Relationships

Episode #29: Perry Family Holiday Traditions

Listen to this episode 41 minutes

On this week’s episode, we are talking about the importance of holiday traditions and sharing some of the traditions that we celebrate every year.

This week’s episode is a very topical discussion as we approach the end of the year. We are talking about holiday traditions.

Russ and Mika have been shaping and forming their own holiday traditions over the last ten years of their marriage.

The traditions that we create with our families can last generations, and they can have a huge positive impact on our lives. This time of year it’s easy to get caught up in those traditions, though, and some of those traditions can even become a source of stress in our lives.

Today we are talking about how we can cultivate meaningful, positive traditions with our families, and sharing some of the traditions that we celebrate every year.

 

In this episode, you will learn:

• How other people can pressure us into following their traditions.
• Some of the holiday traditions that we had growing up.
• The new traditions that we’ve created with our family.
• Tips for staying organized during the holiday season.

 

Mentioned in this episode:

RussPerry.co
MikaPerry.com
Sobr.com
DesignPickle.com
Russ Perry on Instagram
Mika Perry on Instagram
The Sober Entrepreneur by Russ Perry
TheSoberEntrepreneur.com
The Russ Perry Show
Mouse Tales by Arnold Lobel
Trolls – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Autumn’s Gold Grain-Free Granola Bars
Anthropologie
Capri Blue Fir and Firewood Scented Candles
Capri Blue Volcano Scented Candles
The Gap by Dan Sullivan
Descendants – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Costco
Episode #26: Why You Should Go on a Staycation
Kung Pow: Enter the Fist
Fairmont Princess
Power of Moms Podcast
Impact Church

Do you have questions, comments or suggestions for this show? Send us an email at Hello@GoodtoBeHomePodcast.com!

 

Transcript:

Russ Perry: Everyone, welcome to Good to Be Home. I am your co-host Russ Perry.

Mika Perry: I am Mika Perry.

Russ Perry: We are excited to have another time of your day. This week we are talking about something that’s pretty fun and seasonal. It is traditions.

Mika Perry: For the holidays.

Russ Perry: For the holidays. Traditions have been something that we have been shaping and forming over our now almost 10 years of marriage, but it is a way that all areas of life … generationally, you shape up your family through traditions. This time of year it’s kind of easy to get caught up in the traditions.

Mika Perry: They can be good and bad, depending on your perspective and how you allow it to come into your home and your life. It can be overwhelming. I think a lot of people are very stressed out during this time of year. It’s a really easy time of year to get focused on materialistic things, so I think traditions help to bring it back to what’s important, to keep your life in balance and remember that it’s about your family, those you love, perhaps a religious affiliation as well and honor those.

Russ Perry: Right. Well, speaking of traditions, we have one every week here. That is listing out what we’re reading, listening, eating, and loving. You can find the whole list over all of our episodes over on our website goodtobehomepodcast.com. It is tradition, Mika, for you to go first, so take it away.

Mika Perry: All right. For reading, I am reading with first graders. I have been volunteering in Reese’s classroom in reading groups. It’s just 30 minutes about twice a week. It’s the cutest thing. I actually did my student teaching in first grade, so I used to run reading groups. It really brings me back to that really happy time. I love first grade. I think it’s such a fun where they’re emergent readers. You can see how they’re learning. Some are better than others and they’re just improving. It’s so fun to be a part of. The book that they’re reading right now is called Mouse Tales. That’s what we’re focusing on.

Russ Perry: Oh.

Mika Perry: Yeah.

Russ Perry: Nice.

Mika Perry: It’s cute. That’s what I’m reading. Listening, I’m also listening to the Trolls soundtrack on repeat in my car.

Mika Perry: Paige juts in and goes, “Trolls. Trolls. Trolls. Trolls.” I actually like it because we have a DVD player in our car. I tend to use that a lot. Recently, we haven’t been using that because most of our DVDs are scratched and-

Russ Perry: More out of lack of DVDs.

Mika Perry: Yeah. I started playing it on iTunes and they’re loving it. It’s really cute because I look in my rear view mirror and I see Paige singing Trolls. It’s just adorable. That’s what we’re listening to. Eating, I’ve mentioned before the Autumn’s Gold grain-free granola. In a past episode, I discovered it. It’s grain-free. It’s delicious. They now have a bar. They made it into a bar and they have it at Costco. I feel like I’m giving a lot of Costco recommendations lately, but that just where I go.

Russ Perry: I’m kind of you for this introduction into our food ecosystem.

Mika Perry: But don’t you feel better that they’re grain-free?

Russ Perry: Well, not when I eat six of them-

Mika Perry: Don’t eat six of them.

Russ Perry: In a day.

Mika Perry: Eat your trifecta of prepped meals for us.

Russ Perry: I should.

Mika Perry: Here’s the thing is you’re falling into the trap of snack food being the most easiest to grab when you’re on the go. That’s what makes healthy eating hard sometimes.

Russ Perry: Also, when you have delicious granola bars.

Mika Perry: You’d rather choose that.

Russ Perry: Yeah. I love granola. I’ve-

Mika Perry: Well, I’ll put … I don’t know.

Russ Perry: I’ve been a lifelong granola fan.

Mika Perry: Yeah. They’re pretty high calorie. That’s the thing about the granola that I have been avoiding, but something about it being grain-free and also really, really good, that makes me happier. It has nuts and seeds in it and I feel like I need more of that in my life for sustained energy.

Russ Perry: At least for the next few years and then we’ll find out that’s now bad for you-

Mika Perry: Oh, gosh.

Russ Perry: And it’ll just all go around.

Mika Perry: I hope not. All right. I’m gonna be positive about it though.

Russ Perry: Good.

Mika Perry: I think it’s good for us. Lastly, loving, you all know I love my scented candles. Here’s another one I’m gonna drop for you. It’s from Anthropologie. it’s the Capri Blue brand, which I think many of you women, maybe men too, know as the makers of the Volcano Candle.

Russ Perry: Oh.

Mika Perry: If you walk into Anthropologie … do you even know what store I’m talking about, Anthro?

Russ Perry: It’s the store with the really cool display cases.

Mika Perry: Sure. Yeah. They do a really good job-

Russ Perry: Great.

Mika Perry: With visual merchandising-

Russ Perry: Yeah. Merchandising.

Mika Perry: Okay.

Russ Perry: I knew.

Mika Perry: All right good. Well, when you go in, they always have it burning, so it’s kind of like the Anthro scent.

Russ Perry: Got it.

Mika Perry: Signature. Well, they come out with holiday scents. This is one I picked up recently.

Russ Perry: What is it?

Mika Perry: It’s called Fur and Firewood by Capri Blue.

Russ Perry: Okay.

Mika Perry: The scent they make and are known for is called Volcano and it’s a blue jar. We’ve had it in the house. I’m sure you’ve not noticed. This is their holiday one and it’s in a green candle. It was on an Anthro Day sale. I bought several of them.

Russ Perry: I wouldn’t say I noticed it, but I did nose it.

Mika Perry: Wah wah. You know what’s funny. You … Okay. I love candles-

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: It’s the one thing that I “collect,” but really I hoard it. The other day we got in the car and Reese goes, “Mika … Mom, you should donate some of your candles. You have too many,” ’cause that’s what I tell her when she has too many toys. Anyway, that’s fine. I wanna keep these.

Russ Perry: You got a shout out. One of your friends was in our neighborhood was … I caught her at the park. She’s walking to another house and she’s like, “I now give candles as … I buy candles in excess and it’s the best gift when you don’t have a gift and you just need to give someone …”

Mika Perry: Yep.

Russ Perry: Shout out to Ashley Blackman-

Mika Perry: One of-

Russ Perry: For learning and listening.

Mika Perry: My longest best friends.

Russ Perry: Right. It’s a good point. It’s a very generic thing to have for any occasion of a gift.

Mika Perry: That’s why I have it. It’s crazy how quickly I go through them because they’re great as gifts.

Russ Perry: Right. Would you consider yourself a candle connoisseur?

Mika Perry: Getting there.

Russ Perry: What’s the higher levels? They have-

Mika Perry: A master psalm for candles. I don’t know. I’d be interested to become that, ’cause I love candles so much.

Russ Perry: Got it.

Mika Perry: That’s so basic. All right. Your turn.

Russ Perry: All right. I am reading, or rereading, a book that one of our friends gave to us. It’s called The Gap by Dan Sullivan. This book is actually kind of hard to find. I don’t think you can buy it straight up. I looked on Amazon actually. You can get the audio CD, so in your car, Mika, you could listen to it. This is a shorter book. Dan Sullivan is a world-renowned strategist and business coach. This book is so simple, though. Really what it comes down to is this concept of how you look at your accomplishments.

The theory is this, it is we all want … or many of us want to accomplish something more. There’s this horizon we’re chasing, this horizon, this ideal vision of us and what we wanna do. It’s important to have this greater version of ourself. It’s actually one really unique characteristics of humans and homo sapiens is that we can imagine a version of ourselves that’s not our current version and work towards that. Not sure if you knew that, but that’s very rare. I think dolphins and apes can maybe do it, but we are the best at it.

This idealistic version of ourselves is important to drive us forward, but what happens is when we accomplish something if we continue to look out to this idealistic version, which he refers as to like the horizon, well, you never get to the horizon. There’s always the horizon. We could accomplish so much in life and yet still be disappointed or frustrated because we’re continually looking at the horizon. What he says is instead of looking at the horizon, you need to look back at where you came from and have the gratitude and appreciation of the journey you’ve been on. It’s a simple thought and I like it because it balances this necessary … I like thinking big. I like having the ideas of, “Where am I gonna be in a year or two from now?” Then I know that when I get to the next step, I don’t continue to look out. I actually look back. Man, when we look at the last 12 months-

Mika Perry: Right.

Russ Perry: It’s crazy, but yet I can … I know, at least for me, if I look out ahead at the next 12 months I’m like, “Ah. I’m not where I need to be. I wanna be more. I wanna do more,” kind of mentality.

Mika Perry: I’ve done my Engramme, which is my personality test. I’m … I love achieving and Type A kind of. I know that’s … For me, that’s easy to do is to look ahead and to dream, even, for what’s ahead, but so often you forget to reflect and see where you’ve come from. Also, I can be hard on myself. I know you can, too. This is a great reminder. I’ve heard this is many-

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: Contexts, even as a mother, don’t be so hard on yourself as a mom. Think of all you’ve accomplished-

Russ Perry: Right.

Mika Perry: With your children. Great reminder.

Russ Perry: Just to sum up, he talks about two people could achieve the same thing and one person is happy and the one person is depressed. The depressed person is comparing themselves to the ideal, to the horizon, whereas the happy person is looking back at where they’ve come from.

Mika Perry: I love that.

Russ Perry: Yep. All right. What am I listening to? Well, oddly enough, I didn’t know you were gonna list the Trolls soundtrack. One of the traditions me and Reese have every morning when I drive her to school is listening to the Descendant’s soundtrack.

Russ Perry: We’re listening to that. If you’re wondering why I’m so great at all of the Descendant songs, it’s ’cause we are listening to them every single day. Eating, well, I don’t know how I feel about talking about this, but I’m going to ’cause I live a truthful life. I had a Costco pizza slice yesterday, and it was so good. I actually got in trouble with Reese because I was starting to eat hers without asking and she gave me a lesson in manners saying, “Dad, you need to … if you want a bite of someone’s food, you need to ask them. You can’t just take it.”

Mika Perry: That’s right, Dad.

Russ Perry: But the sauce was … there’s gotta be sugar or something in the sauce ’cause it was really good and it was all crispy, cheesy. Think about it, ladies and gentlemen, I bet you’ve passed by that weird food court so many times at your trips to Costco. When was the last time you got a slice of pie?

Mika Perry: A pizza pie.

Russ Perry: Of pizza pie.

Mika Perry: I’ve actually had it probably more than you because I’m the one that usually goes to Costco.

Russ Perry: Oh.

Mika Perry: I’ve … Paige and I have sat down before for a slice of pie before.

Russ Perry: I’ve not had it in years.

Mika Perry: Yeah. I think maybe a couple times.

Russ Perry: It’s solid.

Mika Perry: Yeah.

Russ Perry: It’s a crazy good deal, but also gotta be on point when you’re ordering. Where’s … You got to have the money, cash only. There’s a weird grade school line system, just like-

Mika Perry: Yes.

Russ Perry: Tape on the concrete of how you’re supposed to line up.

Mika Perry: It’s really hard to do that with your cart.

Russ Perry: Yeah. Man.

Mika Perry: The zigzag.

Russ Perry: Costco, come on. Anyway, I love that pizza. Loving, I love the blackout mode on the Mac.

Mika Perry: Yeah.

Russ Perry: If you’ve updated your OS, which is operating system, on the Mac to the new Mojave operating system-

Mika Perry: Where do they get these names?

Russ Perry: The earth.

Mika Perry: Areas of the earth?

Russ Perry: Parts of the earth. They were doing mountain faces for a while.

Mika Perry: Lions, I think.

Russ Perry: Lions. The [inaudible] themes. I wear a lot of black. I’m into black. I think black is a real classic color. Now you can black out your Mac with the new Mojave OS update.

Mika Perry: It’s pretty cool. I feel like it’s hard to see, though.

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative). But you know, that’s like I thought the iPhone Plus was ridiculous. I was like, “This is huge. Why would anyone need this?” And I love it.

Russ Perry: Well the reason they did it was actually to lessen the strain on your eyes-

Mika Perry: Yeah.

Russ Perry: So less photons are hitting your retinal cornea.

Mika Perry: Oh.

Russ Perry: Science. Okay. Let’s move on to traditions. I wanna start, actually, with a critical conversation.

Mika Perry: On holiday traditions.

Russ Perry: What’s the difference?

Mika Perry: Traditions and then holiday traditions.

Russ Perry: Okay.

Mika Perry: We’re talking about just the holidays-

Russ Perry: Okay.

Mika Perry: Today.

Russ Perry: Well if … I just assume we don’t … okay. You’re right.

Mika Perry: Oh, you wanna talk about traditions in general.

Russ Perry: In general, yeah.

Mika Perry: I’m sorry.

Russ Perry: Yeah. We’ll get to holiday traditions. We’ve mentioned this story before but I wanna bring it up for any new listeners. When Mika and I were going through really our toughest times of rebuilding our marriage, we saw a counselor. I vividly remember a session of many, don’t remember all of them, where our counselor, Jamie, was saying that he’s listening to us and listening to us and listening to us and around the holidays. He’s like, “Guys,” and this is paraphrasing. Maybe, Mika, you remember more specific. He’s like, “Guys, you are in your new marriage. You are so focused on upholding other people’s holiday traditions that you need to create your own traditions for your family. Your kids are gonna remember your traditions.”
That was just a click in my mind. One key thing that I think everyone heads into the holidays with are also having to participate in a lot of other people’s traditions. That’s why they get so crazy. Whether it’s the work party, Aunt Jodie’s rum cake fest, the gift exchange at that volunteer group you do, or … there’s all of these things. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the most important traditions out of all are your traditions.

Mika Perry: I think it’s awesome that there’s so many fun things going on around the holidays. You just listed all those and in my mind, I was like, “Aw, that sounds so fun.” I was thinking of all the ones … all the invites I’m already getting now for the holidays that are so fun. It’s easy to say yes, but I think it’s the most important time to think about what you’re saying yes to. Everyone is gonna be different. Some people can have a lot of different things going on and still uphold their traditions and create new ones, and do all the things they wanna do. Whereas, some people might be more pressed for time, other things going on. It’s important to reflect on what are your priorities?

Russ Perry: We’ve talked about this in the past. We talk about one of our traditions, staycations, in a recent episode. You can check that out at goodtobehomepodcast.com. We’ll get to the holiday versions of them, but ultimately, Mika, why are traditions important for a family?

Mika Perry: Well, traditions are important because they give a sense of belonging to your family members. They give a sense of what they can expect, familiarity. Kids especially like that. There’s comfort in that, to know that they’re part of a tribe and they know what to expect. It’s something to look forward to. Traditions give a sense of purpose to your family. Traditions can not only mean about yourselves but also for others. What are your traditions to help other people and contribute as a person, as a family, in a society? Traditions give clarity to what’s important to you in life. One thing I wanna mention when we’re talking about traditions here is someone commented on a recent post. I talked about staycations. We had an episode just about that tradition, but they mentioned this can be done for single people, too. I need to make that clear, that we’re talking about it as a family because that’s what’s applicable to us, but if you are single or if you are married but without kids, these still apply.

Russ Perry: Right.

Mika Perry: You can create traditions just for yourself. You can create traditions within a couple. It’s to not do everyone else’s traditions. It’s to think about you.

Russ Perry: Right.

Mika Perry: It’s okay to be selfish here.

Russ Perry: Reminds me of my old tradition I used to do with my friend Josh Deal, where we would watch Kung Pow, the Kung Fu movie every Christmas day and drink some champagne.

Mika Perry: And get Chinese food, right?

Russ Perry: And we’d get Chinese food. Yeah. We weren’t married. We had … Not necessarily the most meaningful tradition, but it was a very funny movie and something we did look forward to until we had to grow up a little bit.

Mika Perry: Yeah. You had your annual Halloween party that went for a decade.

Russ Perry: Many years, yeah. I’m probably gonna bring it back.

Mika Perry: Yeah.

Russ Perry: Now that I have more space and time. Traditions are something that can allow you to have a sense of joy.

Mika Perry: Yeah. Totally.

Russ Perry: For no … You don’t need a big reason for it.

Mika Perry: Yeah.

Russ Perry: Just-

Mika Perry: It can just be fun.

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: They can just be fun. This time of year is when a lot of that fun happens.

Russ Perry: All right. Let’s get down to business. Mika really wants to talk about holidays. Mika, real quick. I wanna pick your brain. Tell me about some holiday traditions you had growing up that you really liked? Give me two or three.

Mika Perry: Okay. I come from a small family. It’s me and my parents. That’s the core unit. I’m an only child. We moved around a lot and we had family all over the place. I had family in Japan, in Oregon, in Ohio, and Florida. I actually didn’t have a lot of consistent traditions to be honest. I do have good holiday memories. We did, for a few years, drive from New York to my grandfather’s house in Ohio. I remember one Christmas, the Christmas I found out there was no Santa Claus was in Oregon, where I slept by the tree to catch Santa.

Russ Perry: Solve the case.

Mika Perry: Solve the case. Prior to that, I had lived in Japan and my Japanese grandfather bought a pine tree and planted it in the front yard as a Christmas tree.

Russ Perry: Wow.

Mika Perry: This huge tree.

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: He was like, “I want you to have a Christmas tree.” Those are the moments I remember when I think about the holidays. In Japan, also New Year’s is really big.

Russ Perry: Right.

Mika Perry: That tradition-

Russ Perry: Talk about one of those.

Mika Perry: Was consistent. You get money from relatives and you have an amazing feast. The night before, you watch this TV show that’s like a variety show and you eat soba, which is noodles. Then you go to the temple and ring a bell. It’s really fun.

Russ Perry: You don’t … You’ve had lots of traditions.

Mika Perry: Yeah, but what I wanna point out is tradition is a consistent-

Russ Perry: Right.

Mika Perry: Thing. It’s not an event. It’s a consistency thing.

Russ Perry: That’s why you love the holidays so much now is ’cause-

Mika Perry: I can be consistent.

Russ Perry: You can be consistent with it.

Mika Perry: Yeah, maybe. Maybe.

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: You know, you don’t have to always be, year after year, consistent with the same thing. We’ll share here, there’s new traditions you can introduce.

Russ Perry: Right. A few on my list is I had this … there was this retirement RV park next to where I grew up down in Tucson. We would go look at the Christmas lights, but it was basically these … folks had nothing else to do but decorate their RVs and it was insane. The craziest Christmas light setup on all these little RVs and I just remember going. We’d get a wagon, tow my sister around, and there was one friend of my grandmother. That’s how we got connected ’cause she had some friends that lived there she went to church with. We’d get hot chocolate and it was real hot chocolate. It was so gross and bitter. I just was like … It always was like, “Yay,” but terrible and smelled like old people. It was just-

Mika Perry: Ew.

Russ Perry: Cute, you know?

Mika Perry: Yeah.

Russ Perry: It was nice in hindsight. Also seeing my dad. I would see him in the holidays ’cause my mom had primary custody so we would visit him on holidays. That was always exciting, getting to go visit with him. Then, related to my dad, we would always get to open up one present on Christmas Eve. I remember this vividly. We would always open up my grandmother’s present from my dad’s mom ’cause she would always have food or she would always do the cheese and sausage kit. That was exciting to open that up and then to eat that. That’s when I also learned how to use an Exacto knife to cut thinly the tape to open the packaging, to see what was there-

Mika Perry: No way.

Russ Perry: And then close it back you.

Mika Perry: You were that person?

Russ Perry: Oh, yeah.

Mika Perry: What joy did you get from that?

Russ Perry: The joy of knowledge of knowing what I was gonna get.

Mika Perry: Nice.

Russ Perry: I’m sitting across from Mika and she literally is chomping at the bit to go through her holiday organizational system. I’ll hand it off to her in a second. She has her planner out with all these post its and all the traditions. I will say that we have evolved over the years with holidays and traditions. As we talked about in a previous episode, with overwhelm versus stress, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. One of the best ways to combat overwhelm and to not get to that point is to plan, to set boundaries and to plan.

Mika Perry: I recently polled my Instagram followers on how do you combat stress and overwhelm. A lot of you said, “Make a list. Plan it out. Write it out.” Here in a minute, I’m gonna share with you this year how I’ve planned out the holidays. This plan I wanna share with you because it also gives you insight into our Perry family holiday traditions. They might be similar to yours. They might be new. If you’re looking for a new holiday to share with yourself, a friend, a partner, your family, these might give you some ideas. Very traditionally, we go to Christmas Eve service at church. Recently in the past couple of years, we introduced a new tradition is that Christmas Eve we got get Japanese food.

Russ Perry: Yes.

Mika Perry: If you don’t know, I’m part Japanese. My mother’s full Japanese. Our kids love Japanese food. After church, we found our favorite Japanese restaurant here in the valley, in Scottsdale called Hero Sushi. We now make a reservation for Christmas Eve Japanese-

Russ Perry: Right.

Mika Perry: Dinner.

Russ Perry: I’ll point out, our kids, if you give them a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, they’ll act really offended and, “Ah.”

Mika Perry: They won’t touch it.

Russ Perry: But they’ll eat seaweed for breakfast.

Mika Perry: So weird.

Russ Perry: Weird.

Mika Perry: That’s our Christmas Eve tradition. We don’t open gifts. We wait until Christmas morning. Then, Christmas day we do the traditional Christmas gift opening and then just kind of hang out at the house. Your mom, my mother-in-law, several years ago made this really yummy blueberry cream cheese french toast casserole, so I’ve been making that the past couple of years for the morning just to have around. The feeling of Christmas morning with everyone with a mug of coffee and music playing and that Fur and Firewood candle going and then a casserole’s ready and everyone’s in their pj’s. It’s just … ah. It makes me so happy. We get a roast from Costco. That’s kind of our tradition here. Oh, you know what? I do have a family one is that my uncle used to always make this roast and also Yorkshire pudding, which is like a bread kind of.

Russ Perry: Isn’t York … Isn’t that kind of dog?

Mika Perry: British. Yeah. It’s a kind of dog.

Russ Perry: What’s in a Yorkshire pudding?

Mika Perry: It’s just oil drippings and flour and it puffs up into a bread. It’s kind of cool.

Russ Perry: Oh.

Mika Perry: Yeah. You use it for-

Russ Perry: Sounds delicious.

Mika Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Those are kind of like our right around Christmas day traditions, but we have traditions before that, proceeding that, starting from Thanksgiving. After we host Thanksgiving at our house, I’m a big Black Friday shopper. It’s not necessarily the deals that I’m after.

Russ Perry: It’s the rush.

Mika Perry: It’s the rush and the adrenaline and also the zen calm feeling of being able to shop at an ungodly hour of the night or morning. I’ve mentioned before-

Russ Perry: Without kids.

Mika Perry: Without kids. I’ve mentioned before that I love sunrises. That early, early morning feeling I love. To combine that with shopping and getting a great deal on, say, candles, what could be better? My … Part of my personal holiday tradition is going by myself Black Friday shopping. I put on really comfy clothes, get a coffee, crank up the music, roll down the windows ’cause it’s not bitter cold out here in Arizona-

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: It’s nice and I go shopping.

Russ Perry: You know, actually, Maddox likes being a part of that. She brought it up going-

Mika Perry: She wants to now?

Russ Perry: ‘Cause you brought her-

Mika Perry: I did.

Russ Perry: Two years ago.

Mika Perry: Yeah.

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: I took her clothes shopping. I’ll bring her along, then, but I feel like I need to have one trip by myself though. Maybe the kickoff outing.

Russ Perry: The 2:00 AM, or now it’s just the day. Even Thanksgiving you can go shopping, I think, now on actual Thanksgiving.

Mika Perry: Oh, I know. They just keep making things sooner and sooner. I don’t agree with that. Okay. Some family traditions that we have is going to the Fairmont Princess. I think your … if you’re local here, you know that the Fairmont Hotel has an amazing Christmas setup. We go to that. We watch Polar Express and have hot chocolate, so family movie night. We’ve been taking, every year, family photos. This year, I’m gonna say here that I’m a little on the fence about what to do about holiday photos.

Russ Perry: About taking them?

Mika Perry: Taking them and also holiday cards.

Russ Perry: Are you concerned about the environmental waste that holiday cards are producing every single year.

Mika Perry: Perhaps, also just the-

Russ Perry: Hell.

Mika Perry: Yeah. The reason why is because last year I didn’t … we didn’t get as many and a lot of people didn’t send them out. I think social media’s taking the place of holiday cards, whether that’s Facebook or Instagram.

Russ Perry: Is it egotistical to send out holiday cards?

Mika Perry: I don’t think it started that way. I think it was the only mean of communication back in the day to say, “Hey. Happy holidays.” We didn’t have social media and text messaging.

Russ Perry: Right.

Mika Perry: It’s now turned into … yeah. It’s definitely an industry. I don’t know. I love holiday cards. I actually keep every year’s set of holiday cards from everyone that we get. I love the creation process of it, selecting the card, taking the photos, but it does take a lot of time and here’s where it gets into, “Let’s prioritize what’s important for our family.”

Russ Perry: You know what I like the most? Of all the people we get holiday cards from, take a guess of who I like the most and what it is?

Mika Perry: Your Aunt Marge or someone that writes like a typed letter-

Russ Perry: My Aunt Tara.

Mika Perry: Oh, Tara. Yeah.

Russ Perry: My mom’s sister, step-sister, my aunt, she writes a funny letter. It’s a printed piece of paper, computer. I think that’s the best.

Mika Perry: Yeah.

Russ Perry: It’s thoughtful and there’s interesting information and it’s not just like, “Here’s our picture from D.C. Ranch.”

Mika Perry: Yeah. I’ve … which, guys, friends, who are doing that, going to D.C. Ranch and taking photos, please don’t take offense.

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: I think it’s super cute.

Russ Perry: We’ve done it several times.

Mika Perry: We’ve done it. I’ve also incorporated personal things into cards before, like updates on the kids. Here’s the thing is that I feel like I’m on social media enough and most of the people that I connect with, friends and family, are also there too.

Russ Perry: I disagree. I don’t … I think the people who care the most about us are-

Mika Perry: Not on it.

Russ Perry: Not following.

Mika Perry: Yeah.

Russ Perry: Again, audience, thanks for listening to us. I know you care about this. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, all of that.

Mika Perry: Yeah.

Russ Perry: They like that connection.

Mika Perry: Yeah. I agree. Okay. I’m on the fence of that one at the moment. I’m … I haven’t decided. I haven’t prioritized that yet.

Russ Perry: Maybe there’s a different alternative.

Mika Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Let me think about it some more.

Russ Perry: Okay.

Mika Perry: I do like having the holiday photos. It’s nice. Then, traditions don’t have to be very big. They can be very small. Some traditions here is make sugar cookies. Reese and I did that last year and it’s the first time I did royal icing with professional icing strategies and it turned out really great. Walk around the neighborhood to see lights. We … oh. Last year, I started a tradition because in our new house, we can have two trees now, one up in the playroom and one downstairs. I’m a little bit of a control freak when it comes to the holiday decorating and how that looks. To alleviate that, I decided to get a tree for upstairs for the girls that they have their say in how it’s decorated. It’s a white tree. Last year I took them to Target to buy their own ornaments. The way I did that is that Maddie was 12 so she can pick out 12 ornaments. Reese was five so she bought five ornaments. Paige, I’d picked one or something, two for her. This year they’re gonna get more so that eventually this … the tree will be-

Russ Perry: Until they’re 18?

Mika Perry: And then they’re 18, the tree is gonna be overloaded with ornaments. When they’re 18 and they leave the house, they can take these ornaments with them and they have a collection for their new personal holiday tradition tree.

Russ Perry: That’s so smart.

Mika Perry: Thanks.

Russ Perry: Now, what happened? Why did we stop using all the Star Trek ornaments that I have? ‘Cause those … I felt like that was a tradition that really got shut down.

Mika Perry: That was an old tradition of yours that just didn’t make it.

Russ Perry: Okay.

Mika Perry: Other small traditions is buying Christmas pj’s. I’m including that on my Black Friday shopping list or Cyber Monday. I take part in that, too. I have an advent calendar that I got from Paper Source. It’s this big hanging thing, so filling that. I alternate with candy and non-candy items. Then, I heard a new tradition I’m going to implement this year. You may be like, “Mika, you have so many traditions that you’re doing.” Well, this is a small one and I think this one is important. This is one I’m gonna prioritize this year, is reading a Christmas story or singing Christmas carols as a family by the fire at night, whether that’s nightly or I think we’re gonna do it on a Friday pizza night.

Russ Perry: Right.

Mika Perry: Starting after Thanksgiving, that first Friday, we sit by the tree. I think we’ll have our tree by then, whenever, read a story. I’m gonna go on Amazon, get some Christmas stories and read those. Then, let’s not make this all about us. We definitely do take part in giving, the gifting part of the season. Last year, we did this program through our church, Impact Church, on adopting a single parent and their kids. It was women in a nursing program I think, or they were women in college trying to get their degree, so we helped them out and bought their Christmas gifts. Then I went with Maddox and met the mom at the … at this big location. I gave them all the gifts and then we wrapped gifts together so that they could be a part of it. It’s not just like, “Here you go. Here are your gifts.” They at least got to wrap the gifts together.
We also, last year, started to make packs for the homeless and the mistake we made with that is that we-

Russ Perry: Let’s be clear. Let me say, you made.

Mika Perry: Okay. We had these … We made a bunch of homeless care packages. Maddie typed up a Bible verse and put it in there. We had chocolates, which melted, and water bottles and decided to keep them in our car so that whenever we would see someone on the side of the street, we’d give it to them. Well, we found out that when they’re on the street on the corner, it’s hard to grab it and then get it out and then not hold up traffic, one. Two, there’s not a lot in our vicinity, this-

Russ Perry: I had no problem with this program.

Mika Perry: Okay. Also, the kids would eat them as snacks.

Russ Perry: Here’s the … Let’s get the story straight. I feel like this is going … I’m getting … The tradition was we had a cool assembly line. There was more than chocolate and water. We had granola bars. We had Cliff bars. We had water. We had the Bible verse. We had a piece of chocolate-

Mika Perry: Applesauce.

Russ Perry: Applesauce. We made these non-perishable Ziploc bag kits and me and Mika split it up. We had about 30 each or even more. I think it was close to like 40 or 50 each in each of our cars. I kept mine in the front within arm’s reach and I’m not driving with a bunch of kids. I’m usually by myself in the car. I had a very easy time distributing these. Mika, on the other hand, is like, “Mom. Mom. Mom. [inaudible].” There’s [inaudible]. They became chaos and they sat. Like you mentioned, you started eating them yourselves.

Mika Perry: Well, the thing is you … I have the mom car-

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: And we eat in the mom car. You do not. You have a strict rule. No eating in dad’s car. I think that helped-

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: As well. That’s our learning lesson is that maybe the intention was there, but strategically we didn’t think it out-

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: I couldn’t say no to some of the snacks.

Russ Perry: This year, we’re gonna still do it, but we’re gonna go-

Mika Perry: Spend a day, go out-

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: Distribute care packs. I’m gonna include socks, toothbrushes, personal care items, ’cause I know that’s big, also shoes. We’ve done some programs with the homeless and shoes are something that’s very needed, so see where we can incorporate that. We’re gonna change that tradition but still keep it around. Also really simple, just making gifts for neighbors. I think a day of baking and just taking it around, some treats, sounds very old fashioned but I think it’s old-fashioned for a reason and still around. I definitely wanna do that.

Russ Perry: It kind of makes sense if we live so close to everybody to connect with them.

Mika Perry: 100%. 100%.

Russ Perry: Right.

Mika Perry: That’s kind of a rundown of what we do as a family and the traditions. Russ?

Russ Perry: I’d like to add some.

Mika Perry: Go for it.

Russ Perry: Okay. Mine are simple. Mika literally has this on lock. I love our traditions. The few things that I do and that are new that I’m gonna be introducing, one is I love to … I run my businesses. We have an office but there’s a lot of people that work remotely. Between Christmas and New Year’s, we have mandatory work from home days. The offices are closed. Everyone is at home. There are the actual days of Christmas, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, that are “closed,” but because we have a business that can’t just close for a week, we are supporting clients and doing everything, we just tell everyone to stay at home. One of my traditions during that time is I actually do go to the office and I take advantage of nobody being around. If you seasonally have a company or work at a company that slows down during these times, spend a couple days, usually mornings during the week, to get ahead and use that time. It’s a tradition for myself so that I feel really prepared for the new year.
Also, one thing that I’m gonna be doing this year, this is a brand new thing, we’ll see if it becomes a tradition, is we’re gonna be doing thank you cards before Thanksgiving for our teams and support that all support us. From everyone, for all the services that we employ and hire and all the people that help streamline and support our family and our businesses, we’re actually in lieu of holiday cards in a lot of ways, we’re gonna give out small gifts and thank you cards to those folks. Haven’t done that yet, but I just think that makes more sense since Thanksgiving is the holiday of thanks, to recognize and acknowledge that.

Mika Perry: Yeah, actually, I started this tradition, that reminds me, a few years ago for teachers. I give them a Thanksgiving gift. I still give them a Christmas gift, too.

Russ Perry: Right.

Mika Perry: I don’t think they expect a Thanksgiving gift, and that is a huge thanks. Thank you for being my kids’ awesome teachers.

Russ Perry: Yeah. That’s it. We can go through Mika’s other 28 traditional post-it notes, but can you tell us, explain this one final thing that you’re doing, that I keep referring to with the post its and all this?

Mika Perry: Okay. Well, not one final thing, but let’s just talk about planning-

Russ Perry: Okay.

Mika Perry: Holiday planning, how that is … it can be stressful. It can be overwhelming when you have so many events and things and tasks you need to do. I recently heard this on a podcast called Power of Moms. It suggested to write everything for the holidays that you need to do on post its. Now, I say, “You need to do,” because you should include some tasks. I have here, buy wrapping paper, buy teacher gifts, buy gifts is kind of a given, but specific people you need to give gifts to and all sorts of other things, and also your traditions.
The reason why post it is suggested is because then you can just do a brain dump and then put them in order of priority so that you can reflect back and think about, “Okay. How do I make time for the most important things and then how can I maybe weed out or streamline the things that maybe are not as important?” Especially if you’re just feeling overwhelmed about it, if the holidays are a time of stress for you. That’s why I did it on post-it notes. I just sat down and did a brain dump of everything we do in the holidays and what we need to do.
I took it a step further. On the back side of each of these items, I wrote down my to-dos for these things. For example, make sugar cookies, you flip it over and I say, “Buy supplies and ingredients.” Christmas at the Princess, you flip it over. Make reservation. Christmas stories and songs on Friday night by the fire or by the tree, buy Christmas books. All of my tasks I’m putting on the flip side of this. I have a prioritized list and then a to-do list all right here.

Russ Perry: I don’t know if this is part of the tips, but you can grab a couple of those each week in order, kind of priority, and it’s-

Mika Perry: Totally.

Russ Perry: Ready to roll.

Mika Perry: Totally. I think there’s so many ways to organize your holidays. I remember back when I was really into Pinterest and I know it’s still around, they have holiday printouts and gift lists. It’s really important, I think everyone agrees, to just kind of write it all out and get it out because when you have it on paper, then it’s exciting and not as overwhelming. When it’s out of your head, we’ve mentioned this before, you realize, “All right. I gotta … I can handle this. This isn’t as bad as I thought it might be.” Maybe you end up with 100 post its. That’s overwhelming, but at least you can see it and you’re not thinking about it swirling around in your brain.

Russ Perry: Well, then it allows you to cut back.

Mika Perry: Exactly.

Russ Perry: If you do do this and you have 100 post its and it’s crushing you in terms of how much you need to get done, that’s when you get liberal with what you will say no to-

Mika Perry: Yep.

Russ Perry: Which ultimately if there’s one final, for real final, tip of the holidays is less is more. Try to do things that are deeper, that are more connected to those that you care and love about. Mika, you hit the nail on the head. The simple things are often the things that matter the most. They don’t have to big and crazy and extravagant. They can be … Our Friday pizza night, which we’ve done for years, is a tradition. That’s ordering pizza on Friday.

Mika Perry: Yep.

Russ Perry: That’s it.

Mika Perry: That’s it.

Russ Perry: That’s all we do. Ladies and gentlemen, we love to hear about your traditions. We have listeners from all over the world, all different kinds of cultures and backgrounds. We’d love to hear what you do in the holiday season, specifically. You can share those traditions with our fancy email system we have. You can email us, hello@goodtobehomepodcast.com. We can post those on social media and share your traditions with others. Mika, what else?

Mika Perry: If you wanna connect with us in other ways, we’re on Instagram, Russ Perry and Mika Perry, our handles. You can catch any of our past episodes on our webpage, goodtobehomepodcast.com. We also have a place where you can enter your email and get a list, a master list basically, of all of our favorite things. It’s all of our reading, eating, listening, and loving, all compiled into one that we will send to you. It’s kind of a secret page. You can only have access to it if you enter your email. Then, also, be sure to subscribe on iTunes. If you just came across us now, thank you. Welcome. We’re so excited to connect with you. Really help us out if you share with your friends and family. Maybe you have a stressed-out family member or something about the holidays or you have your mom friends, if you wanna share this episode, Four Ideas for the Holiday Season, we would really love that.

Russ Perry: And a great rating if you do get on the iTunes.

Mika Perry: That’s five stars, guys.

Russ Perry: Five stars.

Mika Perry: We really appreciate it.

Russ Perry: All right. Well, we’ll see you next week on Good to Be Home. Take care everyone and happy holidays.

Mika Perry: Bye.

Russ Perry: Thanks for listening to this episode of Good to Be Home.

Mika Perry: And don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes and give us a rating.

Russ Perry: See you next time.