It’s November and I am the one who begins holiday traditions right now. The first thing I do is pluck all the tombstones out of my yard on November 1st and replace them with all the holiday cheer! Yes, I go from zero to Elf in the time it takes for me to eat all the Halloween candy – so, like a day. I am totally ready to break out my giant wreaths and garland, but I was also particularly unmotivated this year. It already the November 3rd and we still have Halloween in our yard, oh the literal horrors.
I did manage to clear Halloween from the interior. My littlest kidiots don’t switch gears as quickly as I do; Henry is still obsessed with pumpkins and Madeline wants to watch Hocus Pocus again. Oliver is my favorite kid this week because of he ready for Christmas. He is revising his Christmas list, probably as we speak.
I don’t want you to think that we just gloss over Thanksgiving Traditions like some big-box chain store pushing the Holiday Cheer, but for real – You have 8 weeks until Christmas. As of this morning, you have three weeks before Thanksgiving Day. 21 days Y’all! I can almost smell dinner!
Soon enough you’ll have every inch of your halls decked in traditional Christmas Cheer and will be relentlessly jamming Jingle Bell Rock. (It’s not just me, is it?)
Embrace the fact that November is a relaxing month.
Thanksgiving isn’t the only Tradition that makes November special, in fact, I am here to encourage you to make your own traditions for your family all month long. Celebrate giving thanks for the next three weeks! Create traditions with your family that you can carry on for years to come. Spread your celebration and traditions through the month and you will be forever thankful this season.
I’ve created this list to inspire you to begin the month creating new traditions and celebrating old traditions with your family.
The wonderful thing about November and Thanksgiving in the U.S. is that there is not much pressure to beautify your home. Get rid of those cobwebs (decor or not) and toss those Jack-O-Lanterns out of the way. An inadvertent tradition around our house is pumpkin smashing. Halloween has ended and those rotten pumpkins make great BB Gun targets and goat food at our house. After you’ve done this pumpkin purge, upgrade your decorations to the traditional mini pumpkins. You can use them as a cute centerpiece. I would show you mine, but the kids are using them for “Troll Bowling” – sorry.
I bought these cute stuffed pumpkins as a centerpiece and haven’t seen them all afternoon. I picked these pumpkins because inevitably the children will use them to “grenade” one another, so soft was a big selling point!) At least I can relax with my coffee and my Fall Wax Melts that make the neighbors think I’m baking.
Tricking the neighbors is my favorite holiday tradition.
Take A Walk & Collect Leaves
Look, I am the kind of person who gets unreasonably uncomfortable to see my kids collecting outdoor things and sticking them into their pockets. Not because I am weird (I am weird, but this is not why) but because they want to keep those things… forever. Just a few sentences ago I said “it’s so easy to decorate simply in November” and that still rings true. Make taking a weekend walk a new tradition and let them collect fist-fulls of fresh-fallen leaves. Then throw them away immediately as soon as you get home. Kidding. Grab some string or thread and make a garland to hang in the window, or on the mantle or spruce up your table. This is a creative project kids love and making your own simple decorations with the kids is a good way to start a tradition. You can string them with these cute LED string lights.
Photo by Chris Lawton
Give & Volunteer
This is a big time of year for charities and organizations that cater to the needy and vulnerable populations and charity is already a tradition for most families. Food banks are always seeking donations and soup kitchens are always seeking workers, but here are a few ideas for charitable giving and service that you might not have thought of that need just as much assistance during this time. A simple contribution creates a new tradition.
Diaper Banks – thanks to our tenant legal issue diaper need was brought to my attention in a big way. I am in the process of coordinating some type of regular drive or bank with our church because there is no diaper bank in our area. If you live in an urban area chances are you have a diaper bank seeking donations this season. FInd yours here
Blood Banks – I was conveniently reminded by United Blood Services this past week that its time to give again. Once you are enrolled as a donor you are able to give blood 3 times a year. Check the link to find the location nearest you.
Volunteer with Seniors – If you have school-age children there are programs that encourage kids to read out loud to seniors, visits homes and play games and more. This is an amazing opportunity to get your kids involved with charity and also help them with their reading skills. You can also volunteer to be a companion and assists with every-day activities such as cooking or driving to appointments. You can find out more about programs available in your area here.
Make Your Holiday Cards
Yes, I send greeting cards. I absolutely adore stationary. I make my kids write thank you notes after they receive gifts from relatives and they can address a letter. I think that this is an important skill to have, for some reason. I also think this is going to be a fun tradition for us.
When I say that November is the perfect time to get your greeting cards done don’t think for one second that I am suggesting that you run out, hire a photographer, rent a bail of hay, buy matching plaid for all the kids and spend the better part of a weekend trying to create that perfect shot to put on your greeting cards. You can do that if you want to. My sister managed to do it in like 2 shots, at home in her yard on her Google Pixel. The pictures came out amazing and she gets all the bonus points for not having to leave the house. We can’t all be my sister.
Thanks to my budding artist, Madeline, this year I have a new idea and a new tradition in the making.
I found these blank, natural greeting cards and bought some paint pens, stencils, and this giant woodblock stamp. This year, I am going to cover the floor in newspaper and let the kids free with their creativity to make greeting cards. It’s cool if things aren’t neat and perfect, the kids did it and that’s the perfect excuse. This idea might double as our wrapping paper this year!
I would bake every day if I could not eat everything I bake immediately as it comes out of the oven. Madeline apparently is leading the traditions this year because she requested that we make Pumpkin Pie every day. I told her that every weekend we could bake something new. That is a tradition that we are building and it’s pretty special for us to spend time together doing something so fun and yummy. It also gets me stuffing my face with treats, which is also an important November Tradition. Bring on the pie!!
There you have it, a pretty simple list of things that you can do as a family to slow down and create new holiday traditions all November long. Appreciate the chill of November together.