During holiday time, we at Water Gallery are no different than anyone else-- we are happy, energetic, exhausted, annoyed, filled with wonder, overwhelmed, simultaneously loving the season and wishing it could be over. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas...these wonderful holidays come in like a whirlwind, render us breathlessly busy for several weeks (hosting family gatherings, fulfilling glass drinkware and reusable glass bottle orders for customers, buying and wrapping gifts for the kiddos, endlessly searching for the best Christmas menu ideas and holiday food, and through it all trying to squeeze in that much-needed rest!).
We love it more than any other time of the year, but it's also a challenging time. We have found that the ONLY way to get through it all is to make a "to-do" list. The list must always encompass both the necessary and the enjoyable, the sentimental and the practical, the charitable and the (we'll just go ahead and say it) consumerist, the fun and the drudgery. A list is a must-have in order to manage both the craziness and the beauty of the season. So, without further ado, here's our list:
1) Since we are constantly thinking about food and it's such a source of joy in life, we want to come up with some new Christmas menu ideas. We are kind of "turkeyed-out" since Thanksgiving, so something like this fabulous Wild Mushroom Lasagna followed by this sumptuous Gingerbread Roll with Cinnamon Cream sounds divine!
2) Speaking of food, it's time to bake and decorate more cookies with our kids. It brings them (and us) so much joy and allows us to pause and enjoy the small moments with them.
3) Since our business is always at the top of our list in terms of priorities in life (alongside our children and protecting the natural environment), it's so important this holiday season (and always) for us to stay connected with our customers, respond to emails and social media comments quickly, and add those little extra touches to customers' orders, like hand-written cards upon request.
4) Donate to our school's Reach for the Stars program, a "shining star" wish list drive that grants wishes to young children suffering from cancer. Have our children choose the wishes they want to grant and talk to them about these incredibly brave kids who are fighting for their lives every day. It's so important to remind all kids that yes, the holidays represent a season of receiving, but more so of GIVING.
5) Holiday gatherings with friends and family are always times to make memories, so make them extra fun! One great way to do that is a hot cocoa bar, which we have already tried out this season. Recreate this lovely and oh-so-delicious hot cocoa bar that is always fun for kids and adults alike-- it's a guaranteed hit. Using our gorgeous Wyland Humpback Dance coffee mugs make it extra-special.
6) Think of friends, family, or colleagues who may be faced with extra challenges this holiday season. Make and deliver our delicious homemade lasagna to those who need a little TLC this year.
7) Keep the house clean and stay on top of it. It's so easy to let the clutter take over, with toys overflowing, dishes to do, kid craft projects encroaching upon living space...just make sure the craziness doesn't take on a life of its own. A cluttered house often results in a cluttered mind, so don't let it spin out of control.
8) Go on a holiday excursion up to incredible Portland, Oregon, one of our favorite cities!
9) Take the kids to see Santa at the Irvine Park Christmas Train, which is one of our yearly traditions and always a treat. No matter how busy life gets, we make time for it.
10) Craft more ornaments with the kids. Seeing what they create each year is such a special memory-maker and a symbol of their development and creativity as the years go by.
11) Send out holiday cards early! Don't wait until the last minute to stamp and address all the envelopes. It feels better to wish everyone a happy holiday from your family to theirs before the holidays are actually over!
12) Cuddle on the couch, listen to holiday music while cooking dinner at home, talk to the kids about what we have to be thankful for, and just overall, love one another. Life can be overwhelming; national and international news can make one despondent; time can feel both too slow and too fast, all at once...try to live in the moments and be grateful for the present day. From our family to yours, we wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season.