One of my most favorite parts of blogging are the conversations that happen here; no matter the topics or time zones, there always seems to be a chat to join! While you may visit to read my words, I write to read yours. Which is why I’m hoping you’ll jump right in to my newest series called Design Mom Asks. To get the first exchange of ideas started, I asked a few lovelies to finish the following sentence: The holiday season officially — and happily! — begins for me as soon as…

And here are their stories.

Amy Turn Sharp of Little Alouette:
…I go downstairs and open the holiday boxes. Every year I quickly scribble a note to myself that starts out “Hey girl!” and then I just ask myself some questions about my year. What happened big? Did you stress out less? Are the children wiser? Were you kinder? Do you have more love?, etc. And every year I seem to forget about it until I open the box and gasp. I usually cry.

Christine Koh of Boston Mamas:
…three things happen! First, my daughter, Laurel, and I ramp up our baking into high gear, whether it’s holiday pies or special treats for visitors. I’d argue that this mile-high apple pie is good any time of the year.

I also make a giant batch of magic salt, as I do every holiday season. Packaged in pretty jars, the salt is perfect for little token gifts and makes everything taste better! Along the way I also discovered that salt in a tray makes for lots of sensory fun for little kids.

And breaking out the holiday décor of course really seals the deal. I’m especially partial to our little handmade items (like the paper garland at top).

I hope you – and all of the wonderful readers of Design Mom – have a spectacular holiday season!

Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind:
…my husband Ken and I settle in for a hot chocolate / Christmas movie night. We both work from home, so it’s all too easy to stay in and work from our office the majority of the year. It seems that Christmas is the only season that forces us to hibernate, relax and enjoy each other’s company. I look forward to our quiet movie nights all year long!

Melissa Meaders McArdle of Reverie Daydream:
…a candy cane is placed in my hand. Fond memories of my great-grandfather filling my glove-covered hands with peppermint sticks and the crisp, fresh flavor that danced on my tongue signals the start of Christmas. The simple red and white stripes are jolly indicators of festive moments to reign supreme all through December. This year, my heart skipped a beat when my little three-year old crumb squealed with glee, “CHRISTMAS!” at the sight of her first candy cane. And onward the tradition goes…

image via McArdle Images

Jules of Pancakes and French Fries:
…I unwrap my collection of glass Christmas tree ornaments. I started collecting glass ornaments when my husband and I became engaged thirteen years ago. Each year, I buy a glass ornament that best encapsulates the year coming to a close. Now that we have two boys, I also buy ornaments that reflect their recent interests or achievements. I don’t limit myself to style or color, which is why my tree has a glass shark (when he was three, Nico loved sea creatures), a golf ball and tee (my husband’s a fan), and Yoda. My only rule: no filler ornaments allowed, no matter how pretty! If I don’t find what I’m looking for, I let it go and trust the perfect ornament will pop up in the future. I’m still searching for ornaments that represent our sons’ first words (Mikey, flower; Nico, sock). They’re out there waiting for me. I just know it.

Our tree, when compared to most, can look a bit bare since we don’t use filler ornaments. It’s been fun to see the tree fill up year after year, and I can only imagine what it will look like ten years from now. The best result of my slow-and-steady tree trimming is that every year we get to reminisce as we decorate the tree. Each ornament is linked with a memory, and by the time we place the star on top, we’ve not only put up a tree…we’ve built a life.

I’m smiling, aren’t you? And I’m very much feeling the holiday spirit, thanks to these heart-warming traditions. Many thanks for sharing them with me, sweet ladies!

Now it’s your turn. Will you finish the sentence, please? The holiday season officially — and happily! — begins for me as soon as…

I can’t wait to hear your answers!