This post was sponsored by T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
The holidays. Ah. Take a deep breath with me here. In our house, they are the zaniest, most hectic and messy time of year and I really wouldn’t have it any other way. I look at our 18-foot tree and think of how many gifts I still have to buy, and all I can do is smile. That’s our way! We signed up for this, or rather, life handed us some twists and turns. Family is everything.
My husband and I are both from blended families. When I was very young, my father passed away suddenly. My mom remarried a man with three kids (he lost his wife the same summer) and we became “The Brady Bunch”. That’s the only life I know, and I know that family is everything. Now my parents have eight grandkids with another one on the way. As a professional photographer, I try to capture all of what makes our family so special. And there’s a whole lot of that!
With five kids – each of us with our own needs and bedrooms – we’ve had some fun times together. Since our blended family had four family sides, we would often double up in bedrooms so that guests could have a quiet place to sleep. In fact, I think we had house guests more than we didn’t! Some stayed for long visits. With a big family, and a lot of friends, we got to grow up witnessing just how big our parent’s hearts are – to care for so many people without a second thought. I admire that so much. I strive to be that way, if I’m not already. My dad’s parents are in their 90’s and he visits them weekly. My mom’s parents both lived to age 100, and my mom was the quintessential sandwich generation until my Nana Jane’s passing.
What’s been crazy for me is how similar my husband’s family is. Cassidy’s parents are divorced and remarried, so I have four in-laws. His great-aunt lived to age 104, so they have longevity on that side too. I think we both have a good grasp on the concept of family. Quite simply, family is everything, and that’s what makes the world go round. We go through everything together. No one else understands you like your family, and you don’t understand anyone else the way you do your family.
You know who we love? T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods. Why? They all understand that your family is your greatest gift, so they have introduced the Gift My Gathering contest! This contest inspires people to connect and celebrate what truly matters most – each other. This is really exciting! They’re making it possible for FIVE families from across the U.S. to come together and celebrate at a holiday gathering. Not only that, but T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods have teamed up with Carla Hall to share her tips and tricks for great holiday gatherings, allowing you more time to focus on what matters most.
Through November 28th, visit giftmygathering.com and talk about how they can help you gather with the people that matter the most this holiday season. Then, they’ll select five families from across the U.S. to make it possible for them to celebrate together with a custom holiday gathering. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Gift My Gathering is sponsored by The TJX Companies, Inc. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S., D.C. and Puerto Rico, 18 & older. Begins 8:00 a.m. ET on 11/13/17 & ends 11:59 p.m. ET on 11/28/17. For official rules, visit giftmygathering.com.
Not to mention, that we LOVE T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods and especially this time of year because they have everything we need for family gatherings! And I’m talking holiday décor, entertaining essentials, and gifts for loved ones! In fact, that reminds me of one of the ways our holidays are unique – and that’s starting with our holiday tradition #1 here:
1 – We do AMAZING Secret Santa exchanges. Since there are five of us kids, and spouses, we pull names and then have fun shopping for our Secret Santa recipient. And this is separate from getting all the eight, almost nine, grandkids gifts. Last year, I pulled my brother’s name and got him his special gifts at T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods.
2 – We grew up celebrating both Chanukah and Christmas. Well my husband did as well, and so did my brother-in-law. It’s so special to show our kids the wonders of the holiday season and I love our traditions.
3 – Building on that, every year we have a huge Chanukah party and two huge Christmas parties with three sets of grandparents.
4 – We have a huge brunch and then stay in our pajamas all day until the huge dinner. What a luxury!
5 – We always get a pretty crazy tree!