Happy New Year, my friends! I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday and are feeling refreshed and rejuvenated to take on 2023! In this month’s behind-the-scenes blog break, I’m chatting about why Greg and I might be done giving Christmas gifts, what my New Year “resolution” is (and isn’t!), recapping the best of 2022, and sharing a few of my favorite Christmas gifts! Let’s catch up!

Megan from The Homes I Have Made

Do You Give Christmas Gifts to Your Spouse?

Between Veteran’s Day (11/11) and New Year’s Day, Greg and I celebrate our wedding anniversary, both of our birthdays, and (of course) Christmas. It seems like a never-ending marathon of cake and presents; and in all honesty, by the time we are shopping for Christmas gifts, both the ideas and enthusiasm start to wear out.

Year after year, Greg and I seem to have a harder and harder time coming up with gift ideas the other would genuinely love and appreciate. And all-too-often, we end up stress shopping for anything to put under the Christmas tree, only to feel deflated come Christmas morning. 

As we sat reflecting on Christmas night (over my very own birthday cake) on yet another debacle of a Christmas, we (finally) acknowledged that buying gifts simply for the sake of buying gifts not only stresses us out but also fills our home with stuff we don’t really need. It also feels like it pulls us really far from the real meaning behind Christmas giving, which isn’t something we want for ourselves or our children.

So, off-the-cuff, I suggested we stop giving each other Christmas gifts. Instead, perhaps we could focus on a single, thoughtful birthday gift and stocking stuffers only.

As a girl who grew up in a family with an abundance on Christmas morning and gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Days, and more…it felt almost sacrilege to be suggesting such a thing. But as soon as I said it out loud, it felt 1000% right. And the more I asked around to friends and family in recent weeks, I’ve learned that lots of couples don’t give Christmas presents to each other! Who knew!?!

Greg and I immediately felt a burden lifted, and I hope this idea helps us better enjoy the holiday season as a couple and as a family.

I’d love to know how you and your significant other handle gift giving when it seems like you’ve given or tried aaaaaall the things already?!?

Megan and Greg

My “Kinda” 2023 Resolution

I typically come out of Christmas and into the New Year overflowing with all sorts of plans, ideas, hopes, and dreams for the year ahead. And most often, I have all these goals hashed out and color-coded in a pretty little goal planner, eager to start checking items off.

Usually, these shiny new goals revolve around or a body, home, life, or state of mind I don’t yet have but oh-so-desperately want; and I’m ready to get into action to make it happen.

But not this year.

In recent weeks, there is one word that keeps rattling around in my brain: settle.

At first consideration, the word “settle” almost feels like the opposite or lack of a goal. Indeed, “to settle” can mean to acquiesce, agree to something, or give in.

But it also means:

  • To adopt a more steady style of life
  • To begin to feel comfortable or established in a new situation
  • To become or make calmer or quieter
  • To come to rest in a comfortable position

After a 2022 that felt very intense and stressful and frenetic all the way to the very end, I don’t sit here now with my usual desire to conquer or achieve. Instead, I have a deep desire to settle into our home, settle into a routine, settle into my work. It’s like I want my entire life to simply…exhale!

Even though I know any goal can’t really be achieved with out a plan to get there, hashing out steps or a to-do list feels wholly counterproductive to the simplicity I’m craving.

So instead, I’m aiming just to get back to normal: predictable routines, cleared off surfaces, regular exercise. The basics that I’ve learned help me feel steady, calm, quiet, and comfortable.

Megan from The Homes I Have Made

Best of 2022

It’s always fun to look back at the posts that are the most popular each year. While many of my very top performing posts are age-old ones that still get a lot of traction on Google and Pinterest (like this one, this one, and this one), below are the top 12 NEW posts in 2022 that received the most clicks! Be sure to catch up if you missed any of these goodies!

  1. The Best Toy Storage Solutions for the Playroom
  2. How to Make Labels with Cricut Print-Then-Cut
  3. A New Way to Organize & Store Ribbon
  4. Smart Kitchen Organization Solutions
  5. How to Make Stickers with Cricut Joy
  6. What Color Schemes Work with Oak Kitchen Cabinets?
  7. How to Store Scrapbook Paper Scraps
  8. How to Remove Command Strips
  9. Cricut Storage Ideas
  10. How to Create a Home Cleaning Schedule
  11. Virginia Craft Room Reveal
  12. Does Peek and Stick Wallpaper Damage Walls?

My Favorite Finds This Holiday Season

January Favorite Finds
  1. Turkish Hand Towels – I was gifted one of these earlier in the year, and quickly scooped up more. I love them SO much that I paired them with matching soaps and gave them to all my friends and the kids’ teachers for Christmas. They wash beautifully and dry easily, and are the perfect complement to any decor style!
  2. Remote-Operated Lights – I wrote a whole newsletter about remote-operated lights, but I had to bring them up again! I just can’t get over the convenience of turning various things off around the home with a simple button!
    1. Votives – We put these behind our Christmas village, and it was so easy to turn the collection of 12 small houses on/off each night.
    2. Outdoor Plugs – Our year-round outdoor patio string lights aren’t something we need on all the time. But when kids are outside playing or we’re expecting guests, it’s so nice to be able to easily turn them on from inside the house.
    3. Disco Ball – Our oldest has been asking for fun lights for his room. We found this fun disco ball that he can operate from the comfort of his bed.
  3. Thermal Carafe – Over the holidays, I threw a few parties and wanted a way to serve hot beverages (e.g., cocoa, tea, etc). Having tried and hated a few different versions over the years, I opted for this inexpensive carafe at the last minute. Holy moly – not only does it hold a two full kettles of water, but it keeps it HOT for almost 24 hours (seriously!) It’s such a handy thing to add to your party hosting supplies!
  4. Statement Christmas “Sweater” – Call me a Scrooge but I’m not one to have a collection (or even just one) ugly Christmas sweater. But this year, we had a few invites on the calendar, so I grabbed this simple-but-festive sweatshirt. Little did I know how handy it is to have a cute holiday sweater to wear all season long (and this one is SUPER cute with embroidered rainbow letters!) From the neighborhood cookie exchange to the holiday concert, the ugly sweater party, and even on Christmas Eve, I loved having a cute top to throw on over and over!

Ask Megan

You guys always ask the greatest questions, and I love learning what you all want to read more about. If you have any topics or questions you’d love to see me cover, submit them via the (anonymous) form below!

Thanks for catching up with me this month!

See You Soon!