Reclaiming Holiday Time


holiday time Des Moines MomWhen we moved to Des Moines over a decade ago we would hop in the car and criss-cross the state to visit relatives from both sides of the family during the holiday season. I assume like many of you, we often found ourselves exhausted at the end of these “breaks”. After a couple of years of these November and December trips we decided to take back our Thanksgiving holiday, it was one of the best decisions we made.

3 Reasons to Take Back Some Holiday Time

Start new family traditions 

Here in Des Moines, we are blessed with so many great events that surround the holidays. Once we reclaimed Thanksgiving we were able to start our own traditions. One day during the long Thanksgiving weekend we head downtown and max out on family fun. In no particular order we would see Disney on Ice, marvel at the beauty of The Festival of Trees and Lights, and enjoy a meal at Buzzard Billy’s. 

It was exciting packing all three things into one day. For the past two Thanksgivings we skipped Disney on Ice (none of us wanted to watch Frozen for the 87th time) but still had a great time with the other parts of our day. Even though my daughter is 13, I know we will head back to Disney on Ice from time to time; it is just so much fun!

Actually take a break

Having a long weekend with no plans to venture far from home has allowed this mom to actually feel rested. Cooking a Thanksgiving meal for three takes a lot less time and causes a lot less stress than huge family gatherings. With a few days free, I am always surprised by what I am able to get done around the house. Cleaning and decorating for Christmas always seem easier when I have a long weekend to get it done. This year, I even got caught up with laundry.

Did I mention the free time?  I can watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in my own living room and not worry that I am the only one who watches. There is something magical about having multiple days in a row where I don’t have to do anything. Stepping away from work and spending all my time with my family really fills my bucket and leaves me recharged when I head back to work. The naps may also help with that! Over Thanksgiving break we are a very pro-nap household. 

Feel energized for the next holiday

Having a low-key Thanksgiving makes me really excited about the big family Christmas we have. Hopping in the car and making our three-hour trek to my hometown is exciting. For me, part of that excitement is because of the relaxing I do over Thanksgiving. I am ready for the big feast and doing dishes with my sister. I am happy to sleep in my niece’s bedroom where all three of us take up most of the room. Quick showers and prayers for hot water? Sign me up! Loud nights spent playing cards with family and friends crammed around a table? I can’t wait. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love every holiday I get to spend with my family, and I miss them at Thanksgiving. But stepping back and reclaiming Thanksgiving was 100% the right call for my family. 

I would love to hear about how you spend your holiday time, either here in Des Moines or far away.

What holiday traditions do you have in the metro? I am always looking for new things to do.


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