*This post is sponsored by Ritz Crackers
Each year, I find myself coming to the topic of simplifying the holidays. Don’t we just all wish this time of year was a little easier? Despite my best efforts to simplify, it can feel impossible in the midst of the kid’s holiday programs, get togethers, shopping, wrapping, sending of cards, gift-giving, & holiday baking.
I don’t want to brag, but this year we really did achieve that simple holiday we have been longing for and I am partnering with Ritz to share how you can avoid the parade of endless holiday to-do’s and instead embrace a simpler holiday.
Simplify the Giving of Holiday Cards
I love, love, love having pictures that I am in and having someone else take them for me, but we lost track of time and weren’t able to book our usual family session. Instead of not sending cards, I set my camera up on a tripod and we took our family shot by setting the timer on our camera and having me jump into the family picture. By getting everything set up in advance before my family came outside, we were able to get our picture in a mere five minutes. Before everyone had their coats off, I had our photos edited and cards in the mail. The best part is that we have moved our family session to the Spring, a time of year we decided was much less chaotic, and will really enjoy it all a little bit more.
I will admit that I was also was more laid back about how we did our cards this year and enlisted one of my favorite helpers to assist me in this year’s mailing. Not only was she excellent at adding our stamps and sealing the envelopes, but she also kept me on track because she was waiting for me to get those addresses on so she could do her part with them. It gave us time to chat while we were doing them and ended up being fun instead of a holiday chore this year.
Simplify the Holiday Baking
This year we decided to skip the big baking day and make easy treats instead. Although I usually love holiday baking, this year I focused more on creating knitted gifts than my typical holiday treat box. Fortunately, we found a fun holiday treat that we could make that didn’t require a bit of baking, but was just as delicious. On the Ritz Holiday Parade site, we found an easy recipe for Mint Thins to create together that tasted just like one of our favorite cookie treats, but were made with Ritz Crackers, chocolate, and crushed candy canes.
It just goes to show that making holiday treats doesn’t have to be an elaborate baking day. My kids loved helping to crush (and eat!) the candy canes for our cookies and we enjoyed eating these while watching, “A Christmas Story,” this year. Yet another simple and easy tradition is born!
Simplify the Gift Giving
I often talk about our commitment to do the Four Gift Rule, but this year we took it a step further and asked the kids if they would like to skip the presents and just take a family adventure together. We gave them lots of options for places we could take a mini-vacation to and they chose a trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan for our holiday getaway. We are so excited to take in all of the museums, holiday lights, ice skating, and see the sites of the city.
If your kids are struggling to come up with gifts this year or your home is overrun with just too much stuff, consider creating your very own, “Choose Your Own Adventure,” vacation in lieu of gifts. Not only did I have a lot less to buy this year, but I also get to spend four days with my family making incredible memories that I hope they will remember forever.
Start planning and dreaming ahead for next year though because those vacation rentals do go quickly!
Focus On the Fun
Ritz wants to bring back the fun for the holidays and this year they have created a fun interactive Ritz Parade where you can visit the site and build your very own float. You can add up to twelve items on your float from toys, characters, celebrations, and banners. The pieces can be scaled to your desired size and placed anywhere on your float. Once it is complete, you can share your holiday float with others. It’s a fun little interactive tool that you can use to keep the kids busy while you are putting those last minute touches on those holiday festivities. Since we adopted a cat this year, we loved making a float of her for our holiday parade. I am sure this illustrates just how special she has become to all of us!
In addition, the Ritz parade allows consumers to unlock deals to help decrease the stress of gift buying! You can check out all the deals here!
Happy Holidays, friends!
Easy Mint Thin Cookies
Author: Amy Clark
Recipe type: Dessert
- 2 pkg. (4 oz. each) semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted, slightly cooled
- ¼ tsp. peppermint extract
- 36 RITZ Crackers
- 1 candy cane (6 inch), crushed
- Mix chocolate and extract.
- Dip crackers in chocolate mixture, turning to completely coat each cracker. Carefully scrape off excess chocolate.
- Place crackers in single layer on waxed paper-covered baking sheets; sprinkle with crushed candy.
- Refrigerate thirty minutes or until chocolate is firm.
This post is sponsored by Ritz Crackers. I’ve received compensation for my time and effort in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.