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?

28 thoughts on “Seana’s Sampler, Volume 2”

    1. That little selfie hunt was so much fun, we are thinking about doing it again with my parents. Even my husband got into the spirit of the activity and took some pretty hilarious photos!

  1. Never would have thought that about the bedroom doors, but now that you mentioned it here, it does indeed make sense. So, now I think I will be actively closing bedroom doors at night. Thanks for that tidbit.

  2. Seana- What a fun round two of your Sampler feature! I love the game night idea and especially the fun scavenger hunt game that you created. I have such happy memories of playing games with our family- both when I was growing up, and also with our kids and extended families. What’s especially inspiring are the many ways people are finding to connect even during a pandemic.

    I also recognize how transportative music can be for creating a mood, taking us back to another time, or simply making us feel good. We all have different soundtracks that accompany our lives. Certain music can bring me to tears, make me feel calm, or just plain happy.

    1. My family has reconnected over game night in a very special way. I would say it is one of the few positives to come out of this crazy experience, and I am so thankful. My girls literally live on opposite coasts, so it isn’t easy, but game night has suddenly become something everyone likes, I guess largely because we aren’t cutting into other activities!

    1. I love George Winston. His music is calming and beautiful, the perfect soundtrack to put on behind my “office work.” I hope you enjoy him as well!

  3. As always, such an amazing, thoughtful post filled with so much insight, experience and way to keep organized and peaceful even during the holiday season!

    Looking forward to seeing you this morning, Seana!

    XO
    Brooke

    1. Thank you so much for this affirming comment! Fun to share thoughts and ideas at this time of year, right? Looking forward to our session as well. Couldn’t ask for a better way to start my week:)

    1. The beauty is that you can do it across time zones as well as distances. My youngest lives in Arizona, but we made it work and had a lot of laughs:)

    1. I’m glad my relative shared that post about the bedroom door. I used to close it sometimes, but not faithfully every night. Now that I know it can save a life, I’m committed to being more diligent!

  4. This is such a fun piece, again. I love the idea of a selfie scavenger hunt during a virtual celebration. I can just hear everyone’s laughter.
    I absolutely agree with you that traditions should bring joy not pressure. I suppose it depends on how you’re celebrating, how many people are joining you. Over the years, I’ve tried to think of more doable and less stressful ways to celebrate. It’s helped!
    I have to admit that I always loved the holiday music, while driving in my car. Sure, my husband and kids would roll their eyes and by Christmas, they were relieved it was over.
    This year, I missing it because I’m doing far less driving and staying closer to home. There’s always Spotify!
    Ronni Eisenberg recently posted…How to Organize Your Fridge in a New York MinuteMy Profile

    1. I can totally relate on the issue of not hearing the music in the car. Even I get tired of hearing “Last Christmas” in an average year because it is played so often. This year, since I’ve driving less, I don’t think I’ve heard it more than once!

  5. December is my favorite CD! I used to listen to it when falling asleep. I will have to pull that one out and listen to it again. Thanks for the reminder.

    I also love the Selfie Scavenger Hunt! I’m going to try this with the family. I love that you did this virtually.

    1. Wow, I am thrilled to her that there is another devotee of “December” out there! It really is special:) The selfie scavenger hunt was really so much fun. Everybody got into not only taking a photo, but taking one that could get the vote of the group. We laughed and laughed!

  6. It’s lovely to see what you’re being intentional about these days. You’ve given me some great ideas to bring some focus to my days coming up. The fire tip is so important! I would’ve never thought of that!

    1. The fire tip was new information to me as well. Turns out it makes a huge difference, and it is an easy enough step to take. These are busy days, so focus and peace are so important!

  7. I love your thought. I remember when my kids were young, we’d decorate the whole house for the holidays. But as they grew they didn’t want to participate. I made it my burden to still do it for a few years and finally gave it up so that I could enjoy the holidays without the pressure.

  8. Oh, Seana, I love all of the things you pulled together here, but especially “When celebrating a tradition begins to feel like a burden, the wise choice may be simply to skip it.” So many people wear themselves out with trying to do ALL the baking, all the events (well, not this year), all the card-sending, and it takes away from the delights of the season.

    And I also have a special place in my heart for Winston’s December, as I used to sit in my friend’s dorm room and we’d study with that as the comforting soundtrack on cold winter afternoons.
    Julie Bestry recently posted…Clutter-Free Holiday Gifts for the Weird Year of 2020 (Part 1): New Twists on Old FavoritesMy Profile

  9. What a fun (and helpful) post! I sleep with the door open because of pets and kids, but that one is food for thought for sure We need a new fire plan because we have expanded, and the kids will have new bedrooms with different entrances. The baby will still be with us for several more months but it’s all worth a conversation.

    1. That image really grabbed my attention! I do think it is wise to have a conversation about fire safety, along with a plan about where to meet up outside if evacuation should prove to be necessary.

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