Monthly Archives: December 2011

A SIMPLY Memorable Holiday

CookiesFrom shopping, cooking, cleaning, visits from inlaws, wrapping and decorating, the holiday season can have us rushing from one thing to the next and leaving us wondering how we’ll manage to fit it all in.  We all would love to have that “Norman Rockwell” Christmas or “Martha Stewart” New Year’s Day brunch, but making your holidays memorable doesn’t have to mean overextending ourselves or our resources. The key to a stress-free, fondly remembered holiday season is spending time with loved ones and using that time to create lasting impressions and memories. Take a breath and read the below tips on creating a memorable holiday season while keeping it simple.

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!”- Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch


More of What Matters

Take some time to remember what it is you’re celebrating and talk to your family about how you can make that the focus this year, so the meaning of the holidays doesn’t get lost under the pile of wrapping paper.  Instead of going along with what “everyone else” seems to be doing, what are your priorities?  Prune down your ‘to do’ list by focusing on what’s important and then let go of the rest.

Create Meaningful Memories

If spending time together as a family or establishing traditions that will bring you closer sounds better than maxing out your credit cards, then dust off an old tradition that you loved as a child, and re-introduce it to your family.  Or start a new one.  There are hundreds of ideas in magazines and online.  Here are a few to get you started:

  • Volunteer as a family to share your good fortune and get involved in your community.  Or invite single people without family nearby or those outside your usual circle of friends to dinner or holiday gatherings.
  • Try something new, like going on a sleigh ride, serenading your neighbors with Christmas carols, going to a candlelight service, trying a new recipe (ever make Peppermint Bark?) or leaving “secret Santa” gifts on a neighbor’s porch.
  • Decorate the Christmas tree together.  String popcorn and cranberry garland while you talk about plans for the coming year.
  • Have a story night where each person shares the best day of their life, takes turns reading traditional holiday stories, or use the days leading up to the new year to share one thing each night that you’re thankful for.
  • Bake together.  Let the flour fly and have fun baking holiday treats that you can give away as gifts.

Manage Expectations

  • Learn to let go:  You may be putting unnecessary pressure on yourself to cook the turkey the way your mother-in-law would, decorate the house like the Griswold’s or have the perfect table setting and holiday invitations.  Let go of perfectionism, quit comparing yourself with others and go back to that “What Matters” list to keep your priorities in check.
  • Make it a team effort: Ask for help and don’t try to get it all done by yourself.  You do know that Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray have a staff, don’t you?  A team of people who shop, prep, style and more.  Your holiday to do list should engage the whole family, which teaches kids responsibility, relieves stress for you, and creates time together.  Make Tropical Smoothie a part of your team and we’ll provide quick, nutritious meals when you’re too busy to cook.  We now deliver!
  • Past commitments: Just because you’ve volunteered for your school’s Christmas play for the past five years doesn’t mean you still have room for it.  If it’s not on your “What Matters” list, let it go and learn to graciously say ‘no’ to the things that are spreading you too thin.
  • Gifts:  Maybe you’ve purchased gifts for your family, extended family, neighbors, friends and co-workers in the past, but like many people, have been affected by the economy.  They’ll be expecting gifts because it’s the status quo, right?  Chances are, they can’t buy for everyone either and are worried about where the money will come from.  Simply suggest to your family that you start drawing names or keep the gifts to children only.   Better yet, talk about forgoing gifts in favor of giving to those in need.  For example, let everyone know that instead of gifts, you’ll be donating to a local or global charity.  And for your immediate family, get the kids involved in giving by asking them to pick out one of their existing toys to give to another child in need for every new gift that they receive this year.  Managing those expectations up front will likely offer some relief all around.

Keep It Simple

So some things have stayed on your “What Matters” list, like getting the family together and you’re the one hosting.  No worries – find a way to streamline and simplify the tasks that are important enough to keep on your list.

  • Hosting a holiday gathering: There are many online invitation services like “” to make getting the word out faster than addressing envelopes.  Offer to take care of the main dish and have others bring beverages, side dishes and desserts. Instead of costly presents, ask guests to bring something they already own (and want to get rid of) that would cost under $10 to replace, and have a fun “white elephant” gift exchange.  Many of you are having office parties this time of year.  Did you know that Tropical Smoothie Café caters? Just call us at (702) 992-0570 or order for your group online and take “cooking” off of your list Click here to download our menu.
  • Gifts:  You’ve managed expectations and cut down your gift list, but there are still some people left to shop for.  Homemade gifts offer another opportunity to get family involved in establishing a fun and heart-felt tradition.  There are baked goods, crafts, coupon books for personal services like walking the dog or shoveling snow, and more. Also, people love gift cards, especially for eating out.  They are easy to mail and fit inside of a holiday card.  Tropical Smoothie has you covered there too – click here for a variety of gift card choices.
  • Connecting:  You might consider using a service like SendOutCards to get your holiday cards taken care of. Or, instead of stuffing and addressing envelopes, use that time to pick up the phone and connect voice-to-voice instead. Or take a break from your holiday shopping and meet a friend for lunch.

With a little creativity and communication, you could have one of the most memorable holidays with less on your ‘to do’ list and minimal stress. Now that’s the start of a great tradition!