Seana’s Sampler, Volume 2

December is a unique month. We are often busier than normal because we’ve taken on the part-time job of getting ready for the holidays. In addition, we often have extra commitments for festive activities like holiday concerts or driving around to view holiday light displays. Lastly, we may be feeling melancholy, as the holiday season enhances the emotions of loss and loneliness. Sometimes in December, we need a “pick me up.”

In this, my second edition of “Seana’s Sampler,” I’m sharing thoughts, finds, tips, products and other discoveries that are making me smile this season. I hope you’ll enjoy perusing this content and that you come away with something you like!

Seana’s Sampler

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Music I’m Listening To

Every December I pull out an old favorite CD from my college days: George Winston’s December. This is a collection of piano songs that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Did you know that instrumental music can actually help you focus? It occupies that part of the brain that tends to get distracted, making it easier to stay on task. If you’ve never tried George Winston, you might want to check this out. Here is a sample:

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Family Time Activity I’ve Started

One of the few positives to come out of the COVID experience for me has been virtual family game night. About a month into the lockdown, my children got the idea to gather virtually for some games. We have experimented with a couple of different alternatives, and it has turned into a periodic Saturday evening tradition. If you can’t be with loved ones this year, you might want to give this a try.

Trivia games work particularly well. You can either simply ask questions from a website or pull out a traditional Trivial Pursuit™ board game and have players roll a dice wherever they are. You can also buy games specifically designed to be played virtually by people in various locations. Last week we did a “Selfie Scavenger Hunt.” Each family member had to run around their respective home and take selfies with objects from a list I created. Then we gathered back around our Zoom screens, shared our photos in a group text, and voted on whose was best. This game is equally fun if you happen to all be living under one roof. Below is the list we used, but you could make up your own:

Seana's selfie scavenger hunt.

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Habit I’m Forming

Close your bedroom door at night.

Shutting my bedroom door at night. Many of you may already do this for privacy reasons, but I’ve never focused on closing my bedroom door when I went to sleep. In fact, when my children were little, I left all of the doors open so I could hear a child who might be frightened or sick. A family member, who happens to be a retired firefighter, posted this image on social media. Apparently, a closed door can significantly slow the spread of a fire. This image got my attention, and I’m now trying to make sure all bedroom doors are closed before we go to sleep.

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Thought I’m Having

Traditions should bring joy, not pressure.

The holiday season is often rich with traditions. Exchanging gifts, decorating, baking, worshipping, and the hunting for the “Elf on a shelf” are a few examples that come to mind. I love traditions because they comfort us in times of upheaval, provide a sense of rhythm, and also connect us to fond memories. At the same time, our lives changes from year to year. Some years we are overwhelmed by circumstances, such as a relocation, an illness, a financial strain, a breakup, or even a global pandemic. When celebrating a tradition begins to feel like a burden, the wise choice may be simply to skip it. Some years putting up the tree or setting out your entire vintage Christmas village may honestly feel like more than you can handle. If that’s the case, let it go. Instead, focus on the traditions that can be achieved without stealing the very joy that the tradition is meant to deliver.

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Tip I’m Sharing

Last month I was thrilled to be included in a roundup of tips for getting and staying organized on Porch.com. I know many of the professionals who contributed to this post, and it is packed with good advice. Organizers offer tips here on everything from ego-organizing to organizing photos to decluttering before a move. The tip I’m sharing is how to organize for working and learning remotely. This is a great page to bookmark!

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App I’m Loving

Recently I came across a post on Facebook by a friend I know from my baby play-group days. Her husband has launched a new app called “Good Deeds.” This is an app that makes it easy and free to earn cash back while shopping that you then directly donate to your favorite charities. You can learn more from this short video.

What a wonderful way to combine holiday shopping with giving to a hurting world!

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December may look and feel a bit different this year, but we can still find ways to be joyful, safe, and generous.

Which one of these resonates most with you?