.

7.) Enjoy your loved ones, but know your limits.

Your friends and family know you love them regardless of the season. Stretching yourself too thin because you feel obligated to see everyone will make it so you won't be able to enjoy your own holiday. Trust me, no friend or relative wants to see you feeling sick, stressed or tired. It's okay to say 'no' and take care of yourself.

8.) Stay warm and cozy!

Snuggle under a fuzzy blanket with your sweetie or a fur beast. Knit yourself a pair of soft, woolie socks and mittens. Enjoy some hot cocoa or a warm bath. Light a few candles. Keeping your body warm while it's cold and dark outside will keep your spirits lifted!

9.) Don't force yourself to cook a huge traditional holiday meal.

Throw a themed potluck with your friends and family! One year I hosted a holiday cookie and sweet treat potluck. And another year I threw a holiday potluck where we ended up with varieties of magical foods from around the world! I learned about my friends' holiday traditions and tasted special treats from where they grew up.

10.) Share your magic and love with others!

Smile and give heartfelt complements as much as possible. It really is the small and simple things that make the biggest changes in this world...and this world needs your MAGIC and LOVE now, more than ever before!

Remember, wee ones find the holidays special because children are magical and they love to be around magical people and to explore enchanting environments. Despite what our society has us believe, we don't need money or traditional holiday activities to be magical or to truly enjoy the holidays! Embrace your own magic to make your holidays special!

See you soon!! Xx