From the Farm:

Our Guide to Stress-Free Holiday Happiness

‘Tis the season for merriment, good tidings, cheer, and… “Oh no I forgot to defrost the ham!” The fun of the holidays can disappear rather quickly when it all starts to feel like work. From balancing delicate family relationships, to entertaining the masses, to ensuring Santa’s deliveries make it safely under the tree in time for Christmas morning – it’s a lot! For those moments when you find yourself or your crew struggling to soak up the spirit of the season, we’re sharing our best bets for untangling your tinsel. Here’s to making it merry and bright and sparking the magic of a truly Merry Christmas!

Establish a Tradition

There is no shortage of Polar Express trains to ride or mall Santas to visit. If you were to do it all, your December to-do list would surely overflow into the New Year. But after all that coming and going, what will stand out as the special Christmas memory your family will cherish for years to come? Instead of cramming all the festive outings into an already bustling month, try adopting one single family tradition that can become your family’s signature holiday observance. Among our Nature Nate’s friends’ favorites are hot chocolate in the car while viewing the neighborhood lights, an at-home screening of “A Christmas Carol” with popcorn, and good old-fashioned cookie decorating. Feel free to use our Paleo and Gluten-Free Honey Gingerbread dough recipe to establish your family’s favorite new Christmas ritual.

Spice Things Up

Who’s the resident scrooge in your crew? There’s always one that needs a little extra boost getting into the joy of Christmas. If ho-hum Hallmark movies and Christmas Carols aren’t sparking joy, up the anty with a family-wide cookie contest. A classic cookie exchange is a great option for the less competitive types, but for the added excitement of competition, encourage each nuclear family to take pride in their expertly crafted confections. Grandparents make great unbiased judges and can assign clever titles to each entry so that everyone feels recognized. Some of our competition category ideas: “Best visual creativity,” “Most Foodie Flavor,” “Kid’s Choice,” etc. Put your best foot forward with these Paleo Snowballs. You can thank us later when you’ve taken home the inaugural gold medal.

A Motto to Keep Gifts Meaningful

In each household, there’s someone responsible for fulfilling the ever-growing wish lists, sneakily hiding the long-awaited gifts from prying eyes, wrapping them, and cleaning up the mess on Christmas morning. We’re taking a wild guess that this person in your house is you. If you or someone you know (we’ll blame Santa) struggles with going overboard on gifts, we suggest adopting the Four-Gift Rule. Stick with this simple guideline: Want, Read, Wear, Need. Everyone gets one gift that fits within these categories. Narrowing ideas down helps keep our online shopping carts in check and reminds us that the real reason for the season is not the presents at all, but our ability to be present.

Keep it Simple, Keep it Real

Until stocking stuffers and cookies can pass as sufficient long-term sustenance, we suppose some actual food must be provided at some point this holiday. If your crew expects Betty Crocker, you have two options: Tell them she went on vacation or keep it simple and delicious with make-ahead options like crockpot butternut and apple soup and overnight french toast. Download our free eBook for holiday hosting hacks you’ll be glad to have in your arsenal.

The true challenge of adulthood is tackling the busy to-do’s of a holiday while also truly savoring the memory-making moments. Whatever your plans are for this holiday season, we hope you are encouraged that all can be calm and bright.