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How To Be Happy For The Holidays Series: Day 7

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Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | | HOW TO STAY HAPPY FOR THE HOLIDAYS SERIES: DAY 7

Happy For The Holidays

Well folks, tomorrow is Christmas Eve! Every year, just when I think I've got all my Christmas shopping done and gifts wrapped up, I get antsy and go out last-minute to buy a little bit more! I need to go back a couple of days and read up on how to deal with buyer's remorse in Day 5 of my series! At any rate, below is our 2nd annual holiday card that I also whipped up last-minute! We never wanted to send out a holiday card until we had kids...and then we had Beau two years ago, and he most definitely counts!

*This year, Beau insisted  that he get his very own holiday card. He is so spoiled, but too cute to say 'no' here they are! 

Ok, so here's the real story--we tried our hardest to take a last-minute family photo with Beau, and he would not cooperate! Couple that with the fact that we also took this photo without a photographer--thank you Mr. Tripod for helping us out! We did our best to take a family photo, but it just didn't pan out, so we picked our favorite with just the two of us. I felt guilty leaving him out, so I decided to get creative and make Beau his own card with a photo that I took of him eagerly anticipating the unveiling of his birthday present on Dec. 15!

Below are some funny outtakes from our attempts to get a full family photo with an uncooperative "child" and a tripod for a photographer. 

I thought it would be fitting to include some outtakes and the story behind our family photo session gone wrong, because the final installment of my Happy For The Holidays series is all about Perfectionism // High Expectations // Let Downs. As you can see, we tried to get the perfect photo of the three of us, I most definitely had high expectations, and we ended up feeling let down--clearly pictured by our blank stares in the final shot, where Beau decided to bow out and go take a nap! 

Check out Holiday Hang-ups 1-6 Below!

*If you haven't already, check out Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5, and Day 6 of the series!

Holiday Hang-up No. 7

At the start of December, you decided that this year was going to be different. You were going to get your shopping done early, send out the perfect holiday card, make an appearance at every event you were invited to, and make that special dish that you didn't make last year. The big day is almost here, and your check-lists have check-lists. There are so many places to run, last-minute gifts to pick up, and people to see, but no matter how many boxes you check, it seems like there is still so much left to be done.

Simple Solution 7


While listening to my favorite--The Rich Roll Podcast, I heard something from one of his interviewees that has really stuck with me. It went something like this:

We should go through life with intention, not expectations. Having expectations for how we believe things should be or will pan out diminishes our bandwidth and narrows the realm of possibility.

To me that means to simply do what you do! Instead of forcing things into a box, go about your daily activities and work towards becoming a better person each and every day with intention. Without expectations, the possibilities are infinite!

Toss the list

I'm a check-list person. With a busy mind and busy life, it just feels "safer" to have things written down somewhere (and a second list recorded on my phone)! There's no better feeling in the world than completing a task and checking it off the list! Dusty encouraged me to toss my lists and just let life come to me, and it was a struggle! I'm still working on not creating so many lists, but I will say, it is liberating and truly makes you realize that the important things will not be forgotten and will get done, and the unimportant will simple fall by the wayside and won't stress you out to look at anymore.

Let Go

Another phrase that gets me through hectic days is 'Let Go and Let God.' Sometimes you just have to give up the reins and surrender. Give up the control! Sometimes that means not hovering over the hubs to make sure he's chopping the carrots the "right way," and sometimes that might mean asking for help and delegating tasks when you're in over your head. Just remember to ask in the right way.


When your perfect holiday plans don't go as planned, remember how you're going to feel a year from now. Remind yourself that you're going to look back and laugh--so why not just start laughing now?! When you leave that special dish in the oven too long, the dog won't cooperate for a family photo, that last present doesn't come in the mail on time, or the family gathering is a flop, sometimes all you can do is have a good laugh! If it's too hard to laugh at yourself, try watching 'Christmas Vacation' and it'll will cure any funk you're in!

Practice Gratitude

When all else fails, practice gratitude! Many of the "problems" we have here in America are just "first-world" problems. It can help to gain a little perspective and think about the rest of the world--many people don't have families to be with or home's to go to. The simple act of saying 'thank you' to someone will make you both feel good! Try spreading good vibes by "paying it forward" next time you're in the drive-thru at Starbucks, and you just might start a chain reaction!

Holiday Hang-ups Around Our Home

*Each day I'll also be sharing some "holiday hang-ups" around our home—because if there's one thing we love to do, it's decorate for Christmas.

I absolutely love wrapping presents, so I had to share a photo of my favorite wrapping paper that I found this year! It's made by a stationery designer, Sugar Paper, being carried at Target--check them out for cute paper goods! I love this paper because it's so classic (and because I'm a sucker for great fonts)! At times I feel like the age-old phrase, 'Merry Christmas' is becoming more diluted and replaced by more "politically correct" terms like 'Happy Holidays.' I'm all for political correctness, but I'm also not afraid to keep Christ in Christmas! 

Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | | HOW TO BE HAPPY FOR THE HOLIDAYS SERIES: DAY 7

Below are two ceramic Santa figurines that Dusty and I painted a few years ago, believe it or not! We were pretty happy with how they turned out--and this is one example of having zero expectations and being pretty impressed with ourselves! The key was the antiquing medium that we rubbed on them after they were painted to fill in all of the cracks and crevices and give them a more defined look! (Mine is the top Santa with the bag full of puppies--of course, and Dusty's is the one below!)

Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | | HOW TO BE HAPPY FOR THE HOLIDAYS SERIES: DAY 7
Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | | HOW TO BE HAPPY FOR THE HOLIDAYS SERIES: DAY 7

This final photo is of our chalkboard wall in our basement where I like to work on my hand-lettering, and usually like to come up with something seasonal and festive for each holiday! I would have like to add some more embellishment, but, again, things aren't exactly the way you want them to be when you try to make them perfect! Looking on the bright side, though, the chalkboard could be sitting there blank--but I do my best to keep it fresh!

Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | | HOW TO BE HAPPY FOR THE HOLIDAYS SERIES: DAY 7

Live Light, Travel Light, Spread The Light, Be The Light

Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | | HOW TO STAY HAPPY FOR THE HOLIDAYS SERIES: DAY 7

There is no such thing as perfect, so when you aim for perfection, you will inevitably fall short. The more you plan and expect things to play out a certain way, the more risk there is of being let down. Don't beat yourself up! Be proactive and learn from your mistakes, and remind yourself, 'better luck next year!' For me, that entails planning ahead to hire a photographer and a dog trainer for our family photos! I kid, I kid! 

This Christmas and holiday season, remember to live light, travel light, spread the light, and be the light. Step into life and let it take you for a ride, with the intention to simply be a beacon of positively contagious energy! You might be surprised at the things that will happen that you never even expected! 

I want to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Enjoy Every Moment!

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Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design |