My Ideal Holiday Season

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The holiday season is starting.  I don't know if you quite feel it yet, but the beginning of October marks it's arrival.  Soon all your weekends will be full and the holiday parties start, trust me.  Are you ready for it?

Stressed out and busy is not how I like to spend my time, ever, but especially not during the holidays when I should be enjoying myself.  So I'm taking some time right now to figure out what my ideal holiday season looks like, and I plan on living by that - prioritizing what I love and decluttering my to do list of the things that don't matter to me.  I like to do this each year as early as I remember, because it's much easier to say no to things and prioritize the important stuff than to try to assess your schedule when you're in the thick of it.


I love Halloween.  It's my favorite holiday.  So my holiday season definitely starts now, because I put up all sorts of Halloween decorations.  Yesterday actually marked the first day that John said I could start putting them up outside!  Because yes, they've been up inside our house since mid September.  Whatever, stores already have Christmas stuff out, and I'm the crazy one?  Anyway, the outdoor decor is starting to go up and I'm psyched.

The rest of October is jam packed already, but only with things I'm really looking forward to.  This coming weekend we're heading to Iowa for tailgating, the weekend after that is Fright Fest at Six Flags Great America, then the next weekend Tara is coming here for more tailgating for Iowa football, but at Northwestern.  We're also totally planning on going out after the game in Mean Girls costumes.  And the final weekend we'll be celebrating Halloween, probably at John's brother's apartment downtown, the Saturday before the actual holiday.  The holiday itself is more low-key, just handing out candy to trick-or-treaters while we watch Halloween movies.  We get a lot of kids stopping by.

Some time within this month I plan on carving pumpkins and watching a lot of football, and working on my fantasy team.  Something else I'm planning for October is to finalize my Christmas list.  I already know exactly what I'm getting each of my friends I still exchange gifts with, and the dogs of course, but my parents and John's family is a bit trickier.  I hate last minute shopping though, so I'm going to figure out that this month and then start looking for deals!

Other than that, I'm not adding anything else to my schedule unless it's Halloween related and sounds like it's tons of fun.  I've already got enough going on, so I'm not accepting any more party invites or even invites for drinks after work.  I'll be keeping my weekdays relaxed.  It doesn't match up with my ideal season - my ideal season would have those tailgating days spaced out more and we'd also host the party at our house - but it's pretty damn close.


Most people just have Thanksgiving to think about, but I also have my birthday.  Plus this year, John's furlough (21 days off in a row) covers most of November.  So first up, John and I are leaving for vacation on the 5th and we'll be off for 10 days.  We're taking the train to Vegas.  More on that later, but it will be fun and relaxing and I will have zero thoughts about work and it will be glorious.

As soon as we get back, my parents leave for Vegas themselves and I'll be pet sitting all the dogs.  They come back on my birthday so I'm sure there will be a birthday related dinner some time in there with them, but I'm not really planning anything because 33 isn't really a fun birthday to celebrate.  Even though it is my favorite number.

For Thanksgiving, my ideal is the usual - going out to eat with my parents and my friend Ida (she's been family since she moved here when we were little, pretty much!)  We used to cook, but my mom and I don't eat turkey, so it was a bust trying to cook all the traditional foods for just 3 people.  We'd end up eating super late because my dad could never cook his turkey right, and then there would be mountains of dishes to clean.  So then we started making Italian food, then we started just going out to eat at a place that had all the Thanksgiving foods plus a regular menu and started making Ida come with us, and now we've all been going to an Indian restaurant.  I much prefer eating out, no dishes!  And I love that it's just us 4, there's no drama.  John's family Thanksgiving is a huge production and I would hate every minute of it.  But it's good that I know that, because I can temper their expectations - Thanksgiving is one holiday party of theirs I've never attended, and they know that I never will.  They know it's not about not liking them, it's that I have my own parents and our own traditions that are important to me.  I feel no guilt about not attending and no stress about attempting to attend and making schedules work.  John and I are happy to split up on this day, no big deal!

As for that Friday, I don't go out to shop on Black Friday, or at all that weekend, but I do take advantage of the online sales for gifts and thing I truly need.  I prefer to veg out and spend those days off work relaxing around the house instead of worrying about shopping.  Actually last year I binge watched the Gilmore Girls Netflix special with my mom and Ida, and we did make a mid day stop over at Petco, but that was it.  I'm not planning anything for this year, just watching Iowa take on Nebraska from the comfort of my couch, and maybe scoring some deals if I see good online markdowns.  Bath and Body Works candles are usually something I hit up this weekend, it's one of their best prices on them all year.

I'm never super in love with the idea of travel and vacation, but John's excited about this one so it should be fun still.  The rest of my month is definitely what I would consider my ideal, so I'm not adding a thing.  


Everyone's busiest month of the year - Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's, it's just everything at once. I'm no exception.  This is generally the month where I have to say 'no' much more often.

I usually decorate for Christmas right around the time I have off for Thanksgiving. I love my tree, so it's the first thing to go up and I'm pretty particular about it.  We don't go as crazy with the Christmas decor as with Halloween, so it's much easier and faster.  I also want to plan a day to wrap presents in this month, and generally the shopping plan is to be done by December 1, or earlier if possible.

I don't have anything scheduled just yet, but usually at least one party comes up.  I try to limit how many I attend because I just don't have the time or energy.  As for the holiday, I just spend it at my parents house and usually Ida comes too.  We went out to eat two years ago but I think we cooked last year.  Either way, we keep it simple!  I don't go with John's extended family on Christmas day, it's too much.  I do go over to his parents' house on Christmas Eve, which is also his sister's birthday, before they go to evening mass, to exchange presents.  Nothing fancy, we just open gifts and have some beers.

I have a couple of things I need to check off the 101 in 1001 list at this time, because it's my last holiday season to do so.  I'm planning on wandering around on Michigan Avenue once it's all decorated and going to Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo to get those both checked off the list.  Another thing on the list is to have 12 days of giveaways here on the blog in December, so stay tuned for that!  But otherwise, I'm keeping any outings to a minimum so I can just enjoy my decorated house and watch tons of Christmas movies.

Tara will be in town for New Year's Eve, because we love that holiday.  Plus John is working at the firehouse so I need someone to hang out with.  I have no clue what we're planning on doing yet, because I'm torn between having a party or just going out to the bars nearby my house (which is not the same thing as going to the bars or hotels downtown where it's amateur hour and I get crabby at people who can't hold their liquor or keep shoes on their feet.)  Heading to a dive bar is the most efficient and less stressful option, which is what I might do.  Hosting a party is expensive and I don't really want to take that on right now because we have a ton of house things that need to be paid for in the early spring (a new $6,000 air conditioning unit and a $10,000 deck, to name just two.)  Everything we want and need to get done will be around $20,000 to $30,000 so saving instead of hosting is probably the best option!  As long as I get to watch news anchor Mark Giangreco get drunk on live TV, I'm a happy camper.  That's my ideal season right there!

What about you?  Have you thought about your ideal holiday season yet?  Do you know what you want to say no to so you can truly enjoy the things you love?

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1 comment

  1. I love the holiday season so much. The minute it hits October, I'm ready for Christmas though hahaha. I don't do much for Halloween but I do love watching the classic movies like Halloweentown and Tower of Terror (lol)