7 Simples Ways To Make Your Home Festive For The Holidays

As I've gotten older I've been hearing more and more that is just doesn't feel like Christmas anymore. I know our move further south and the lack of snow has played a factor in this feeling. I also remember when I was growing up you couldn't turn the radio on without Christmas music being played on every station all season long. Now we have to make a play list just to hear some of favorite tunes. I personally haven't felt this feeling yet. From the music I listen to to the clothes I wear I stay in the holiday spirit. If you are trying to make your home feel more festive during the holidays check out my list below... 

1. Countdown to the Holidays- buy or even d.i.y a calendar to count down the days to Christmas. It's a fun way to get everyone excited about the approaching holiday.

2. Fill Your Home With Holiday Scents- holiday candles are always a great way to fill your home with those oh so familiar scents that just smell like Christmas. You can also use fresh spices like cinnamon sticks, or make bags of nutmeg and cloves and such.

3. Play Holiday Music- Everyone loves music and it's one of the simplest ways to make your home feel like the holidays

4. Holiday Table scape- create a holiday table setting for your dinning room table. No matter your budget you can find ways to set the table in a way that screams Christmas!

5. Display gifts- wrap some of the gifts you make have for family and friends and place them under the Christmas tree. The anticipation the open gifts makes everything a little more exciting

6. Change Your Bedding- You can go all out by changing your entire bedding to a Christmas theme or you can simply add a few Chirtmas throw pillows in the mix to make the bedding you already have more festive.

7. Bake- everyone loves to eat and cooking as a family is always fun so you can't go wrong with baking some of your favorite holiday treats! 

5 Ways To Give Back This Holiday Season

As Christmas approaches and we fill our carts with the perfect gifts, decorate our home in various holiday themes, and write out our menus for a fabulous Christmas dinner, don't forget to take a moment to remember what the holidays are really about. Don't get me wrong, we all love showering our love ones with presents, and filling our homes with laughter as we share a meal, that too is what the holidays are about. This is just a reminder to step back and remember to give back. Below I will be sharing five ways you can give back this holiday season.

1. Volunteer- Whether you are helping to build a home wiih Habitat For Humanity or serving meals at your local soup kitchen it's important for not you but your little ones as well to get out in your community and help those less fortunate. 

2. Donate- With a visit from Santa soon approaching this is the perfect time to gather up all those gently used toys, clothes, and books your little ones no longer use to donate to children in need. 

3. Smile- So lets be honest some times we are having a hard year our self. We have no extra time to volunteer and no extra money to buy toys to donate, or no extra hand me downs to giveaway. No worries you can still give back by simply smiling, they really are contagious. You will be surprised at how much you can brighten someones day by simply smiling at them

4. Give A Portion Of Your Proceeds To Charity- Are you a small shop? Do you own some sort of business? The holiday season is the perfect time to give a portion of your proceeds to a charity you hold dear to your heart. 

5. BE KIND- While this is known to be the most magical time of the year it is also the most stressful time of the year. We have to remember that we are all human. You never know what the cashier with the attitude just went through, or what distracted that person who forgot to use the proper signal while driving. Energy is transferable. Give off positive vibes through out the holiday season, you just may change someones life.  

Oh What Fun! That Dope Mom Guide To Holiday Adventures

It's the most magical time of the year and I am ecstatic! The holidays have always been a special time for me. Probably because it's my mother's favorite holiday so she's always made it extremely special for us. I have so many wonderful memories of those eventful days growing up and while gifts are always wonderful my memories mostly consist of the things we did together. This is while when I became a mother I knew our focus would be on the time we spend together throughout this joyful time. For my family and I, local adventures equal ever last memories and tons of fun! Below I'll be sharing our list of events we will be attending, in these Duval streets. If you do not live in Jacksonville Florida, no worries just use these places as inspiration to find something similar in your city. 

1. The Black Santa Experience-  You can simply stop by to take a picture with Santa or you can step it up to create a long lasting memory by staying for story time and even play games. Click here to get all the details.

2. WinterFest- The Winter Fest at Adventure Landing has always been a hit with my kids. Shipwreck Island Water Park is transformed into a Winter Wonderland with tons of activities. There is something for everyone! Ice skating, cookie decorating, you can even visit Santa. Learn more here.

3. Sweet Pete's- Whenever there is a new holiday Sweet Pete's is always on my list, not only do they have amazing themed events but the decor' is always magical. You can eat, have yummy deserts, even shop for a few holiday gifts? here is where you can learn more.

4. Deck The Chairs- OK, so we live in Florida, my children are Floridians and there is no way, in my option, you can celebrate the holiday's without the beach, right? Jacksonville Beach Deck The Chairs is an annual lighted sculptural exhibit. Get details here.

5. ZooLights-  My children already love the Jacksonville Zoo and Garden's so what better way to celebrate the holidays than a visit to one of their favorite places when it's covered in Christmas Lights? Want more details? Click here.

6. Jax Illuminations 6th Annual Drive Thru Holiday Light Show- This is hands down one of my favorite adventures we go on during the holidays. We get to all climb in the car, grab a free hot chocolate, turn to a special radio station that will fill our vehicle with holiday music, and cruise around looking at some amazing Christmas lights! Do your kids love Christmas Lights? Details? Click here.

7. Live Nativity-  First Baptist Church of Jacksonville will be putting on a live showing of the miracle of Christ's birth on LAURA STREET! There will be actors, animals, and everything. Click here for more details

That Dope Mom's 25 Days Til' Christmas Bucket List

I've been in the holiday spirit since before it was technically the holidays, what can I say I'm my mother's daughter. (She loves Christmas) While I've been all fa la la la my husband has more of a bah humbug mood. One thing I've noticed is people are either all in or all out during this time of year, there is no middle ground. No worries to all my grinch-ish people out there. I'm going to share with you all my 25 Days Til' Christmas Bucket List to help get you in the holiday spirit!

1. Get a Christmas Tree
2. Decorate The Christmas Tree
3. Decorate The House For The Holidays
4. Make Christmas Cookies
5. Decorate Stockings
6. Have A Christmas Theme Movie Night
7. Visit Santa
8. D.I.Y Christmas Ornaments 
9. Have A Christmas Music Dance Party
10. Donate Toys
11. Take Fun Christmas Photos
12. Read Christmas Books
13. Visit Family
14. Attend A Christmas Party
15. Build A Gingerbread House
16. Throw An Ugly Christmas Sweater Party
17. Buy Christmas Pajamas 
18. Drink Hot Cocoa
19. Mail A Letter To Santa
20. Go sledding 
21. Go Ice skating
22. Make D.I.Y holiday gifts for teachers
23. Make Smores 
24. Shop For Thoughtful Gifts For Love Ones & Friends
25. Go To The Movies