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Monthly Archives: December 2016

Four Lessons Learned From Our Thanksgiving Paint-cation

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Shortly after moving into our off-white-walled condo, Darrell and I decided to have a Paint-cation.  We wanted fun colors and faux finish on our walls without spending tons of money on hiring someone to do it.

As soon as we moved in, I kept talking about how we could – with no problem because I did it 15 years ago – paint and faux finish our small condo ourselves…so we decided to take the Thanksgiving holiday to do it!  (Luckily for us, my amazing mom hosted Thanksgiving dinner, so all we needed to do was to show up for a few hours).

Darrell and I spent four 16-hour days prepping and painting.  Here’s what I learned from our Thanksgiving Paint-cation.

Throwing my “hat over the wall” first…and THEN figuring out how to go get it actually does work!

John F. Kennedy made famous a story told by Irish writer Frank O’Connor, where he and his friends “would make their way across the countryside, and when they came to an orchard wall that seemed too high and too difficult to permit their voyage to continue, they would take off their hats and toss them over the wall – and then they had no choice but to follow them.”img_5511

We got our supplies, painted color samples on the wall, and picked our colors. 

Then I tested my faux finish technique… and it sucked!!!  Doubt crept in… should I have kept my mouth shut?  Should we have hired professionals?  Did I get us in over our heads?  Were we now papered and taped and all dressed up with no place to faux? 

Doubt is a familiar guest in my mental household, and by now it was having a party with friends.

So, fueled by the amount of time and money we already spent on this project – as well being committed to vibrant color on our walls – I gave IMG955589.jpgmyself a pep talk and set out to watch every Faux-Finish How To Video I could find!  I then practiced diligently on large planks of cardboard harvested from a big screen TV box in the dumpster.

After multiple attempts and lots of forgiveness, I mastered a technique that ended up turning our bedroom alive!  Purple is my favorite color, and ragging purple glaze over deeper purple base on the bedroom walls was probably the most fun I ever had painting anything!

I committed blindly and without knowing all the particulars…and found a way to get to the result.

When I “play first” and take risks, I make mistakes and doubt shows up.  It’s par for the course.  The faster I forgive myself (and thank the doubts for sharing), the more fun I have. 

Taping is the most boring part of any painting project.  I thought it would take me half a day to tape out our place before starting to paint.

On the contrary, it took three times that amount…hours and hours of tedious, never-ending, detailed, and annoying work.  It delayed the start of our actual PAINT-cation by 2 days! IMG955581.jpg

The ever-present self-critic reared its ugly head again in this case as well. It said “You should have known better.  You messed up the schedule.  How in the world will we get it done on time now?”

I’ve learned to unlearn all that built this inner critic: the childhood pressures to be good, look good, be nice, do things right.  So, I set out to forgive, forgive, forgive…and kept my fingers working.

In The Back Forty we “play first”: GO FOR IT without having everything worked out or having all the answers ahead of time.  Figure it out as we go.  So that’s what I did.  And, though it didn’t fit my preconceived pictures or timeline, it all DID get done anyway!

Get out of my head and go play!

Sunday afternoon, I found myself standing in the middle of the living room, with glaze in one hand and a sea sponge in the other, about to start another faux experiment that would shape the whole experience for people walking into our home…when once again I was paralyzed by my frequent visitor – doubt!

“What if I mess it up? I did the bedroom ok, but everyone sees the living room. Should I use the rag here too since I know how to use it better, even though we wanted to sponge for a different effect? Oh my god, what did I get myself into!!!” 

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Then, just when I could use some outside-voice interruption, Darrell said: “Don’t worry about it, babe.  We’re doing this for us.  Have fun.  Go play with it.”

Something shifted on a dime.  The wall became a playground with the glaze and sponge simply toys.  I became an artist playing with color, moving along the wall with my sponge to the beat of the music playing.  I became an artiste’!

When in doubt, add glitter!

Our rooms are fairly small as we bought the place for the high-rise view of the ocean, not the size.  By choice, the colors on our walls are rather deep, which can close down a smaller room even more.

At some point in the middle of our project, a dear friend suggested that we add painter’s sparkle to the walls for added effect and to make the rooms feel lighter. IMG_5517.jpg

Sparkles!!!  I had never heard of painter’s sparkle, but you didn’t need to ask me twice.  A little research – again thanks to YouTube How Tos – and a trip to the hardware store resulted in Darrell with his roller adding a coat of sparkle on top of the paint in both rooms.

Sparkle on our walls was the best unexpected outcome of our Paint-cation…and I get a twinkle every time I see what our Thanksgiving Paint-cation taught me.

The point of it all: In our second half of life, it is so easy to not take risks, not play first, and stay in our easy, well-worn comfort zones of doubt, second-guessing and need to “look good.”  Yet, I find that I get the most juice in life when I DO step out, take risks, and play first ANYWAY.

That’s what makes my second half of life radical and passionate…and results in a radically, beautifully painted condo – with faux and sparkle to show!

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30 Songs to Get You Into The Holiday Spirit

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With Christmas right around the corner, I would like to share with you some of my favorite holiday songs.

Click on the video below to listen to my top 30 songs to get you into the holiday spirit!

Or, if you would like to find the music on your own, here is a list of the 30 songs included in the above playlist.

  1. Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer – Ella Fitzgerald
  2. Holly Jolly Christmas – Michael Bublé
  3. Rockin Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
  4. Let it Snow! – Dean Martin
  5. White Christmas – Bing Crosby
  6. 4 Carats – Kelly Clarkson
  7. Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Dean Martin
  8. Welcome Christmas – How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  9. Mistletoe – Colbie Caillat
  10. Mistletoe And Holly – Frank Sinatra
  11. Somewhere In My Memory – John Williams
  12. We Need A Little Christmas – “Mame” the Musical
  13. Frosty The Snowman – Jimmy Durante
  14. Oh Santa! – Mariah Carey
  15. Little Saint Nick – The Beach Boys
  16. Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms
  17. I Can’t Wait for Christmas – Mindi Abair
  18. Hey Santa – Ashanti
  19. Grown Up Christmas List – Michael Bublé
  20. Good King Wenceslas – Bing Crosby
  21. The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole
  22. Christmas Lights – Coldplay
  23. Christmas in America – Melissa Etheridge
  24. The 12 Days Of Christmas – Straight No Chaser
  25. I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas – Gayla Peevey
  26. Santa Baby! – Eartha Kitt
  27. All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
  28. Last Christmas – Wham!
  29. I’ll Be Home For Christmas – Doris Day
  30. Mary, Did You Know? – Pentatonix

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How to Perfectly Wrap Presents this Year

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It’s that time of year again, the time of year when you are buying gifts for your loved ones. But then, there’s the wrapping.

When I was a child, my mother instilled in me the importance of wrapping presents beautifully. She said that by wrapping something well, you were showing that you cared about the receiver of your gift.

For years I frustratedly learned the art of wrapping the perfect package, all the while wishing that I could just wrap the gifts quickly and throw on a pre-made bow or (gasp!) put a present in a gift bag like my father and brother often did. But now that I am grown I find myself appreciating the knowledge that my mother passed down to me. These days I feel that well-wrapped presents under the tree are accents that are just as important as all of the other decorations around my home.

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My home at Christmastime.

So today I will share my knowledge with you and teach you the art of wrapping the perfect present and, even more importantly, the elusive perfect bow!

Let’s start with wrapping the gift.20161214_093350

You will need your gift in a box, wrapping paper, a pair of scissors, tape and ribbon.

roll.jpgUnroll your wrapping paper and set your gift on top of the unrolled paper. There is a trick for cutting the perfect amount of paper. Roll your box across the paper 4 times (one time for each side of the box). This will give you the perfect amount of paper for the front and back side of your package. For the sides, make sure you have about 3/4 of the height of the package worth of paper on each side of the square.

Cut your paper to the correct size. Once you have your paper ready, turn your package upside down so the back of the package is facing up. 20161214_093803

Fold over the edge of your wrapping paper that will be on top when wrapping to make sure that you have a clean edge showing instead of your ragged cut edge. Fold the paper and hold together with a piece of tape.

20161214_093845Now for the sides. The trick is to crease all of your edges (I use the back of my fingernail against the ground and corners of the box). First, fold down the top and crease the sides. Then repeat the same on the sides and then the bottom. Fold the bottom up and secure with a piece of tape (or two).

Now you are ready for your bow!

The bow is a bit more complicated so I created the below infographic for your convenience. Grab your ribbon and let’s get started!

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present.pngAt this point, you should have a beautifully wrapped package to give to a loved one. It might have taken a few tries but it will all be worth it when your loved one says “Wow! Did you wrap this?”

Congratulations!

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Expert Tip #4: Re-Evaluate Your Life

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Somewhat similarly to last week’s tip (Take Stock of Your Gifts & Talents), I have a question to ask you. When was the last time you actually sat down to think of your values?

I seriously doubt that anyone in midlife can say that they hold the same values as they did in their 20s, or even their 30s. Taking time to clearly lay out your values that have shifted as you have gained more life experience will make it possible for you to succeed at whatever you choose to do next.

If you hold onto values simply because that’s what you’ve always believed, you are setting yourself up for failure by relying on obsolete belief systems.

In many ways, life helps us discover our current priorities by using our most recent values. Therefore, don’t let your current and future opportunities and priorities be sabotaged by sticking to outdated priorities.

Come back next week for Pro Tip #5 and remember that you control where your life goes next!

See other tips here!

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This Midlife Crisis is Just a Game: Want to Play?

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Today I bring you some amusement from the past.

Behold, Mid-Life Crisis, the game!

Nearly 35 years ago, in 1982, this game graced the board game shelves. Its tagline was “can you survive your mid-life crisis without cracking up, breaking up, or going broke?”

The game was produced in California by The Game Works, Inc in 1982 and was re-released in 1993. According to an article in The New York Times from 1993, the original version of the game sold 700,000 copies. I’m not sure when it went out of production, but it definitely is not easy to find today. It takes about an hour to play, requires 4-6 players, and is only intended for people over the age of 18.

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Each game came with the above certificate.

So, how do you play?

The objective of the game was simply to make it through your midlife with more money, less stress, and fewer divorce points than the other players, and (most importantly) to avoid having to declare a mid-life crisis where you go broke, get divorced, or crack up before the game is over.

To start the game, each player is given a score card and a pawn to place on start. Each player starts the game with a career, $25,000, 500 stress points, and a marriage. To play, each player rolls the die, moves forward the respective number of spaces, and follows the direction on whichever space they land on. Each space can either add or subtract stress points, award or take away money, add or subtract divorce points, or have you use a crisis card or zap card.

An example of a Zap Card:

“PANIC – Your period is late. Go to Doctor and SUBTRACT $1,000 or have the child and ADD 300 STRESS POINTS.”

Basically, crisis cards are things that happen to you and zap cards are things you can make happen to other players. There are also special spaces including career spaces, retreats, and passage spaces.

An example of a Crisis Card:

“Your spouse keeps telling the kids that you are going through the change. Deny everything, talk about personal growth and self exploration. ADD 200 STRESS POINTS.”

When you land on a career space, you must pay the designated amount of money to the player who has that career. Retreats are the 3 big spaces in the middle of the board and they are the spaces you are sent to if you lose your mind, get divorced, or go broke. If you have over 1,500 stress points, you are required to go to Crack-up Ranch for “therapy”. If you get 3 divorce points you have to go to Divorce Gulch to attempt to reconcile with your spouse. If you go bankrupt, you must go to Bankrupt City where you basically become a homeless person begging for change.

The passage spaces are spaces that you cannot skip over. If you roll a 5 and there is a passage space 3 spaces ahead, you must stop there. These spaces make it possible for other players to force a crisis onto you.

The winner is the person with the most money. Each zap card, 100 stress points, or divorce point is equal to $1,000 that you must deduct from your total amount of money at the end of the game.

So, what do you think? Would you survive your midlife crisis?

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The Best Gift Ideas for Everyone On Your List

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Do you find yourself still searching for the perfect holiday gifts? Are you realizing that Christmas is less than a week away and getting worried?

Don’t fear, I’ve taken the time to do a little research for you. I found something for everyone on your list. Look through the list below and find your perfect gift!

For the:

  • Fitness Enthusiast

    • Something Thoughtful: Sport Bottle Blender – This gift is a great idea for anyone on your list who is constantly blending up fitness shakes and smoothies. You just put the ingredients into your sport bottle, put your sport bottle on the blender base, and you’re done!3-bulu-box-animation
    • Something Unique: Monthly Health Product Subscription Box – The Bulu box brings new workout products to your present recipient’s door each month. This is perfect for someone who is always looking for the  next big thing!
    • Something Useful: HydraCoach Intelligent Water Bottle – This water bottle will put all other water bottles to shame! It will actually calculate your personal hydration needs, track your fluid consumption through the day, pace you to ensure hydration goals are met, motivate you to stay properly hydrated, and enhance your strength and endurance.
  • Globe Trotter

    • Something Thoughtful: Collapsible Water Bottle – Regardless of if they are roughing it or traveling in style, this is the perfect gift for any traveler you know. By making it collapsible, it takes up less space and is easy to take through airport security.map.JPG
    • Something Unique: Scratch Map – This map is a must for any true globe trotter. As they travel to new locations, they can scratch off that part of their map so they will always remember where their travels have taken them.
    • Something Useful: TSA Pre-Check Membership – For anyone who flys regularly, this is a godsent gift. Waiting in the security line is the worst, but for just $85 your traveler can skip the line for 5 whole years. They will thank you, I promise.
  • Perfect Host(ess) & Cook

    • Something Thoughtful: Wooden Cheese Picks – These picks are the perfect addition to any host’s collection. Place the picks in their corresponding cheeses to let guests know what is being offered.smoker
    • Something Unique: Handheld Food Smoker – Does your cook love the flavor of smoked meats, cheeses, and more? This handheld food smoker makes it possible to give anything you prepare a smokey taste without the long smoking process.
    • Something Useful: Oven-To-Table Entertaining Platter – This soapstone platter can be heated or chilled to keep your host’s dishes at the perfect temperature for serving.
  • Sports Fan

    • Something Thoughtful:  “Sportproof” Earbuds – These are perfect for sports fans who like to play as well as watch sports. These “sportproof” earbuds are sweatproof and bluetooth so that nothing will slow down your sports fan.sweaters
    • Something Unique: Try Uncommon Goods – I’m not going to try to pick a single item for this category. However, this page on uncommongoods.com is perfect for any sports fan. Regardless of if your fan is into football, hockey, baseball, or skiing, there is guaranteed to be something unique here!
    • Something Useful: Favorite NFL Team Ugly Christmas Sweater – If your sports fan is into football, this is a perfect gift. All you need to do is pick out their favorite team. This is especially useful for people who will be attending Ugly Christmas Sweater parties this season.
  • Businessman

    • Something Thoughtful: Rosewood Cufflinks – These handmade cufflinks can help your businessman stay in touch with nature while staying in the office, plus they are just plain stylish.smart-watch
    • Something Unique: Samsung Smartwatch – This watch is truly unique. Not only is it stylish, but you can also take phone calls, pay for items, track your fitness, find directions, and more with just this watch.
    • Something Useful: Handheld Luggage Scale – This is a perfect gift for anyone who has to travel regularly for work. It is the worst feeling to get to the airport and be told that you will need to pay an extra $50 because your luggage is 51 pounds instead of the maximum 50 pounds. This handheld luggage scale is easy to take with when traveling and will prevent your businessman from ever having to pay extra luggage fees again.
  • Artist

    • Something Thoughtful: Felt Succulent Kit – This is a fun (and beautiful) craft kit to spruce up anyone’s home. It includes everything your artist needs to make 18 felt succulent plants.3D Pen.JPG
    • Something Unique: 3D Printing Pen – This pen quite literally makes it possible for your artist to draw sculptures out of thin air. This is a wonderful gift that will be a guaranteed hit for anyone who loves art.
    • Something Useful: Heated Hand Massager – Anyone who spends a large amount of time creating art has hands that will get tired. This massager will help ease their pain after a long, hard day of work.
  • Spiritual Soul

    • Something Thoughtful: Merry Christmas Bonsai – This bonsai isn’t only spiritual, it is also festive! A mini strand of red (battery operated) Christmas lights are strung on this bonsai to give it a festive feel.choose-your-coach
    • Something Unique: Notes of The Buddha Post-Its – These post-its are shaped like Buddha himself, along with a pad that lets you choose if you are “out of mind”, “out of body”, or “just out”.
    • Something Useful: Midlife Coaching Session – Are you looking for a gift for a soul searcher? This session helps people in midlife create a playful, passionate, and purposeful second half of life for themselves. Plus, you can get a special $50 discount when you purchase the session with this code: NEWYEAR2017
  • Book Lover

    • Something Thoughtful: Personal Library Kit – Do you know someone who wishes they lived in a library? Or maybe they are always lending their friends and family books? With this gift, they can have their own library!book-perfume
    • Something Unique: Hermione Inspired “Books & Cleverness” Scented Perfume or (if they don’t actually want to smell like books) “Old Books” Scented Candle – These options are for the book lover who touts the smell of a good book above all else.
    • Something Useful: Clear Book Weight – This is perfect for someone who loves to read outside but doesn’t want to worry about book pages slipping away in the wind.
  • Gardener

    • Something Thoughtful: Personalized Family Member Signpost – This is the perfect gift for someone with family far away (or close)! You can choose between 3 and six personalized signs that include the names of your loved ones and how many miles away they are.grow
    • Something Unique: A Grow Kit – Choose from Grow Cocktails, Grow Salsa, or, Grow Pizza – These small grow kits are a unique way to grow all of the ingredients for your favorite drinks and snacks.
    • Something Useful: Gardner’s Tool Seat – This lightweight garden stool folds up into a tool bag for the gardener who spends hours in their garden.

Looking for a little something for yourself? Get your free gift from us below!

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Expert Tip #3: Take Stock of Your Gifts and Talents

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Everyone has gifts and talents. But when was the last time you actually took the time to take stock of those gifts and talents?

As you have been growing older, you have also been building skills and discovering talents that you didn’t possess when you were younger. Some of your talents were created by conscious planning while others you developed through a necessity.

By taking stock of those new gifts and talents that you have built, you have the chance to find new areas of interest and exploration that you didn’t even realize were an option before.

By the time you find yourself in midlife, you probably have far more skills that you have learned through unplanned exposure. Either you were forced to build the skill for a job or for your family and maybe one of those skills have become a passion or interest of yours.

You’d be surprised at how many possibilities exist for a person to reinvent their life focus. By discovering all of your gifts and talents, you make it possible to purposefully choose the direction you want to head towards next. Take some time and discover what your second half of life has to offer!

Come back next week for Pro Tip #4 and try discovering your newfound gifts and talents that have the potential to reshape your future!

See other tips here!

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Battle Price

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“A more peaceful way to live is to decide consciously which battles are worth fighting and which are better left alone.”

– Richard Carlson

I’m sure I’m the only one who has sat on a customer service line for 30 minutes or more to correct a billing error or get a refund. NOT!

My most recent experience had me realize I was spending $300 worth of my time to save $30. Insanely bad time management.

Some of us are smarter about this than others.  Until recently, I fell into the not-so-smart.

Perhaps there’s some ingrained “stand up for justice” orientation that was ingrained from my childhood experiences or, on the other hand, some self-appointed, Corporate Correction Czar-ness that I picked up in early adulthood, whereby customer service and experience became my torch (thank you Tom Peters).  Or, maybe I just blindly want to save a buck.

Yet, the price of the discombobulation that the energy and friction endured to reach that justice-for-the-right, in-search-of-excellence reset, or extra buck is often not worth it.

New awareness, patterns and ways of being are always called for if we’re going to keep growing, and especially in The Back Forty.  We can’t keep doing things the same old way if our charge is to free ourselves up to play the Big Game we came here to play.

If the first half of life was only R & D, research and development, for us to now do what we came here to do, we want to be getting lighter, not more entrenched in nitter natter.  We should (me, myself, and I) consider letting go of things that aren’t so valuable for those that are.  Like peace.

There are people and events in our lives and workplace, businesses we frequent, and family and friends we spend time with during holidays that seem to always stick something in our craw.

Do we grab every opportunity to be right and support the justice of humanity? Only if we want to be a wreck.

‘What price peace?’ is a good question to keep asking ourselves in living every day as our best day, and especially in the lightening up process of gearing up for our Big Game Back Forty future.

Am I encouraging rolling over all the time? Perhaps not. Perhaps there’s a battle that must be fought. And yet, not every single one.

It’s been said that sometimes we need to lose the small battles in order to win the war.

Perhaps sometimes we need to simply let go of the small battles to enjoy peace of mind, body and spirit.

What battle can you release and forego today for the pricelessness of your Back Forty peace?

“Don’t let something that doesn’t matter cause you to lose something that does. ”

– Anonymous

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The Real 12 Days of Christmas (Plus a Strange Family Tradition)

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My family has a rather strange Christmas tradition. Honestly, my parents can’t even agree on how it became a tradition in the first place.

My mother swears that her aunt gave her the idea for this while my father is adamant that they thought of this tradition on their own to prevent us children from being too greedy. However this tradition started, I still follow it today and hope to continue the tradition as long as I can, and maybe I can even convince some of you to take part in this tradition as well.

“So what is the tradition?!” You find yourselves asking, after all, you are more than two paragraphs into this post. Well, let me start at the beginning…

You’ve heard of the 12 Days of Christmas. After all, there is that song. Plus, the media has started picking up on it too. 12 Days of Sales, 12 Days of Christmas Movies, the list seems to grow and grow each year. But there is a GIANT piece of the puzzle that almost EVERYONE is missing!

The 12 Days of Christmas actually start on December 25th.

That’s right – those sales and promotions that all seem to start on December 14th are simply incorrect. But I understand why businesses do it, after all, how many people do you know that start taking down the tree on the 26th? Or at the very least, before the new year?

But I’m here to tell you that the 12 Days of Christmas START on the 25th, and that my family found a way to celebrate each and every day.

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“Why does it matter?” You may ask. Well, let me give you a mini history lesson. Christmas is actually a season. Yes, we have heard of the Christmas season, but historically the “season” consists of Christmas Day and the 11 Days after Christmas. Why? Because of the church. According to the Christian calendar, there are 12 days between when they celebrate Jesus’ birth (Christmas) and when they celebrate the 3 Wise Men arriving to give their gifts to the baby, which marks the beginning of the church season of Epiphany. Therefore, the 12 Days of Christmas are actually December 25th through January 5th, with Epiphany beginning on the 6th.

Now, regardless of if you find yourself very religious or not, this tradition is a great way to keep the original 12 Days of Christmas alive and to hold onto the Christmas spirit just a little bit longer.

“WHAT IS THE TRADITION?!?!” I hear you yelling to me through the screen. Okay, okay! I’ll finally get to it.

My family’s tradition is to give each other one gift every day for the entire 12 Days of Christmas.

Let me explain it a little more. When my brother and I were very young, my parents saw how all of the children around them were receiving tons of gifts on Christmas Day. Between the gifts from Santa, and their parents, and their extended family – many kids easily had 12 gifts, if not more. The kids were tearing through all of their gifts in about 30 minutes and then they were so overwhelmed by the number of presents they received, they would pick their favorite one to go play with and all the other gifts would be left at the base of the tree to be collected later.

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Me at the age of 12 on one of the 12 Days of Christmas.

My parents did not like this. They thought it made children appreciate each present less and it that it caused a big letdown after the gifts were all opened and suddenly – after a month building up to the day – Christmas was over.

So, however they thought of the idea, they decided to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas. On the first day of Christmas, us children would receive one big gift from Santa and a smaller gift from our parents. Then, depending on how many gifts we received from our extended family, we would be able to open a few more until there were 11 gifts left under the tree for each of us. This way, we still had the excitement of Christmas Day above all else, but we weren’t opening so many gifts that we didn’t know how to appreciate them. Then, each day for the remaining 11 days of Christmas, we would open one more gift.

As much as I think this is a wonderful way for children to appreciate each of their gifts, enjoy the entire season, and learn about the history of the 12 Days of Christmas, I feel that this tradition can be just as gratifying as an adult.

As I grew older and got married, I carried this tradition into my new life. Each Christmas, my husband and I would buy each other 12 gifts. This worked out well because we always knew that we would have the same number of gifts under the tree. Now, many of you are probably thinking – 12 gifts is a lot! But, they don’t have to be big gifts. I still buy my husband one big “Santa” gift for the first day of Christmas and then smaller gifts for the following 11 days. Maybe one day he receives a few new shirts, another day a book he wanted. The thing I like about this tradition is that you can make it as grandiose or simple as you like.

So that’s it. That is my favorite Christmas tradition. I know it is unique – I am yet to meet a single person who also takes part in this tradition – but it is something that I truly love. I love being reminded to be grateful each and every day. I love being able to celebrate Christmas for the full season – and understanding why I am celebrating.

So maybe I’ve inspired you to try something new this year, or maybe not. But, either way, I hope that I’ve at least given you a new perspective for this holiday season.

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Expert Tip #2: Time to Ditch the Struggles of Your Past

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Our past tends to have a profound effect on how we act today and sometimes it is far too easy to continue punishing ourselves for the struggles, failures, and pain of our past.

Instead of holding onto the pain of your past, try seeing your past (and present) as being perfectly designed for you and by you. All of those struggles were actually lessons that have prepared you to discover what you have come to this earth to do.

If you are having a hard time letting go of your past struggles, I challenge you to come up with a list of 20 reasons why your struggle is the best thing that could have ever happened to you. I know it sounds a little crazy, but you will be shocked at the reasons that you realize if you just spend a little time thinking about it.

Try thinking of the first half of your life as R&D for discovering what you are meant to do in the second half of your life.

If you can not only let go of your previous struggles but also realize that those struggles have actually made it possible to achieve more, then you can truly begin to “win” your midlife experience.

Come back next week for Pro Tip #3 and remember that each and every struggle is also an opportunity!

See other tips here!

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