Tis the Season: A Thailand Christmas and a New Holiday Perspective

Today’s Tis the Season post comes from Britta of  It’s a Britta Bottle!


A Thailand Christmas and a New Holiday Perspective

One of my absolute favorite Christmas memories is a relatively recent one, in what some might see as a most unconventional location.

The Setting: A shopping mall, Bangkok, Thailand

The Event: Christmas Ice Skating

The Players: A group of Western English teachers

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A visual image of the scenario

Christmas in Thailand! Say what! Continue reading

Tis the Season: Holiday Artwork by Rachel Finegan

Today’s post comes from my friend, Rachel, who is a fantastic artist.  While not a blogger, I asked if she would like to feature some of her Christmas-themed work and she generously agreed.  She also gave me a short statement about what the holiday season means to her, which I have included below.

If you’re interested in seeing more of Rachel’s art, you can follow her Facebook page or follow her Instagram account, illustrachel.


I was thinking about the post idea, ‘What does the holiday season mean to you?’

It’s cheesy but, to me, Christmas means the promise of light in the darkness, and hope when all seems lost. I like that we celebrate Christmas in one of the coldest, darkest, bitterest points in the year; because to me, we celebrate that light and life will come again, and the darkness will be just a memory.

wreath Continue reading

Calling Holiday Guest Bloggers!

It’s that time of year again!  Although the retail world has been celebrating Christmas for a month already, the arrival of December means that the holidays are just around the corner.

This year, I’m excited to announce the return of what is becoming one of my favorite holiday traditions: Tis the Season.

Every year on my blog, I do a week-long series in the days leading up to Christmas.  In it, I share family traditions, stories, favorite songs, and discuss what the holidays mean to me.  I did most of the writing in year one and, last year, I was joined by some wonderful guest bloggers.

This will be year three of Tis the Season and I am really looking forward to what the series has in store.

I would like to invite you, reader, to join me!  This time of year is all about togetherness, so what better way to celebrate than by bringing in guest bloggers?

Tis the Season this year will go from December 19-25.  My vision for the series is to have a post for each day.  Ideally, I will write one post and guests (yes, you!) will write the others.  If interest is high, I am all for making the series longer or putting up mulitple posts in one day.

It’s really easy to get involved!  All you have to do is send me an email or leave a comment on this post.  Then, it’s up to you to write your guest post.  Possibilities are limitless, but keep it holiday-themed.  I’ve got a list of prompts/ideas at the end of this post to help get your brain churning.

 

Please email me your post with a link to your blog by December 15.  This leaves me plenty of time to organize and format everything.  If you want any photos included, send those along as well.  Send emails to keepyourfeetblog@gmail.com.  I’ll include a link to your blog and any other social media in the final post, so if you’re looking to get your site out there, this is a great opportunity!

Post Ideas:

  • What holiday do you celebrate?
  • What does the holiday season mean to you?
  • What are some of your favorite holiday memories?
  • What are your favorite holiday traditions?
  • What are your favorite holiday songs, movies, etc.?
  • What is the best gift you’ve ever given/received?

I’m so excited to see what you all come up with and share the holiday season with you!

Tis the Season Guest Post: “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

Today’s Tis the Season post comes from another special guest!  Join me in welcoming Tori from Between the Notes as she shares about her family’s Christmas this year in light of financial challenges.  I really love her honesty and determination to enjoy the simplicity of Christmas.  Thank you so much, Tori, for contributing!


“Christmas will be a little smaller this year,” my mother said.

Still sleep deprived after my busiest week of the semester, I was home for Thanksgiving and my mother and I were in the car running errands. It was my last visit home as a college student. Since I had started college a few years earlier, my family had made sacrifices and cut back on expenses to ensure that my tuition was covered. By this point, I was accustomed to doing things on a smaller scale.

However, things are different for my family this year.

In 2015, we have had more expenses than usual, many of them unexpected. My grandfather’s health has been declining since the spring, and there have been bills for doctor’s visits, medication, and home care nurses. This summer, there were car problems that took several weeks and several hundred dollars to repair. Last month, our heat stopped working and our washing machine leaked all over the den – on the same day.

With an expensive year nearly behind us, we are quite literally having ourselves a merry “little” Christmas, and that’s okay.

Having a scaled-back Christmas means that we aren’t hosting any big events or buying lots of gifts. The few gifts we give will be inexpensive, or “little tokens,” as my grandmother calls them. In fact, our Christmas is so small this year that we still haven’t put up our tree, although that’s mainly because the den is still a mess. When we’ve finished wrapping our little tokens, they may have to go in a pile under my measly Charlie Brown Christmas tree, which may be the only tree that goes up this year.

All my life, I’ve heard that the holiday season isn’t about material things. It’s the time of year to celebrate the birth of Christ, give back, give thanks, and enjoy time with loved ones. This year, I’m fully experiencing what that means. I’m in a position in which I can’t focus on material things, which has allowed me to focus on the things that do matter. This is my first Christmas as a college graduate and I am thankful for God’s faithfulness and provision through that season of my life, which was not the easiest. I am cherishing the time with my family, especially my grandfather, because I don’t know how many more Christmases I’ll have with him. I have found joy in making things for friends and family, as most of the gifts I’m giving this year are homemade. I am also making an effort to help others and give to those in need. In turn, I’ve realized how much I don’t need. And though my mother’s words were initially hard to accept, I am so grateful for my family’s little Christmas.

So have yourself a merry little Christmas. My family and I will – even if we have to spend Christmas morning beside a Charlie Brown tree.

charlie brown tree - merry little christmas


Tis the Season is an annual holiday-themed series on Keep Your Feet.  The goal is to bring the blogging community together to celebrate holiday memories and traditions.

Tis the Season Guest Post: “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”

Today’s Tis the Season post comes from a special guest! Join me in welcoming Shannon from If You Captured Your Life in Snapshots, What Would it Look Like?.  She was kind enough to share her favorite holiday traditions.  I love her list and hope you do to!  Thank you so much, Shannon, for contributing!


 

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Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year. There’s just something so magical about the season that no matter what part of the world you live in, the goodwill is infectious.

From the moment you spot that first snowflake or that first piece of tinsel, you’re grinning like a kid on Christmas Day. The first Christmas carol in December has you humming under your breath all day and the moment Advent starts, you start begging your mom and favorite aunt to sneak you some sweets. Christmas cheer is all around and you can’t help but pass it on.

For me, the best part of Christmas has always been the traditions. There are those that have been observed in your family for generations (like Midnight Mass or making boxes of sweets to send to your neighbors), those that seem more habit than tradition (like not hanging your decorations until the last weekend of Advent) and then there are those that you decide to adopt for one Christmas.

No matter what traditions you decide to follow, each of those little traditions adds something to the festive magic of the season. Each tradition makes the season infinitely more special and unique to you.

Some of my favorite Christmas traditions are:

  1. Decorating my house on 23rd – That one day when everyone steps out of their bustling lives and gathers together to decide how the house should look
  2. Advent Calendar – This is one tradition my Mom drummed into me when I was younger. Our calendar didn’t just count down the days to Christmas but worked as a Good Deed checklist as well. We got to choose what image we wanted to draw for calendar – stockings, candles, holly etc. If you did a good deed for that day, you got to color that day’s image in. Two good deeds equaled two colors for that day and so on and so forth.
  3. Cuddling up in front of the TV to watch Home Alone 2 – This is one of my Dad’s favorite Christmas movies
  4. Taking a walk around the neighborhood to admire the decorations, the lights, the community cribs etc.
  5. Last minute shopping – Even though I finish my Christmas shopping months before, I love browsing through the shops for last minute small gifts. You never know what treasures you may spot through the bustle 🙂
  6. Getting ready for Midnight Mass – If you have any siblings, you’d probably understand the attraction. There’s something about the craziness of that moment when everyone’s scrambling to get presentable that endears itself to me. It’s a moment for excitement, for confusion, for gossip, for resolutions and for good cheer.
  7. Sleeping under the Christmas tree – This one needs no explanation. There’s nothing better than watching those vibrant hues dance above you as you slowly drift off, comfy cozy under a warm blanket.

What are some of you favorite Christmas traditions?


Tis the Season is an annual holiday-themed series on Keep Your Feet.  The goal is to bring the blogging community together to celebrate holiday memories and traditions.

Calling Holiday Guest Bloggers

Last year in the week leading up to Christmas, I did a short series of posts titled Tis the Season.  I shared family traditions, stories, favorite songs, and discussed what the holidays mean to me.

I’d like to make this an annual tradition, but there’s a catch: I can’t do it alone.

The planning, organizing, and writing for Tis the Season took a lot more work than I was expecting.  The whole series was done on a whim, with me making things up on the spot.  I didn’t mind the work–besides hanging out with family, I didn’t have anything better to do with my holiday break.

But, this year, I just don’t have time.  In addition to all the holiday decorating, baking, and family time, I have a job, am going to a week-long conference in St. Louis the day after Christmas, and am leaving the country on January 8.  When Tis the Season time comes around, my hands are pretty much full.

That’s where you come in.  I’d love to see Tis the Season grow into something bigger than Keep Your Feet.  The holiday season is all about togetherness, so what better way to celebrate than bring in a bunch of guest bloggers?

Tis the Season this year will go from December 18-24.  I’d love to have a post for each day, which means I need at least 7 contributors.  If more people are interested, I’m all for making the series longer or putting up multiple posts a day.

It’s really easy to get involved!  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post, letting me know you want to participate.  Then, it’s up to you to write a guest post!  Possibilities are limitless, but keep it holiday themed.  I’ve got a list of prompts/ideas at the end of this post to help get your brain churning.

Please email me your post with a link to your blog by December 15.  This leaves me plenty of time to organize and format everything.  If you want any photos included, send those along as well.  Send emails to keepyourfeetblog@gmail.com.  I’ll include a link to your blog in the final post, so if you’re looking to get your blog out there, this is a great opportunity!

Post Ideas:

  • What holiday do you celebrate?
  • What does the holiday season mean to you?
  • What are some of your favorite holiday memories?
  • What are your favorite holiday songs, movies, etc.?
  • What is the best gift you’ve ever given/received?

Again, comment if you want to be involved!  I’m so excited to see what you all come up with and share the holiday season with you!

Tis the Season Day 5: A Shift in Focus (Guest Post by Britta!)

Welcome to Day 5 of Tis the Season!  Today, I’m honored to feature a guest post by the wonderful Britta of What’s Past is Prologue!  Although I don’t know her very well, I’m over-the-moon in love with her blog and so pleased to have her contribute to my Christmas series.  If you’re looking for new blogs to read, definitely stop by her blog!  Here comes the post…

Christmas 2014: A Shift in Focus

Hello there, everyone! In case you don’t know, I’m Britta; Amelia and I go to the same little college out on the prairie together. When I started up my blog a short while ago, she was one of my first followers and I always look forward to her own posts. So, it’s my pleasure to be contributing to Keep Your Feet’s “Tis the Seasons” series.

The holidays have always been a magical time for me. I love the traditions, being able to spend time with family, the overall cheer. I love how we are able to take the darkest time of the year and give so much beauty and light to it. There is something so undeniably special and comforting about that.

Despite all this, despite my love for the holiday season, I have to admit—I’m not feeling the holiday spirit at all this year. Last year at this time, I was so excited for Christmas I could hardly stand it. I listened to Christmas music non-stop in the days leading up to the end of fall semester. It was without a doubt my study music of choice pretty much every day. I looked forward to seeing family, to continuing the long lasting Christmas traditions we have, to having time off from school and basking in all the holiday cheer.

This year though? Not so. For some reason, my holiday cheer has been increasingly lacking in a way I can’t even really properly describe. I’ve been listening to Christmas music on and off, though certainly not with the same zeal that came with last year’s holiday season. The Christmas tree at home with all the presents underneath it is certainly beautiful, but it doesn’t conjure up the same feelings of excitement that it used to give me in the past. Today my mom and I made Christmas cookies—okay, well, truthfully she did all of the baking and I just helped with decorations and such. Usually, I am over the moon to contribute to this time-honored tradition—today? I couldn’t have been less excited. Even decorating the tree—one of my absolute favorite traditions—wasn’t as fun this year. This year, all these traditions that I usually love so much just seem more like chores to me than anything else.

Hold it, hold it! What kind of addition to “Tis the Season” is this? This is supposed to be all about the beauty and joy of the holiday season and you claim to be lacking all of that right now! What the heck?

Yes, you may be asking these questions right about now. In fact, I completely understand if you are. This certainly wasn’t the post I set out to write when I initially told Amelia I was interested in writing a guest post. I realized yesterday while I was trying to write that initial post that, while it probably would have been cheery, bright, and funny, it wouldn’t have been in line with my current feelings; my initial post idea would have felt cheap and dishonest.

To appease any uncertainties that might be had with this, I promise that I’m about to get to what I hope will be a meaningful point here, so just bear with me.

I don’t want anyone to get the idea that I’m being a Scrooge this year. It’s not that I’m not thankful for this holiday season. I really, truly do love all the joy and happiness that the holidays bring with them. The fact that Christmas comes around every year is quite comforting, really. It’s not that I hate Christmas or am dreading in it anyway; that is not the case at all. More so, I’m just filled with less excitement than I usually am.  During my busy semester that just wrapped up, I blamed my lack of excitement on my stress and exhaustion; however, I don’t think that’s what’s really going on.

You know what I think? I think I’m growing up.

Okay, that might sound cheesy, but it’s true. 2015 will be a year of big transitions for me as I graduate from college and move out into the real world. I think a lot of my disinterest in Christmas this year is simply coming from the fact that I’m more concerned with what’s ahead; my priorities have shifted as I look for meaning in myself and in my future. An appreciation for the time honored traditions that I love so much have been dampened with this shift in focus.

Despite my lack of excitement, I still want to make the most of this Christmas season. The traditions I usually love so much aren’t what’s most important, anyways. More so, I want to make sure I spend this holiday season the right way with the people who matter most. I want to let those people know how much they mean to me. To me, the holidays are really about  with family and friends, appreciating each other, and making special and long-lasting memories. They are about looking back on the year and being thankful for all the good times, for looking ahead with hope to the New Year.

There is so much beauty in this time of year; I am still very much aware of that and I am very thankful for that. A lack of holiday cheer doesn’t necessarily mean this holiday season will be any less enjoyable for me; it just means I’ll have to approach it differently.

Different can be good. I’m going to try to make the most of that.