Put down the iPhone and step away from to-do list. You’ll want to soak in the delight of these blink-and-you’ll-miss-them moments.

By Sunny Sea Gold
Updated December 12, 2017
Richard Eskite Photography/Getty Images

A “holiday” is technically defined as a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done. Hmm—does that sound like your season so far? Sometimes we’re so busy trying to make this time of year perfect that we forget to appreciate the little spontaneous bursts of joy you just can’t plan. Let this list be your reminder to take a break from the wrapping, partying, shopping, traveling, and Instagram-worthy baking to stop and pay attention to moments that only come around once a year.

1. When you realize your kids are finally old enough to decorate the Christmas tree all by themselves—and you can sit back and sip tea, eat cookies, and snuggle with your partner. Actually, while they’re at it, aren’t they old enough to water the tree regularly and vacuum up the pine needles, too?

2. When you’re walking down the aisles at the store—any store, anywhere—and you notice all the sparkly, loud, metallic, star-covered wrapping paper and bows surrounding you. They’re like energy shots for your eyeballs.

3. When you notice how adorably ridiculous your father/husband/uncle looks when he’s walking around in public in a Santa hat. He’s an enormous goofball with no sense of vanity—and that’s just one of the many reasons you love him so much.

4. When you pin on your late nana’s glittery holiday brooch. She was so sweet. And the pin is so, so tacky. It’ll go perfectly with your new ugly sweater.

5. When you remember that gingerbread houses are actually made to be eaten. They’re not just for show! That stiff, fondant-style icing can be surprisingly tasty, and gumdrops taste way better than you remember.

6. When the kids and the dog all asleep on the couch together after dinner and you can't tell who's snoring louder.

7. Any moment that involves peppermint hot cocoa with extra whipped cream. Seriously. Drink it every chance you get.