Holiday Homeschooling: Traditions & More

Holiday Homeschooling: Traditions & More

EPISODE 155| Chestnuts roasting by the fire, stringing popcorn on thread, Santa pictures with matching pj’s, and caroling are just a few of the things that come to mind when people think of holiday traditions. Traditions can be an important part of any time of our lives but truthfully most of us have that one, if not more, tradition that brings that warm fuzzy feeling to our hearts and minds. Holidays are often when those traditions occur because family gathers but with that comes stress and the feeling that we have to do more or be more.  In today’s podcast join Janna and her guests, Sharon and Rachel as they discuss traditions, stress, and how they manage homeschooling around the holidays. May you enter the holidays with peace and grace for yourself and your family as you pass on your traditions or create new beautiful ones.


Rachel Davis lives in Maryland with her husband, two teenaged daughters, two highly energetic dogs, and her favorite, the cat. Her family has been homeschooling for 7 years. Rachel actually has a bachelor’s degree in history and really loves that subject… but she has found that teaching math is her favorite thing to do; she is pretty sure that even though her kids ‘hate’ math, they too will find joy in it when they are older. Give it twenty years. Rachel also loves playing piano (and teaching other kids to play), baking (and eating), and reading (so much reading!) She is one of BookShark’s advisors and enjoys helping other homeschooling moms and dads figure out how to best use BookShark’s curriculum in their homeschools.

Sharon Wilson Miller is originally from southern California but now lives just outside Chicago with her husband and is a homeschool mom of 2 (9 and 11). Sharon holds a BFA in Theatre Studies from DePaul University, she spent many years as a Stage Manager working regionally and on some large-scale touring musicals. Sharon is also a licensed massage therapist and enjoys her work as an Advisor for BookShark.


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Podcast Transcript

Janna  00:01 Welcome to Homeschool Your Way. I'm your host Janna Koch and BookSharks Community Manager. In today's episode, I am joined by BookSharks advisors, Sharon, and Rachel. They are going to talk about how they homeschool through the holidays and encourage you on what you can let go of and what you want to add. When you're homeschooling during the holidays. Let me introduce BookSharks advisors. Hello, ladies. 

Sharon 00:27 Hello. 

Rachel 00:28 Hi. 

Janna 00:29 All right, I will make this easy by saying your name when I ask the question. And then that way you guys know who I'm talking to, since we're doing a gallery view here on this special holiday episode of Homeschool Your Way. So let's start with you, Sharon, why don't you quickly introduce yourself and give us a one-holiday tradition that you have either continued with your children or have started organically in your home?

Sharon  00:51 Okay, I have two kiddos. They are nine and eleven. We've been homeschooling for about four years going on five I think. And one thing that we have started doing since my parents moved out here. We have started going on trips through lights, and light displays. And so we'll all hop in the car because my mom's not super mobile. We'll hop in the car and we'll drive through the light displays and enjoy some family time. 

Janna  01:23 Now, Sharon, I know you're in the Chicagoland area. Do they still have the Toy Soldier Lane?

Sharon 01:28 I don't know where that is. I'm sure there are several. But there's one that we go to. That is not too far from us and the Botanic Gardens also do a walk which we might do this year. 

Janna  01:43 Very nice. And Rachel quick introduction.

Rachel  01:46 Yeah, I'm Rachel. I have already forgotten what I was supposed to say. Homeschooling for seven years now I think and we don't actually have traditions for I mean, I guess they're all food related. We eat a lot. And we have, we have pizza on Christmas Eve. We have turkey burgers on Thanksgiving because I don't actually like to make turkey. So yeah, everything that we do around the holidays is food, food, food, and more food.

Janna  02:15 Now, was that something you grew up with or something that you and your husband started?  

Rachel 02:20 My husband grew up doing pizza on Christmas Eve. And so he said that one day and I'm like, that sounds like a great idea. I like pizza. I love to do it. And so we've done that ever since we've been married, and then the turkey burger thing, a few years back, because I said, you know, I really don't want to do a turkey. And they're like, What about burgers? We love making our own gourmet burgers. And so we started doing turkey burgers or stuff with brie, and there's a cranberry chutney that we put on top of it. It's so good. It's crazy good. But yeah, that's what we do instead.

Janna  02:52 Yeah, I was going to make sure that you mentioned she's not talking about just grabbing a frozen patty.

Rachel 02:57 No, no, no, no.

Janna  03:00 Yes. And there are times do you, you make your own buns?

Rachel 03:04 Correct. Yeah, I make everything so we actually make it full-on. I always make my own bread. And for the Thanksgiving burger. We make these fluffy dinner rolls. And so we put the burger and so it's it's like a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in a hamburger instead of all laid out. And boring. It's so good, you guys. 

Janna  03:25 Yeah, and I think less dishes than are at my house on Thanksgiving.

Janna 03:29 Yeah, yeah.

Sharon 03:31 Do you do sweet potato french fries?

Rachel 03:32 I do. Actually. I do. So you potato french fries. And of course we always have pie too. But not pumpkin. I’m not a pumpkin pie girl, though. Oh, no,

Janna  03:43 Oh, no, that's okay. It's okay. Yeah, we'll let that one slide. Rachel, we’ll let that one slide. 

Rachel 03:49 Yeah. Sorry, 

Janna 03:50 I love that your traditions are around food. Sharon, I love the light idea. You know, when my kids were younger, I think they were definitely more into that. And now as they have aged up, even though I enjoy it as an adult, they're kind of in that phase where it probably wouldn't be as exciting for them to go, go see the lights. But we don't stop trying when we do these traditions. As a kid, we always got to open one present on Christmas Eve. So that was something that we continued on with our children. They get to pick a present that is under the tree sent by a family member that's out of town or out of state or something like that, and get to open it up for Christmas. I think that homeschooling families get an opportunity to really do the holidays well, or, or feel more stressed than anybody else in the world. So I know from knowing, knowing us we we've kind of probably been on both ends of that spectrum. But let's just start with Rachel. What do you feel like? What have you seen change over the years of homeschooling for you, when the holiday showed up? Were you always relaxed about what needed to get done academically?

Rachel 05:05  Yeah. Um, I, we always tend, because we were we public schooled from kindergarten, my older daughter was, went through kindergarten through fifth grade, my younger daughter was kindergarten through third grade in public school. And so when we decided to homeschool, we tended to stick with the public school schedule, because all of their friends are public school. And so they wanted to be able to hang out with their friends when they had days off. And so the homeschooling gave us more flexibility, which meant that we could go places while other kids were in school, but they still wanted to have that same kind of break schedule. And so we just did school up to our traditional Christmas break, or Thanksgiving break and did nothing we had like, absolutely, nothing is required, nothing is done other than, than the normal stuff. And so that's how we always worked it, which is boring. But it worked for us, because my kids, I mean, that's what they wanted, they wanted to be able to do the same, they want to go hang out with their friends whether they didn't want a whole month off, were they just sitting around doing nothing, because their friends were still in school, you know, so we just school the same way as the school schedule.

Janna  06:24 What about you Sharon?

Sharon 06:26 We do something similar, because we have a lot of friends that live on our street. And so I, they want to hang out with them, and they want to wait until they're out of school to hang out with them. We do have a lot of homeschool friends through our homeschool group. Now, I know that we'll be doing a lot of extra things that are different than what we've done in years past because as we've joined the group and the group has grown, we have really found a really strong connection with these people. So it's really nice. And I think we're going to do some more Christmassy, holiday-type things with the group which is nice, and which we haven't had a whole lot in the past. So it's, it's fun to look forward to something different. But we will do a similar thing, Rachel where we’ll just that like, I think we'll probably do it like just that week right before Christmas, and then run through the first week of January and have that time off.

Janna  07:27 I have found over the years that we also like you two, have always followed the traditional district schedule because it just allowed us to have the same time off as friends. But then like you Sharon as our homeschool community builds, all of a sudden, we were adding more activities between Thanksgiving, and the new year. And I started to get stressed in the very beginning years because I felt like we were getting behind oh my gosh, we should be doing our schoolwork, we had the the calendar figured out and we put the weeks on there. And now we're the second week of December. And we haven't touched a book because we were invited to go to this thing. And we wanted to go do this thing. And then I feel like it's so easy for us to get very stressed out. Let's be honest, we're moms we are parents, and the holidays can be stressful regardless, we're human. But then when you start to feel that pull on sometimes that squeeze of I should be doing what I set out in my schedule, but it's not getting done. Now I have to panic or where are we going to make up the time? Or how's it going to? How's it going to look? And that's when I've really had just to stop and go. I remember being in school and us stopping to work on a craft during the holidays, right? Like those teachers were watching. Yeah, watch a movie that wasn't even necessarily holiday-related. And now as an adult, I think, is it because those teachers were stressed out about their own holidays? 

Sharon 09:09 They are over there madly doing their Christmas cards?

Rachel 09:11 Yeah, yeah. I think I think something else. Because like, it's really cool to hear about your homeschool communities. I don't we don't have a homeschool community where I'm at like, there's just there's nothing there. The one that we had joined was about 40 minutes away. And so it's not convenient, a lot of times to go. And so we didn't have that problem. But what does happen for us that gives that same feeling of stress is that we get the winter blues in our house, like when the sun goes away, and it's cold and everything and so you just don't want to so we had to take more mental health days than maybe you want to because you do and then you start feeling like you're getting behind or you know, things like that. And so being able to realize that it's okay to not do everything. Like you don't have to do everything like my kids are taking college classes now. And they're fine. They're fine. They did that we'd complete every single thing that we were supposed to complete in BookShark. No. And yet, they're still succeeding in college classes. And so I think we get too hung up on what we need to get done. And forget that we also need to take breaks, but it's okay to rest. So Christmas break our holidays, like a lot will be to be rest as well.

Janna  10:29 I think that's a really good, yeah, good encouragement for myself as well because I'm getting the emails, I'm getting inundated with the Christmas markets and how many times can you truly see A Christmas Carol? I mean, I don't think there's a limit, mind you. I don't think there's a limit. But my kids don't necessarily want to see it for the fifth time in a row, even though I would go every single year, right? So there really becomes a time where, and I know maybe I'm unique in this. It's like, I have to step back and go, Okay, these are the things that I would like to do. But they're not necessarily the things my kids want to do. And if my job right now is to homeschool, then I really need to get my kid's input as I'm making these holiday plans. Because once Thanksgiving hits, I will watch Christmas movies every single day. I mean, I've got a stack and my kids are like why every year do you have to watch the same movies? And I'm like, It's tradition. I love it. You have to do it. And they're like, Okay, we're out. Like we're going out with our friends.and then I'm sitting there all by myself. Like what just happened? I thought they grew. Wow, they do. Yeah.

Rachel 11:46 They have their own lives now. And it's hard.

Janna  11:50 Yes. And for parents who are not there yet. Let us just let you know. It's coming in it comes cost sharing. What about you? What are you starting to see this is you know, your several years in now to homeschooling? What kind of transitions are you seeing, especially in your oldest boy, as he is aging up?

Sharon 12:10 It's funny. Julie will still go along with what I want to do. And like we're what I'm thinking to do the plans that I cook up. Desmond’s like, I think I'm gonna go play some Minecraft with some friends online. It's cool, right? I’m like, yeah, I guess so. So it's happening. But I'm really trying to just kind of go with the flow on that front. But yeah, Julia will still help me put the stickers on the Christmas cards. And she was like, yes, let's make cookies. I want to make cookies with you. I'm like, All right, great. Or I'll help you do you know, the candy boxes or whatever. Desmond will come through when it's time to taste the cookies or taste the fudge. He'll magically appear. I smell fudge. Of course you do, because we've been working all morning on it. So it's it has started to happen. But he's still around. He's still into some of it. But not all of it, its ok.

Janna  13:11 Okay there is definitely a change or a metamorphosis as you get into homeschooling. And the years go by there are some things that I have found that my girls, I didn't think were important to them. And then when we come to a certain stage of the holidays, they'll be like, Excuse me, where's this? And I'm like, What are you talking about? Like, I didn't really care about that. And they're like, it's not, you know, go, where is it that will do it just tell us what to do. Like it has to be here. It's not, it's not the holidays. And I do love that about some of the things that we have done over the years. One thing I will tell you that they drag their feet on these days is going to get our annual Santa picture. So we have done a Santa picture with our girls since the twins were one. They are now 18. I have 18 framed pictures of us as a family with Santa. And I got the idea from a neighbor. And I just thought it was so amazing. And the girls were like, well, when we turn 18 We don't have to do it, right? Like every year, it's getting closer and closer. And they're like they drag their feet. And I was like, Let's go when nobody's there. You know, I'll try to I'll try to schedule it. You know, during the middle of the day, we're homeschoolers, we can do this like, and it's funny because I still I'm still the mom, right? But they're still not the kids that they once were. I haven't really changed for better or worse. But their change is so drastic that they kind of drag their feet on the things that I'm like, we have to do this in order to make it the holidays and they're like, We don't have to do this anymore. Do you guys have anything like that?  

Sharon 14:51 Yeah, there are things that I want to give up. And they don't like they'll still ask to do that. I'm like, Oh my gosh, do we have to do the gingerbread house? Like It's so messy and like, I'll do the cookies. I'll do the fudge. But it's like, it's just like one more thing. And every time we go through this, can we get the gingerbread house? Like you just want the candy? Stop? You don't need. We don't have to do all the things we didn't like at all but it's Christmas. We have to do the gingerbread house. Have to really?is it really a have-to? Okay, I guess we're getting the gingerbread house. Can we share the gingerbread house? Do we have to get to? Always something?

Janna  15:29 Rachel, do your girls do gingerbread houses?

Rachel 15:31 No. Let me see the beauty of not having Christmas traditions is that you don't get stuck doing the Christmas traditions. I think I was talking to my husband about this before we got on the podcast because I'm like, we really have nothing like we do nothing. We're the most boring family ever. But and I sit there and I'm like, I've always wanted to be the mom who had all the decor and who did all the fun. Like, let's decorate Christmas cookies together. And let's do this. And let's do that. But then like I get down to it. I'm like, I don't actually want to do any of that. I don't want to I don't want to put in the work. Like I love. I love to cook well. I love to cook like my special food I love we love baking. But my kids like to have me do the baking. And then they get to eat the baking. That's their tradition. That's their favorite tradition is eating what I make. And I like to make what I make. And eat it. So I guess that works for us. But yeah, like, there have been years where like the kids asked, I think we did gingerbread houses a couple of years ago, just once because the kids asked and I'm like, okay, so we did it. And then we put lights on the house a couple of years in a row now because one of my kids wanted to do that. And so we just just like we have a very small house, it's a line along the roof. But we did it. 

Janna 16:43 And they liked it. 

Rachel 16:45  But they liked it. So we try to do so. Like, I think I'm a very spontaneous person. I like to do things when I feel like doing them. And I think I hope my kids are the same. Because I know that if they asked me to do something, I'd probably do it. And so we just saw our tradition is, what do I want to do? Alright, let's do that. So that's what we do. 

Janna  17:04 Well, I think that's great. What are some of the things that you guys have found that you count as school? During the holidays?

Holiday HomeschoolingHoliday Homeschooling

Rachel 17:13 Nothing. I don't do school during the holidays. What are you talking about?

Janna  17:19 You don't have to mess around with that at all.

Rachel 17:21 No, I just leave it on like, whatever, that doesn't have to be school. I mean, there's lots of things that you can count as school I think like, especially if you're doing baking that could easily be math, you know, or any kind of crafting could be math, or arts and crafts or home ed., or any of that stuff. I mean, if you really had to come up with something, you know, I think going to see your performances, that's drama, that counts as the arts, I think making your kids get up and running around outside because they've been eating too much food. That's PE health. I mean, there are so many things that you can count even going to see Santa that could be that could be social studies, if you really think about it, because it's civics, it's being part of the community and learning about the community and things like that. So I have lots of ideas I like or culture all this stuff. Yeah, it's cultural. 

Sharon  18:15 Yeah, we go to the Christmas market, the German Christmas market every year. And that's totally cultural. And it's, you know, trying different foods. And, you know, being out with people from other cultures. It's really fun to see, we used to go we don't so much anymore, but we used to go down to the Museum of Science and Industry where they had all the Christmas trees from around the world, which was fun to go around and look at those. But it's just such a jaunt. Now it's kind of a trek, so we don't go there. We haven't been there in the last couple of years.

Janna  18:48 That's alright, Sharon your kids would probably just say, why are we doing this again, Mom?

Sharon  18:54 We've seen all the same trees last year.

Rachel 18:57 And we remember them.

Sharon 19:00 I would say like, definitely would count the baking like you said, Rachel. But I was just thinking, maybe because Christmas cards are on my mind. But computer formatting for labels is a thing. And if you can teach your children that and how to like format and stuff, that would be a huge thing to do. Julie has been asking to go caroling, and I'm like one that's cold. Right, we got to learn the music, but they take piano so we'll keep that up. And so they've been doing and I didn't even ask our teacher to do this, but he's like, let's do some Christmas songs. And they're like, Great, let's do it. So they've been each learning a song they want to learn so that's what they'll do. Then they can play it, you know, around Christmas. 

Janna  19:45 So those are those are good. I know we like to count games. I'm a board game gal. So I try to get to every year. And there's this odd there's a new one Rachel that I put on my wish was for this season. It's called Telegraph's. And it's like the old game of phone. What? Not? Telephone. Yeah. Yeah. But it's a picture. So one person draws a picture and hands it to the next person. And the next person has to figure out what they were trying to say in their picture and draw their picture. And it goes around the circle until the original picture comes back and you compare them you're like, What are you? Are they even close? What was going on here?

Rachel  20:28 So it's a different take on illustrations? 

Janna  20:32 Yes, yes. Yeah. Yeah. So I thought

Rachel  20:35 Those are fun. We love that game.  

Janna  20:36 Yeah, that was I mean, just fun. Different things like that, that count as, you know, collaboration and listening. And, I mean, there are so many things that we don't even realize we're in a learning environment, which is one of the beautiful things about homeschooling, right? It's like I just saw somebody had posted about it, I forget what they call it. Basically, it was like undercover learning, like your kids don't even know that they're learning or they're putting into practice some of the skills that they have learned in the activities that you're doing. And that is kind of the one of the things that makes homeschooling so incredible is that it's a constant learning environment, you don't ever start or stop. It is what you're doing. From the time you wake up till the time you go to sleep, which I know my goal in homeschooling and and how we do things. But so yeah, I think gaming is really important. I would go so far as to say even like house cleaning before family comes over, or friends come over, or you just want your house cleaned during that that's that's home education in my book, like that's, that's, that's a serious subject.

Sharon 21:45 We also, because we're at home, and I want to decorate the house, we've been have been the kids and I have been going out and decorating. And we have things that we put up every year. And that's another area where Desmond has slowly started to wean himself out. You girls look like you've got this. I ‘m gonna go inside where it's warm. I'm like, Dude, where are you going? I need your help.

Janna  22:13 Yeah, and Sharon you start in October with the decorating. So you go through a couple of different holidays. Yeah, in the next couple of months, which is a lot of fun, right? I mean, there's so many, there's so many things that I think especially new families will go oh my gosh. But you know, if I say yes to all of these things, I'm saying no one I'm putting away the books. But we're really here to say it's okay to put away the books during the holidays because the learning continues and all of these things. Another thing I was thinking about was intergenerational learning during the holidays, that seems to be whether you have family by you or not, there are so many more opportunities to be around generations that are, you know, above or below you. Right. So it seems that people get into the hospitable spirit during the holidays. And so I know as a kid we used to when you were talking about singing Christmas carols, we would go to local senior centers and sing Christmas carols. And, you know, we would we would do these different activities. And it's like you then are now teaching your children how to respect and be around a generation that is, you know, sometimes three or four times removed from their generation. 

Rachel 23:30 Just taking that another step is that like, there's a job out there called genealogist and so people who actually research family histories and so like it's a profession, and you can actually go to school for it, but taking the time to interview family members, or is to spend time with grandma and grandpa, even if it's on the phone like you don't maybe don't live close by but you can call grandma, grandpa, you can ask them. How did you spend Christmas when you were a kid? Like what did you guys do? Or you know, ask them stories and record them so that you always have those. It's a special thing to do with your family and it totally and it's something that helps you develop better relationships and helps your kids also learn how to interview somebody, how to ask questions, how to write things down, how to tell a story. And I think I think it's all of that is a beautiful thing to do during the holidays as well.

Sharon 24:21 To take it even one step further. Not only not just the grandparents, but then asking the grandma, what was it like? Do you remember your parents telling you stories because now you're getting back to people who were Depression age and older that have real stories, tangible things they can talk about that will be things that they're reading, or just read and BookShark. So that's kind of cool to bring it all back around to times, timeline type. Thoughts.

Rachel 24:50 Yeah. 

Janna  24:51 Well, genealogists and also historians, I mean, that's that's what they do, right? They go and they search for primary sources. And here we have it at our fingertips, these grandparents, and for those people who don't, whose kids don't have grandparents, I mean, every kind of live in a society where that has become more than norm, unfortunately, for so many reasons, but you have in your community, elderly people in your community that, you know, I know, it's kind of, in this day and age, there isn't that same pull to be connected to your neighbors or the community that you live in, or just the street or the couple houses around you. But we always tried to, you know, go by and give things baked goods or whatever, to our neighbors around the holidays. And when I was a kid, we had some elderly neighbors. And, you know, they were kind of like pseudo-grandparents, because my grandparents didn't live by us and my children had the fortune of knowing my grandparents, they lived in the same state as us. So my grandma grew up at the tail end of World War Two in America. So she remembers Christmases where they literally had an orange. And, you know, there wasn't candy canes, even like there was, it was, you know, and you think now, I think about when my kids were little and all the stuff that they got from us and our family members. And going back, I wish I could just have the money. Like, please, all the money that you spent, like, let me do something with that now. But I think that just having those stories and like you said, finding out what other not only grandparents but their parents. And if you don't have that in your family of origin, there are certainly ways to find that around your community. I'm sure

Sharon 26:42 Senior citizen centers are great. And I know that Julia's troop, Girl Scout troop went and they built I think it was back during like, maybe 2020 or 2021. They went and built snowmen outside of the windows just to help cheer up people inside. I was like, Maybe this year, we could actually go back in and like think to them, that'd be something that girls could do. So.

Janna  27:06 I like that or even just decorating their windows, I mean, just just, it's amazing, the little things, the tiny little things that we can do to help build community where we're at with the things that we have. So now let's, let's fast forward just a little bit. Before we end this episode and talk about how we live, we've gotten through the holidays, we've all been there. Now January hits now help in a big way. I think if we kind of give a plan now, before we get there, maybe it will help some people have less stress. On December 31. When they go oh my gosh, January 2, we got to jump back in and gotta hit the books, we're still behind. So why don't you both just kind of share your tips on how to get back into the routine once the new year is gonna start?

Rachel 27:58 Well, for me, it's, it's unfortunately, really easy because our public school system only gives us a week off for Christmas. And so it's very, it's relatively quick to get back in. So we don't normally get out of the routine too much. But it's all but it's also hard because I said that, you know, we all kind of struggle with those winter blues, and for us, and so you have the downer of okay, not all the holidays are over. And life is hard. But I like it.

Janna  28:25 And it's cold.

Rachel 28:27 And it's very, very cold. I'm in a colder state. And so it's cold, it's probably terrible outside. So I, we always make sure that we know when we're starting before before we stopped school, I'm okay now remember, we're going to be starting because my kids are the kind of kids who need to know what's gonna happen. And so we're starting back to school on this day. And this is what's expected of you like these, this is the work and sometimes often, especially, especially as I've gotten older, I haven't, I might Okay, the first day back, we don't have to do everything, you know, like, like, let's just start with like our history reading or something like that. And then add an extra as we need to. But I think this is the time when we really need to start understanding that you don't have to do everything and figure out what's most important. You know, what, what does? What is most important to me right now? Like, what do they really need to do? And for me, it's usually like I want them to be writing. And they need to be doing their math. So those are usually the most important things that I might if you have more time and inclination, out on the reading, and things like that. So those are usually what I'm thinking about. But for us, we definitely have to know exactly when we're going to start and the least what is the most important thing is what I expect to absolutely have done that first day.  

Sharon 29:40 That's good, right? Yeah, definitely. I think that it's knowing when that end date is. It's only here to hear and like you said it is a slow ramp up the flow ramp in you do the necessary thing first and get that done. And then you kind of build on that.  

Janna  29:59 I liked the idea Yeah, of knowing if you did have a book that first half of the year, which we're not even quite through the first half, by the time the first of the year rolls around, if there was a book that you put a pause on, that you can find in cinematic form, then to me, I always like that first day back to be like, Okay, let's, let's watch the movie, let's get caught up in this particular novel, by going ahead and watching the movie and answering the questions, the best that we can from that film, and then and then be done with that. So we're not starting, that we're not starting the first of the year behind, we've actually accomplished something that was kind of on our to-do list that we're pushing off. So that's always a fun way to get to get rolling back into it or have a documentary ready so that you know that they need to get back into the routine. But we can do it in a very gentle way. We don't have to rush back in and you know, full-on, and you have to do everything because nobody, nobody likes that feeling. I mean, like you said, Rachel, there are seasons for a reason, it's not summer break, you don't have all this time you have you have a finite amount of time off. But it is hard for humans to get back into that. So knowing that and just having a plan, I think just that just having a plan is like the best thing that you can do for yourself, as you're coming back in. And it doesn't need to be like 8 to 815 815 to 930. It doesn't have to be like a serious schedule, but it just having the date, you're going to start back, maybe one activity that you know you're going to do for sure. And I don't know about you guys, but it tends to be at the end of the holidays, all that build up all that good stress, bad stress, eating a lot of things that you love that aren't necessarily good for you that, you know, cuz sickness kind of tends to come in around the first of the year, it's like, okay, now all of that is we got through everything. And now oh my gosh, we're sick. So just being really mindful that January is tough for individuals, whether you're affected by the weather, whether you're in a cold area, and just knowing that there's going to be time to get through that stuff. So to be gentle with yourself, I think is super important. All right, ladies, in closing, what are some words of wisdom you have for our listeners around this holiday season?

Sharon 32:22 I would say that we touched on it earlier was spending time with, like the grandparents with a family or the friends, close friends, that at least I'm trying to remind myself is to make the memories over whatever actual academic thing is going on. Like if you can, if you someone has called you up to like, be a little more spontaneous, like you said, Rachel, and go and do the thing with the friends, you know, maybe bake the cookies with the friends or something, make that memory because that's going to be more, it's gonna last longer than cramming that one last thing in before the end of the year, or whenever I can do that later, that book will still be there. Make that memory!

Rachel 33:12 For sure. I think, I think also for me, Don't compare yourself to everybody else on the block. You know, that's my, that's always my problem. Because I always think that I'm not enough, I'm not doing enough. I'm not making Christmas fun enough. Or I'm not doing enough school, or everything. They just don't compare yourself. You are not racing against other people, we are doing the best that we can for our family, like we know our family the best. And we know ourselves the best. And we know what we need to do for Christmas and so and for whatever holiday that we're celebrating. And so I think to just be kind to yourself, it's okay. They don't look what everybody else is doing. Do what you want to do. And be okay with that. That means that you lay around your pajamas and watch Christmas movies all day because that's what you want to do. Right? That's what you want to do. You know, if you want to just cook everything and eat everything one day, fine, that's perfect. Just do that. It's, it's you. It's not about people. It's not about what anybody else might think of what you're doing. It's what you want to do. This is the holidays, be kind to yourself, be kind to your family, and choose happiness over stress.

Janna  34:32 I'm definitely going to take that to heart, as I am a family who I would love to be that family that does the matching pajamas. And it's never going to happen. It is not going to happen in my household. I don't have that buy-in from everybody. So I gotta let that go. And I have to appreciate the families that do that and watch those reels and see those pictures and be happy for them. But also be happy for me because while we may not be doing that we may be doing some we're doing something else that makes us happy. And so Rachel, I think that was really well said so thank you. Thank you guys so much. Thank you guys for listening. I hope this was an encouragement. We are really excited for you to go into the holidays this year with just peace and grace for yourself and your family. So until next time, bye-bye