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Dec. 19, 2022

Episode 78: Merry Christmas to All with Bailey Olsen

In this podcast episode, DJ invited Bailey Olsen back on the show to discuss the holiday activities & traditions that meant a lot to them in adolescence. Listen in as they talk about the things they do now with their children and grandchildren and offer up some unique ideas for you to make Christmas meaningful for your family.

Bailey is a second and third grade elementary school teacher and just like our beloved host (who she happens to be related to), Bailey has a passion for teaching children. When Bailey isn’t performing her favorite job of them all, wife and mother, she serves as gymnastic coach which has been a passion since she was a young girl.

• [3:07] DJ & Bailey discuss their most unforgettable Christmas memories.
• [10:44] DJ articulates why it’s important to be aware of family members who might be alone on Christmas. 
• [15:05] Bailey talks about the camaraderie of being with your siblings during the holidays.
• [38:56] Bailey shares some of the traditions that get people into the spirit of Christmas.

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DJ Stutz  0:13  
We think you should know that Imperfect Heroes podcast is a production of Little Hearts Academy USA.

You're listening to Episode 78 of Imperfect Heroes - Insights Into Parenting, the perfect podcast for imperfect parents looking to find joy in their experience of raising children in an imperfect world. And I'm your host, DJ Stutz. Normally, Bailey Olson joins me on episodes that end in zero, but we decided to mix things up a little bit. So this time, she's on episode 78. And we are talking about just the things that meant a lot to us as children growing up, we talk about things that we are doing now, with our kids and with our grandkids, and we're offering ideas to you on ways that you can make Christmas meaningful for your family. And I know that we have less than a week away from Christmas this year, what a joy it has been. But you know, there's still some things you can do. And there are a lot of things you don't have to do. So let's listen in.

Before we get started, I just wanted to thank everybody for being a part of Imperfect Heroes. Those of you who've been such loyal listeners for this past year and a half have just meant the world to me, as I have worked hard to make life a little easier, a little more interesting, and a lot more connected. And so I just wanted to take this time, just a few days before Christmas to say thank you and Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah. And whatever you celebrate, I hope that you celebrate, enjoy, and in strengthening relationships. And I hope that you feel loved this day. So let's listen in. 

Welcome, everyone. Bailey Olsen is back. So we're excited to have her here. And today. Like always, we're talking about things that we're doing with our kids. And Bailey is still in the thick of it with her first and second grader. And we've got just a few more days before Christmas. It's it's like a week, it's already here. Yeah, for sure. So everyone's lost their mind. Too many of us are stressed out from trying to do too many things at once. We've got travel plans, we've got maybe family coming over. And

Bailey Olsen  3:07  
if your kids are in school, maybe a couple more days of school till they get released into the wild. I know my kids have school this week. But then after that we have the two weeks where they're home. And it's so fun. And also everyone's hopped up on sugar, at least my family. So we're a little more crazy, a little bit more fun.

DJ Stutz  3:27  
Yeah, busy, busy. I think busy is the key word. And sometimes we get so busy that it's hard to keep in mind what's really going on this season and what you know, the reason for the season is and to find a way to slow down and really think about why we're going to all of these extremes and how that all fits in. So I thought, well, Bailey and I thought that we would talk about some of those traditions, some of our memories of growing up. And some of the things that we maybe did with our parents when we were young. And then things that we're doing with our own families and not for me, I've got the grandkids you Bally's know a few decades off from there. But but we're just talking about some of the things that we can do this week. It's a busy week. It's a crazy week. And so just relax, have some fun, maybe put us on while you're baking some of those cookies or prize or whatever, and just help us get into that season. So Bailey, I thought I'd start out with is there a Christmas memory that really sticks out in your mind whether it's from when you were a kid or with your kids?

Bailey Olsen  4:46  
You know, I have a lot of memories around Christmas because it's just a memorable time. It is a very memorable, memorable time. So if you're new around here, you know that are sorry, you don't know that. At D Jay and I both are one of seven children. And so seven, yes, we are both the oldest of seven. So chaos is no stranger to us. I imagine my mom as we were growing up. And I imagine she was probably pretty stressed at Christmas. And in talking to her these days, I know she was very stressed around Christmas she hated, still hates shopping has always hated shopping. And she has seven kids to get Christmas all set up for and always had a baby. And that's a lot of work. And you want to know what I remember her being stressed out, zero. I don't remember that at all. And I know that there had to been hard ones. But I have to say my most memorable Christmas. We live far away from her family, all of our family lives in Utah. Both my family and my husband's family live in Utah. And we live in Michigan, and my son, he was born around Thanksgiving time. And so our very first Christmas away from any family. And our only Christmas to date, actually, of not being with family was when we stayed home with our two little kids. My daughter was 16 months old at the time, Christmas came around, and my son was just a month old. So it was our first Christmas just us and it was honestly a really sad Christmas. In the moment. I remember having moments where I would just cry and be like, This isn't fair. I won't be family. It's too quiet. Why is it quiet? Um, and the funny thing is now I look back my as my favorite Christmas.

DJ Stutz  6:43  

Bailey Olsen  6:44  
So that interest to know it was sad. You know, I love that it was quiet. I love that it was slow. I love that I had moments to actually think about my Savior, the birth of Christ and how wonderful that was. And I I struggled with infertility a lot. And I went from having infertility and really wanting to have kids and trying for five years to have kids having two kids 15 months apart by accident. And it was really, really hard. And I was exhausted. And I was mad at myself for being exhausted. Because I had prayed for so long to have these babies in here I was with them, and exhausted and in tears. So I just remember that Christmas feeling extra close to my heavenly Father. And you know, even if you're not religious, just feeling the spirit of your family and the spirit of joy that you get to feel when when I was giving my everything at that point in time. Like, my sleep, my health, everything. I was getting it all and feel. I guess just to feel close to my father at that time. I guess that's what most memorable for me.

DJ Stutz  7:59  
Yeah, you know, last just this last Christmas. Because everyone's gone. We've got the five kids in five different states and all of that it was our first Christmas is with just dress and I. And so that was really hard. For me. I was decorating Why am I decorating kind of thing. But we we did we got along great. I do have a nephew that lives in Littleton, as well, we were in Littleton Colorado, then we're not anymore, of course, but so we went and had dinner with them and on Christmas Eve and had those things going on. And so that was very nice. And they had their kids and some of their grandkids not all their kids are married yet, but it was so there was that piece but Sunday or not Sunday, Christmas Day was just so quiet we slept in, you know, and we just kind of looked at each other because two seconds dope in our presence. So that was a hard one for me. And my husband loved it.

Bailey Olsen  9:17  
You know and I just remembered to my husband really wanted to get me some cute pajamas for Christmas Eve because I was really sad that I wasn't going to have matching pajamas with my sisters. That's always been a fun tradition. So he went out right before Christmas and he went to Victoria's Secret which makes it sound like they were skimpy, but they were not. And got some really cute they were so cute and today they are still some of my favorite pajamas. But on the way home from getting those pajamas, the last minute he got in a pretty epic car accident. And he was fine. Thankfully he had no injuries and the other driver had no injuries either but both of the cars were pretty messed up. So he was the always saying that pair of pajamas cost me like $3,000. So there were a lot of hard things surrounding that Christmas, but it's also kind of a joy, like I think of you and your husband at that time, like, kind of where it all started, you know, that was like. So even though like, there's hard beings, and, you know, it's good to recognize that, that it's hard. And also, there's a bunch of beauty and just having it be just you. And all that being said, I don't know if I could bring myself to have another Christmas away from all of our family because it was so sad. But it's also one of my favorite. So it's so interesting how, just how that all works out?

DJ Stutz  10:44  
Well, I think it's interesting, because everybody has their own personalities and what they love. And it's funny, because our first Christmas together, you had, it was just stress. And I, my family lived in Washington state by Seattle. And but Ross's family lived fairly close by and so they kind of took over everything. But that morning was just us, just him and I. And it's funny, because that was quite lovely. You know, that was really a lovely time for us. And then fast forward several decades. We were alone again. And they were very different feelings, although the love between us was still there, and knowing that we had accomplished so much in our time together. And that's always special too. But I think that as we are preparing for Christmas, and we're so close, I think really being aware of family members who are away or might be alone, or whenever we've got so much available to us now for FaceTime, and Marco Polo, and zoom and all of those things, that we can at least make that connection at some point where it works for everyone, but it's worth it to go out of the way to share those connections.

Bailey Olsen  12:07  
I think about even Amazon, okay, I always try and pick like a few of my friends who maybe have had a hard year or maybe they got a divorce. And they're alone this year on Christmas, because their their ex has their kids or for whatever reason, I always try and pick at least a couple friends too. Even if I don't know them that well, to amazon prime them a little something. It's so easy. And it takes 15 minutes, and you can find a good book or something that can help them on the day of and it helps them to feel special. So but you know what the funny thing is, I was thinking about my favorite traditions growing up. This is the dumbest tradition. And it is always the tradition that I talked about at Christmas time. And so I was trying to think of why it was important. Let me tell you the tradition. In my at my house, we always had a Christmas tree, of course. And it was a big to do when we all decorated with Christmas tree. And we always got real trees. And my dad would have to string the lights onto the Christmas tree. Right. So that took forever. And we would take the next step after the lights was the were these red beads kind of like a string of popcorn beads, but they were red beads red wouldn't eat. And every year me and my siblings would get the red beads out and make a trail from the Christmas tree all the way around the house and try and make it to my parents room that every every strand had to be connected, right? That is the tradition. That is the tradition of making the trail of the red beans all the way to my mom's room. Did my mom set that up? No, she did not. Actually, in my mind, I picture what happened is us kids trying to decorate the tree and my mom trying to keep us busy and away from the tree so my dad could light the tree. And she said go take the beads, see if you can make a train with the beads. And we did it every single year. I literally wrote an essay to get into college about the red beads on my Christmas tree. Seriously, seriously. And so I've been thinking lately like, why was that meaningful to me? Why? Why is that? What always it has nothing to do with Christ. It has nothing to do with getting a gift. Right? Why is that the thing that always comes to my mind. And I realized it comes to my mind because me and all of my siblings the baby that whoever the baby was every year the baby the other kids we all worked together. Usually we were working to keep the baby away from the beads so they didn't destroy our path. Right and maybe figure out how we could cut the corners so that we can make the beads go all the way back to my mom and dad's room because there's only so many Why did we celebrate it For a year when we made that happen, because we knew we could do it, we did it every single year. But I think it was just the camaraderie that I felt with my siblings. I don't even know if it means that much to any of them these days, like, I don't know, but to me as the oldest that was like, I loved it. And so I'm always thinking of like, what are my kids going to remember, because I don't remember the gifts that I got. I don't remember. I also remember one year, my mom decided to add the string of lights, but she got like fake lights. It was just like on a string. But they were like little fake lights that were just kind of sparkly. To add to it, and they got tangled. And I also remember every year on tingling, Rose. Wow. But isn't that the most random move. But I

DJ Stutz  15:51  
think that's a big point of our conversation today is that it very often is not the big gifts or, you know, the big deals, that really resonate for the rest of your life. It's those simple little things, the camaraderie of being with your brothers and your sisters and making all of that happen. And I know your dad, he's got just this great big personality that makes everything kind of fun. Everything's a fun thing. He's really good at that. And so I think it's, if we have a message to our listeners today, I think one of the big ones is, it's those little things, you don't have to do this big, giant, huge production. You can do some small things and do them every year. And they will be meaningful to your kids. Those will be the things that they remember.

Bailey Olsen  16:53  
Absolutely. So so something about me is I am guilty around Christmas time, we have an elf on the shelf. And our elf on the shelf is pretty fantastic. If I do you say so myself. Our Elf on the Shelf puts a lot of effort into making Christmas special. And he has challenges for kids to help other people and he has little trinkets for them. And he comes up with really fun ways to travel with us because we always travel at Christmas. Our Elf on the Shelf is a big deal. He has a big to do but he is a he puts a lot of daily effort into it. Let's just say that and while we do you have a male health. You know, there's a lot of work that goes behind what that brings you right to know every day. It's a lot. Now, I love that. i It makes me happy. It makes me excited about the holidays. If I'm so excited to wake up every morning and see my kids faces when they figure out where the elf is what elf has done. We don't have a silly elf that does like toothpaste on the mirror or stuff or he did he's not an audio. Now if that works for your family, and that brings excitement and joy and Christmas spirit into your family. Do it that way. That is a great way to do it. That's not how our elf is we adopted a very inspirational elf. Who, you know gives them things to do. Now, that being said, especially here we are a week out from Christmas. Think about what do you want your kids to remember what I want my kids to remember is all during the holiday season. And they were ready to just enjoy the day and they started their day off with something surprising and new and maybe a challenge. And you know, I that's what I want them to remember. And I want them to remember me being so excited over oh my gosh, have you seen her the elf is look at how creative they are. I hope they remember that. I hope they feel the excitement that I feel when they find the URL. I hope they do. But if they don't, I had a lot of fun doing. Now that brings me joy. My mom, on the other hand, that would stress her out like crazy. That would make so much frustration and it's such a big fuss. And she would be like No, I'm not no, we're not doing that. It wouldn't be very stressful. And then what would the kids remember her being stressed out or at health or you know, whatever, whatever it might be. So I think it's important. Maybe your thing is baking and you guys make a special treat and plan a special treat once a week or twice a week or five days a week. I don't know whatever your family wants to do. So that is something that I guess, especially a week before Christmas, I wanted to bring up is that, you know, do whatever this week will bring you and your family joy, what do you want them to remember and then build that it doesn't matter where you are right now, it doesn't matter if you haven't done anything this week, doesn't matter if you don't have any money to do any extra things. Write a little note that challenges your kids to give them a piece of paper and say, I'm going to challenge you guys to write down one thing every day that you're grateful for leading up to Christmas, you know, it doesn't have to be some big to do, it doesn't have to be some huge thing. It can be is that brings you joy. But if if that stresses you out, do something that just brings you joy and happiness. And that's, that's what your kids are going to remember is the feeling.

DJ Stutz  20:55  
That's so true. And I love that you brought up if it brings you joy, but it would not bring your mom joy. I know your mom, well, I agree to stress her out. And so for all of our parents, sometimes we feel obligated to do Elf on the Shelf, or we feel obligated to do some, you know, community thing or a thing at church or whatever. And maybe that is something that brings more stress than it's worth. And so you've got to look at your list. And so we've got about a week before Christmas now look at your list of things to do. And say do I really want to do?

And if the answer's no, cross

it off. It's okay. I have a neighbor in Well, I had a neighbor in Littleton. And right next door, this family had three little girls and the oldest girl was just so sweet. And a few times a year, but every time on Christmas, we would get a little just a note on our screen door she tuck it in. And it would just be like you're a good neighbor, or thank you for letting me play with your dog or I really like your smile, it was just different things. And on Christmas, we would have that. What a great thing that isn't going to cost money that gets the kids involved and excited. I think you could even move it into an I know you had some of these kinds of traditions growing up, but you would find a family or a person on your block or in the neighborhood that maybe was alone or maybe it was extra grumpy, grumpy neighbor, you know, and we would put something together a plate of cookies or, or boxes, See's Candy, or whatever you have. And we would sneak up on the door, you know, and we put it there. And dingdong did, we would ring the bell like five times and then run like mad. And the kids just were so excited. It was so much fun. And then you'd kind of hide in the bushes so you can see kind of try and see their reaction. So it's planning ahead because you had to like you're driving by Gabriel remember tomorrow night, we're gonna go to Joe's house and drop off this. Where are we going to hide? And how fast can we run and so you can have it build up even in today's but it doesn't even have to be something something as simple as a note or a card then you leave that to a neighbor's house is a great fun tradition that just just doesn't take that much effort. It's pretty easy. And so one of my favorite traditions was while we lived in Vegas for 20 years, Christmas Eve was at our house and there were years we had almost 50 people there

Bailey Olsen  24:01  
yeah those are some of my favorite Christmas Eve honestly though. I miss those we still do just with our own little family which you know our family has grown a lot now with marriages and births and all that but I still I'm like we need to do the funky chicken dance that we let me see your funky chicken we have this great dance that we did that my cousin DJs oldest daughter put together every year and it was the funniest and most fun ridiculous honestly think or or Christian her at her youngest would the oh the crazy where he's on par

DJ Stutz  24:41  
with Jack Black and I guess

Bailey Olsen  24:44  
Yeah, it was very funny and I we called it a talent show but it was like more of maybe a variety show that much talent and not a lot of talent. A lot of fun.

So Oh, yeah, yeah. I mean, you have cousins that had talent like, you know, playing the piano and things like that. And those were really fun to listen to as well. But it was mostly fun just to have a variety show and have everybody put on a random skit or dance. That was ridiculous. And yeah, it was, it was a blast. I still we still do that in our, in my siblings and my mom, dad.

DJ Stutz  25:26  
Yeah, I think a big part of it, though, was it went beyond family. We had friends that there didn't have any family close. Or we had one friend both while his mom had passed, and his dad had been not a part of their family since he was five, I think. And so their family came over. And so we wound up with a bunch of different families that went beyond our own DNA. And everyone was willing to participate, everyone was willing. And it was at our house every year. And it was not a stress point for me, because we all brought soup, or bread. And I didn't have to be cooking all day, I would just make my soup, my potato soup that I made every year. And that was my contribution. And I didn't have to worry about the other food, because everybody was bringing something. And then we took turns every year of who, which family was going to be in charge of the Nativity. Yeah. And so we had some really creative and different ways of doing the Nativity. And that was a lot of fun. And so I but I just really, I missed those so much is having those people beyond family to be there now that we're moving into a new state and all of that. Maybe we can get back into inviting people over and stuff and seeing things but

Bailey Olsen  27:08  
yeah, you know, what's funny is, I think about that time, right? And I very specifically remember a grumpy, older ish cousin than me. And I loved it. I loved the talent show. I love watching everybody's things. It was never long enough. For me. It was never ever long enough. It could have gone on for days. And I'm happy as a clam watching every person or lack thereof. And I remember a cousin and an uncle talking and being like, oh my gosh, we have got to start limiting the talents to one per family because this is getting out of hand and ridiculous. And they were like grumpy about the tradition that I was completely in love with. And it got me thinking about something that I heard, because we talked about traditions and things but influencers let's talk about social media influencers, right? And what do social media influencers actually do? That makes us want to follow them. They romanticize their life, whatever it is that that is their niche, right? They romanticize that they didn't understand that fully, until my sister came and stayed with me for a while. And she posted on social media pictures, she's staying in our she stayed in a room, which is over our garage, which is just like, how to go over the garage room is very, very basic. And she posted a picture of her journaling right by the window. And it made the room looks so cute, so desirable. I instantly wanted to know where she was staying and how I could see there. And then I realized it was my own house house. And I was like, Wait, you've made that look so cute. And she's like, well, I just put a little filter. And I you know, I was really happy in the moment sure about how she could journal and look out the window and see these beautiful leaves. And I was like, Oh my gosh, she just romanticized my room. And I this is like my junk room. This is my spare room, school room, craft room office area that I do nothing with. And she made it look so adorable. And I think, you know, as we as we go throughout our lives, you know, it's not fair to compare to other people because we don't have what other people have. We have what we have, right? And so even for me when I had that hard Christmas, now that it's over, it's easy to romanticize it's easy to think oh my gosh, that was the best Christmas ever. In the moment. I was like man, this is the saddest Christmas ever. And now I can romanticize it. And I imagine what I have enjoyed it even more had I romanticize it in that moment, if I would have thought, oh my gosh, look at how much extra time we get to spend together. When we stayed up till two in the morning putting together a kitchen set up. My daughter was honestly too young to enjoy it nowadays. Did we romanticize that? Or did we say oh my gosh, this is so stressful. My back hurts. This is so hard to put together, it's taking way longer than we thought it would take to put this silly kitchen together. Can we romanticize it and make it awesome when you have yours with just you and you unrest? Can you romanticize that and be like, Man, look at what we've gone through, look at what we have done. And now we're like, back to our roots. How can we make this more special, let's do this in bed or, you know, whatever, whatever. Things could bring us joy. So even if you're, you know, in a situation that you don't want to be in, or in a situation that's really hard, maybe you're completely alone, this Christmas, you don't have a spouse and you don't have and that's going to be sad, and it's going to be heartbreaking. And I'm not saying to ignore the fact that it's hard. Because you shouldn't do that. Acknowledge it. And then think of why is also awesome. When are you going to have time to get to know yourself more than when you're by yourself on a really special day. You get extra time to connect with your heavenly Father or whatever being the you believe in. Maybe you take time to connect with this, your inner self and think about what makes you happy in life, what brings you joy? How can you make changes to your life that are going to bring you satisfaction and excitement? You know, romanticize that sort of saying, Oh, I have to Well, ma'am, I get to I get to make 17 dinners this week, because I'm taking them around to everybody, I get to do dishes. And me doing all these dishes. 1000 times means that I'm building memories and yummy foods, and full bellies and happy memories for my family. Yeah,

DJ Stutz  32:04  
yeah. And I know that it can be hard to just find the joy in every moment. But I do believe that in almost every moment, almost. There is joy to be found. But sometimes you really have to dig in, that's hard. It's just hard.

Bailey Olsen  32:31  
And sometimes you can't dig for that good moment right away, right? You need to sit in it. And I mean, okay, my grandma, one of the best things she did for me, which I think I've actually talked about on here before is she told me she would set a timer, she would say this timer, I'm going to be perfect for the next few minutes, I'm gonna make no mistakes for the next 30 minutes or two hours, or whatever it is. And I randomly think about that all the time. And I have figured out something that works for me, that might not work for anybody else, is for me, when I'm feeling really down and sad, or alone or frustrated at whatever it is, I set a timer. And I say Alright, I'm gonna let myself feel it. I'm gonna let myself feel this next hour. I'm really sad. I wouldn't be heartbroken, I, I honestly get sad around Christmas time, because I wish I had more babies. I wish I had kids. I am so excited to get to be with my family this winter, this Christmas. And my husband's family, we have four new babies that will be under six months old, between the two families. And it is going to be so awesome to be with them. And also, it's going to save us a little bit because I should be on that train with them. I was trying to have a baby long before any of them are trying to have another baby and I'm still not pregnant. And so there's going to be hardship with that. There's going to be things that are a struggle, or me being with them. But to allow ourselves to feel it. When you say okay, I'm going to turn on the timer for three minutes. Or for one day, I'm going to give myself today, whatever it is and say this is my wallowing. I'm gonna feel it and I'm going to accept that it's hard. And then when that timer goes off when the sunrise is tomorrow, I am going to move forward. Right? Yeah. That's all you think. Yeah.

DJ Stutz  34:26  
And I think you can even create a tradition around the hard times do I know for me, probably my hardest Christmas the ball was in 1992. And so my dad died in a plane crash November 29. That was the Sunday after Thanksgiving. And he had spent his last night of his life in my house. He was helping us move. And anyway, the diet has private plane crashed. And that I was just I didn't want to decorate, I didn't want to do anything, we were going to head, we'd been up for the funeral, because we lived in Vegas. So we were going to go up to Utah. And then we went, we were going to go back up, so mom wouldn't be alone. And almost all of us did, those of us who could did. And so we were going to be gone, I didn't feel the spirit at all. And my husband went and bought a little small tabletop live tree. And he says, We're gonna decorate this, you know. And I thought that was sweet, but whatever. And then... it's very sweet. It was, wasn't it.

And then we planted it in our front yard. And it's amazing how that tree grew. And that was always grandfather's tree. We always call that grandfather's tree, and I'm not too long ago. He knows, sometimes you'll go and Google Map your old homes or whatever. And that tree is huge. It's just ginormous, probably too big for that yard. But it's just sometimes when you're really sad, and allowing other people to do kindnesses and, and be open to it. I think that that really helps, too, because that was very, very hard Christmas for me. And now, okay, things that work for us, but may not work for other people. We have an airplane ornament that is on our tree every year. As we remember, grandfather, which is weird, because that's how he died. But it's also what he loved to do. He loved flying. And so that ornament is meaningful to me. Anyway. And so you could take things and turn them around and incorporate them into your traditions. And they may be very small things like just hanging an airplane out ornament. On a tree that's full of Santa Clauses. We have it's a Santa tree. They're all Santa ornaments. Except for the airplane and the pickle. Pickle. Well, a pickle is it's a German tradition. And so you'd put the pickle one Christmas Eve after everyone's in bed. And then when the kids come down the first one to find the pickle ornament gets to open the first present of Christmas.

Bailey Olsen  37:29  
Oh, yeah. Ah, is a great idea. Oh, my goodness, listen, I'm literally writing down that I want to get an ornament for each my grandparents and add to the pickle at the pickle or to be on there because that is a great idea. Yeah.

DJ Stutz  37:48  
Well, and we always we always opened one by one. Did you guys do that?

Bailey Olsen  37:52  
Yes. We always open that was that and kids it took forever. Yeah. And it made Christmas last forever. Now with my husband's family. We don't do that my husband's family makes a huge to do of Christmas. And if they did one President at a time, I mean, because they do Christmas. You wake up Christmas morning and it's a free for all, okay? Is a free for all. You open all of Santos gifts, you open all your stockings, everybody, it is a free for all. Then you do a big breakfast together. And then you go to the grandparents house. And then at the grandparents house, everybody opens their president one by one there. And then you have lunch. And then you come home. And then you do the other grandparent who she is a widow. And so she just stays at their house. And then she makes dinner for everybody. And we do presents from mana in the afternoon this evening. And then in the nighttime, then you do presents from siblings and parents. We like drama. Wow. So it is an all day affair of President opening. So the morning is a free for all with the season tickets, whatever Santa brings. That's a free frost. So, you know it was really different for me at first I'm like, I want to see what everybody got. This is a very it's all going to pass. But the way they do it, it works out well for Well, I remember

DJ Stutz  39:21  
my dad with all of us he would come out every Christmas morning you'd have his yellow legal pad. And so he would write down DJ got X from Aunt Laura. And one of those traditions was we were not allowed to wear or play with whatever present we got until the thank you note was written. So we spent time you can tell what the favorite presents were because they were the first thank you notes to get Britain. And so you didn't have to write all the thank you notes at once. But before you could play with whatever, you had to write the thank you note, and then my parents would mail them off for us. But I thought that was a good thing that they did. Actually, that brings us back to that gratitude, you know? Yeah. Yeah,

Bailey Olsen  40:20  
it's very true. I love it, you know, my parents, we would always go through like little phases of trying different things at Christmas time during the holiday spirit round. And one of my favorite things that I think we you could even do it like the week of just the week of Christmas, is having we had like a little, little tiny wood manger, like the manger that Jesus was leaving, and then we had hay. But the hay was not in the manger, the straw that was laid in the manger, that was on the side, and you had to do an act of service. And every time you did an active service, you could put some hay in the manger. And then hopefully, on Christmas Eve, there would be enough hay in the manger for baby Jesus to have a comfortable bed to rest in. So anyways, I actually really love that tradition, too. That's one that I'm hoping to do this year and find that perfect little manger, and keep the baby Jesus hidden until Christmas morning.

DJ Stutz  41:23  
That's speaking about the trying to get those traditions that get people into the spirit. Sometimes they're a big fail. So one year, you guys hadn't lived in Vegas for long. And so for Christmas Eve, it was just your family and my family. And we didn't have the big groups going on. But I had in my head. So we lived at the end of a cul de sac. But if you went down to the end and crossed the street, it was big desert area, which is very common in Vegas, there's especially when you're on the outskirts of town. And so I thought my head office is going to be so spiritual, and so great. And so I went out and I had a little wooden manger and a little doll and I wrapped it up so neatly and nicely. And I put it kind of out in that desert area. And then dusk came and I had a big light. And so I put the flashlight out, you know, and then we were all in my mind, I had us all going out searching for the baby Jesus like the wise man. And then we would go there and sing these songs. And I had this vision in my head about just how spiritual it was going to be and how fun to go looking and all that it was a huge fail. Like, why are we out in the desert? Oh, like, we never did it again. But they still talk about it. My kids still talk about the search for baby Jesus. And yeah, how silly it was.

Bailey Olsen  43:06  
I love it. I actually think it's a great thought out plan. I totally understand that. It could be a very spiritual awesome experience. I just, you know, kids, you know, kids, it's either gonna be awesome, or is gonna be a tow. Well, it's a total fail, though. It's a great story.

It's a great memory. And do you want to know about it? What still think about even if they're just making fun of it? Because I know how my family is? Sorry? Yes. How? Even if they're totally making fun of it in the back of their mind, it's still like, wow, that was thoughtful that my mom put in the thoughts and tried to make it special. And yeah, it was a total fail. We hated every single moment of that it was freezing. It was terrible. She failed. But you want to know what, even if they don't say it out, even if they don't consciously think it. I think it is very clear to see like, oh, wow, mom put a lot of effort into that. She actually thought about that. And yeah, it wasn't great, but we did it. And those thoughtful things, I think are just are just so important. And how nice for you to feel like confident and proud of yourself because you carried out something that you wanted to do, and had you not done it. Would you have thought? Oh man, we should have tried that that wouldn't really

DJ Stutz  44:34  
have that vision, though. You know, sugar plums dancing. You know,

Bailey Olsen  44:38  
that's true that it could still be a positive.

DJ Stutz  44:42  
I was like, Oh, my goodness. Well, anyway, we're getting close to our time. And so do you have any advice for so we concentrate on eight and under with our podcast. So if you could give two pieces of advice to everyone out there, what would be your first and second piece that you would do?

Bailey Olsen  45:03  
First piece of advice would be to keep the day centered around most important thing, right? In my my belief system, I believe that that's Christ. And so I would want to keep my traditions and the spirit of the season centered around Christ. If for you, it is not about that, figure out whatever that most important thing is for you what makes Christmas so special besides the presence, and make sure it has a deeper meaning than just gifts, that will be my first piece of advice. I love it. And my second piece of advice is just exactly what I said earlier, romanticize whatever you are doing, change your mind of feeling like, oh, I have to do this and this and this to Oh, I get to do this, because I want this memory, and I'm going to build this memory, I am lucky that I get to be a mom and spend this time with my kids. Or if you're not a mom, I am lucky that I get to spend this time with family, I get to enjoy these moments. However they are even if you're by yourself, make it romantic, just make it happy and wonderful,

DJ Stutz  46:13  
whatever. That's some great advice. I think, because it's such a strong faith tradition for both you and I, I love the idea of truly centering what we're doing on Christ, and what he would have us do, and I truly do believe that he that he would want us to bring joy and to do fun things with our families and to build memories and, and all of that, but and then also to find maybe even just some simple things to do for others and, and to talk about how we love Christ. And his second great commandment was to love one another. And as you tie those in, the other thing I would do is things gonna go wrong. That's just how it works. You know, you've got your visions in your head like I did. And sometimes the thing that really makes a difference is something that you thought wasn't any big deal. And yet in the mind of your child, it's something that's going to mean a lot to them, I think a lot like your parents making the big train down the hall, just I just needed to keep them busy, right. And yet, it turned into something like that turned into something much bigger. And so I think if we keep our minds and our hearts open to the possibilities, and it's dead of being so down in the minutiae of the holiday, to look at, wow, look what they're doing. And being open to, sometimes those very small things that turn into very big things that make it special. So if any of our listeners would love to share some of their traditions that go on in their family, I would love to hear about them. So on Facebook, you can share them at imperfect heroes podcasts were there. And it's also imperfect heroes podcast on Instagram, if you want to tag us on anything you post, I'd love to see the pictures and hear about the stories and the traditions of your family. And I have no idea what my Christmas is really, in the end going to turn out. We've got this week left. We're in a brand new home. And we have a couple of neighbors, not many. And my brother who lives close, he's off with his family. So we'll just see how it is and how life brings it. Whatever the holiday brings to you. I hope that you are able to receive it with love. Bailey, any closing thoughts?

Bailey Olsen  49:14  
I love it. I think just hold to it. Whatever you're doing, make sure you find that joy.

DJ Stutz  49:20  
Yeah, finding joy. That's absolute. Well, thank you so much. And I wish a very Merry Christmas to everyone that's listening and my gratitude for everyone who's listening to Bailey who comes on every every zero episode. And just that you would do this with me means so much to me. And thank you to our listeners who are keeping us going. We'll be starting Season 3 in January. And so until we see you next time, let's find joy in parenting. Goodbye everyone.

Transcribed by

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Bailey Olsen


I am a second and third grade teacher as well as a gymnastics coach! I have been teaching school off and on for about 10 years, and gymnastics has been a part of my life since I was just a kid. My most important and most favorite jobs though, are being a wife and a mother.