Every so often I have a breakthrough, a moment when everything feels right and clear. I had one recently while brainstorming what holiday traditions I want to start doing with my kids.

You know, because it’s our job as parents to make this season nothing but magic for them, right?  That’s what we have been conditioned to believe, anyway, in this day of Pinterest, mom blogs and Instagram perfect moments. (I wish you could hear the sarcasm dripping as I write these thoughts).

But there I sat, searching for the best (read: most time consuming) advent calendar to make for my daughter while wondering how to find the time for all the baking we have to do together in order for her to have a “fulfilling holiday experience.” (I want to punch myself for even typing those words).

And then, it hit me: the expectations over all we would do and enjoy were creating the perfect recipe for stress and disaster. Isn’t that the complete opposite of what we long to create?

So our tradition this year is an important one: simplicity. My goal for our family is to actually enjoy the holidays instead of just making it look as though we did on Instagram. (Those filters really help with that, don’t they?)

I stopped searching Pinterest for a DIY advent calendar and remembered the awesome magnetic Christmas tree version my sister-in-law gifted us last year. I stopped short of teaching my daughter the “right way” to use the calendar and just let her enjoy playing with it.

I stopped searching for the perfect location for a perfect family photo for a perfect holiday card and instead chose an image of our kids from a session earlier this year.

I stopped trying to find the most intricate-looking Christmas cookie recipe and instead dug out my favorite sugar cookie recipe from my great aunt. (I cannot wait to eat some of those!)

I stopped chasing down the latest toys and gadgets and instead picked a few things I know my kids will actually use and enjoy.

And let me tell you, this simplicity tradition has quickly become a new favorite. I’m not stressing, I’m not losing sleep and I am actually spending time on things this season that I love, like hosting a little holiday get together with some girlfriends—simple and easy appetizers included.

We don’t need to MAKE magic for our kids at the holidays. The magic happens organically when we take the time to actually enjoy each other and this time of year. This tradition of simplicity is one I will be proud to pass along to my kids one day.

Happy holidays!

Featured Photo Courtesy: Melissa Cooper