Permission Granted :: Making the Holidays Our Own

I’ve always loved the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, from holiday parties to tree lightings to holiday markets. If it’s holiday themed, I am HERE. FOR. IT! I always knew that when I had a child, my excitement for this time of year would only be amplified. Now that I have a 3-year-old who is more aware of this season, I feel a little intimated making our own holiday traditions. This is the assignment I’ve been waiting for! But there’s also some pressure to make it feel perfect for her.

There are the traditions that I’ve grown up with and the ones my husband had growing up. We both enjoyed having real Christmas trees in our homes, but as an adult I just see it as another thing to keep alive and it’s super messy. My father-in-law is known for his holiday cookies. Though I love to bake, it’s going to take me some time to perfect the array of holiday cookies that stir up fond memories of my husband’s childhood. Personally, I have vivid memories of visiting the Enchanted Village as a child, yet my own child may find the old-timey Christmas feel boring.

It’s hard not to get swept up in the “holiday tradition” hype, though. Don’t get me started on the picture-perfect Instagram posts of tailored family PJs, snuggly cute outdoor gear with warm smiles, and the perfect holiday home decor — most of those photos are completely fake and staged, right?

So when I set aside the feelings of comparison and being perfect, I’m left with the one thing that means the most to me this season: making memories with my family.

My daughter just wants to feel loved and have fun. We may not make the best-looking Christmas cookies, but it gives my husband and I a chance to laugh at our lack of culinary skills and for our daughter to have too much frosting. We’ll decorate the (fake) tree together knowing our daughter is more likely to remove ornaments out of curiosity rather than actually help place any on.

Our artificial tree and less-than-perfect cookies won’t make this holiday season any less special for her.

I’m set on making this holiday season our own — imperfectly filled with joy. The beautifully curated Instagram posts or others’ expectations for what we should be doing are on the back burner.

I’m looking forward to taking a few things we enjoyed from our childhood Christmas memories and introducing them to our daughter in our own way. I’m also looking forward to making our own brand new traditions based on what feels right for our family. At the end of the day, more important than any picture-perfect photo opportunity or immaculately decorated tree or bakery-worthy cookies, we’re spending time together in love and laughter. Because that’s truly the spirit of this season.

Darcel Hunt-Finegold is a wife, mother, and life-long Bostonian. Her life passions are education and fitness. She is a proponent of public education and works as a high school teacher in the Boston Public Schools. Darcel's own personal health journey inspired her to earn a personal training and group fitness certification as well as create her brand, “Living the QuoBreaking Life.” She encourages women to step out of their comfort zone to create life by their design via mindset and fitness. Darcel loves to run, hike, cook brunch, and discover new places in the New England area with her daughter, husband, and Pomeranian, Brady.