As I shared in last year’s post about our Palm Tree Christmas – things are just different here in the tropics. Yes, obviously, we don’t have snow (well, besides on the top of Mauna Kea). I think the lack of fluffy white outside allows the holidays to sneak up on you because there’s not something physical falling out of the sky to cue our minds ❄︎
Although, that’s actually not the most significant thing I notice! It’s that traditions are different here, the feeling is different — I feel almost like I’m looking through a window at the rest of the world as they cozy up + enjoy the season!
While in Kaua’i, I felt anything but “in the spirit” and came home with sort of a heavy heart. Seeing many beautiful images on my social feeds of gifts under the tree, mantles decorated and festivities underway made me feel like I was grazing over the holidays!
The home we’re renting is currently in the process of renovation to be placed on the market so we didn’t quite deck the halls (hey! at least we have our darling tree up). We were supposed to be in Kaua’i the first week of December, leaving the following two weeks to finish up our holiday gifting — but as you read in my last post our trip was delayed to the second week of the month. This left me panicked upon our arrival home wondering, overwhelmed, How is it already Christmas?! (I’m sure you can relate in some way) Yep, the last minute scramble is on. Shipping parcels to far away family + friends, sending out client gifts (because our clients ROCK) and placing the stamps on our beloved Christmas cards before dropping them off. December has certainly whooshed by this year!
I felt overwhelmed and bogged down when we returned home. After much thought, I took a step back and noted that I was giving into comparison — which I teach our clients and share openly through my social channels about NOT GIVING IN TO!
So what our house wasn’t decorated to the nines? This year, we’ve focused on different aspects of our lives outside of our home. So what if we’re just sending off our holiday cards? I had them printed before we left and ran out of time. I’m human.
I took a moment, let go of the negative feelings I was having + made a mental list of the real, true, important things that I am thankful for. I tried to center myself in the joy of the season, acknowledging the special reasons to celebrate instead of the commercialized, hyped up parts. Then, I analyzed what I’m actually missing this holiday season + brainstormed ways to make the holiday week feel more festive ❄︎
One of the main things I’ve been craving + haven’t made time for: TRADITION! Old and new, little things that we bring about each year to get in the festive mood and connect with our loved ones are so important. It’s been oddly dreary here in Kona so I put on some cozy clothes, blasted Christmas music, poured myself a cup of bulletproof coffee and got to work!
This year, I thought I’d share a few of our traditions and would love to hear about some of yours. . .
✴︎ Sending out Christmas cards — Even though we’re not married, we have sent out Christmas cards for the past five years (including this year). Since our families and friends are scattered all over the world, we like showing them we’re there even though miles separate us. I’ve always loved receiving cards around this time and it’s really fun to look back at each year’s card to think about where we were that year ❤
Something fun: I designed our cards this year! The image of us on the bus is one of our favorites from 2016 (taken on our trip to O’ahu and was then shared in Hawai’i Magazine) and once we selected this photo I had a vision and decided to create our own card ✨ Have you ever made your own (digitally or by hand)? The ones in the top right corner are by Kercia Jane.
✴︎ Keeping it casual — When some think of Christmas, they think cozy matching pajamas and slippers. Since I grew up without siblings, I tend to associate dressy clothes with the holidays since we were always having dinner parties and festive shindigs where we dressed up. Though last year and this year have been all about being comfortable. A simple white tee + some comfy blue jeans like these I’m wearing from Old Navy win over a fancy cocktail dress for me!
✴︎ Decorating the tree — Growing up, my mother collected ornaments from all over the world. Some were from my parents travels and some were gifts from close friends. This made it so exciting to decorate the tree and hear stories about where each was from! Although Aaron + I don’t exactly collect ornaments, we’ve picked up a few tropical ones since living in Hawai’i and loved hanging them up on our tree!
✴︎ Drying Citrus — Started this last year + loved it! The process is so much fun and the finished product is just beautiful! You can hang the dried citrus slices on your tree, in your garland or use them to decorate presents. Here are the instructions I used from Free People!
✴︎ Diffusing Christmas Spirit — YUM! This oil is like Christmas in a bottle. I’m not a big candle person because of the toxins but I love my essentials oils. This little blend is a holiday favorite of mine!
✴︎ Wrapping presents — Wrapping has always been big in my family. My uncle is known for his dazzling present toppers and my mum always did a beautiful job with different papers + tags. It’s something I love to continue + celebrate! Be sure to recycle your paper afterwards and buy recycled wrapping paper if possible! Here are some of my favorites I’ve seen this year: here, here, + here.
✴︎ Baking — Gathering in the kitchen with your loved ones is one of the most special parts of this season. Especially when delicious cookie batter is involved ;) We always bake up something delicious — whether it’s my grandmother’s persimmon pudding recipe, a new recipe like this one or a classic gingerbread cookie batch – baking is one tradition I always look forward to!
✴︎ Giving experience gifts — I’m going to give Aaron credit for this one. Since I started dating him, we’ve always been a ‘experience gift’ couple. By that, I mean that rather than always giving physical gifts, we gift each other experiences like: a hot air balloon ride, a spa day, a weekend trip to our favorite mountain lodge, airfare to a new place, a night of dance lessons, etc.
As long as I’m alive, this is a tradition I will celebrate + continue! ✴︎
This holiday season, no matter where you are, I encourage you to not compare your life to others. There is a lot of life to live, things to cherish and traditions to be celebrated during this season (and always). Focus on the feeling of your holidays. On the people with which you are surrounding yourself. And the traditions you are upholding (or creating) — from my heart to yours, happy holidays ✨
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This post was brought to you by Old Navy. All opinions, thoughts + perspectives are my own!