Dec 12, 2012

Our Simple Christmas

Liam, Christmas 2011

There are so many opportunities to get caught up in unnecessary stress and totally lose focus during the holiday season. Whether you're judging yourself by what others around you are are doing or simply putting unnecessary pressure on yourself to make Christmas "the most wonderful time of the year" (regardless of the costs), holiday time can quickly turn into the "most dreaded time of the year." To prevent this, we've evaluated our own family's experiences during the holidays. We've decided on what works for us, what is consistent with our goals and values as a family, and what needs to go. It has helped us to keep focused during the holidays and to eliminate unrealistic expectations that can quickly lead to disappointment. This is an ongoing process, as our family is ever-changing.

With that said, I thought I'd share a few ways that our family has chosen to simplify the holidays this year...

Things we are doing/did:
  • Making simple homemade ornaments for our little tabletop tree
  • Building a gingerbread house with the boys (using a store-bought kit)
  • Buying a few presents for the boys
  • Going through the boys' toys and donating things that are no longer played with
  • Visiting Christmas in the Oaks with friends
  • Attending a few (but not all) holiday parties that we've been graciously invited to
  • Completing advent readings (using this calendar and booklet) each night in December leading up to Christmas (the particular book we're using is better suited for older children, but we're making it work for our preschooler this year)
Things we aren't doing/didn't do:
  • Decorating the outside of our house for Christmas-- This may or may not happen in the coming years, but so far it just isn't something we've seen as important.
  • Buying each other presents-- We tried buying each other gifts our first year of marriage and decided it just wasn't for us. We've come to the conclusion that we enjoy experiences together much more than we do exchanging gifts, so we save our money for little getaways together throughout the year. It also gives us more freedom to focus on others during the holidays. Simply stated, it works for us.
  • Sending out Christmas cards-- I love receiving Christmas cards, but the stress of sending them out isn't worth it for me during this season of my life. This is something we decide on year by year depending on how much Mama can handle.
  •  Hosting our own holiday party-- We do enjoy hosting small gatherings throughout the year, but we're intentional about not over-booking December. So far, hosting a holiday party just hasn't fit on the calendar. 
  •  Making Santa Claus a part of our Christmas celebration-- I realize this is a very personal subject. Each family should make their own decisions regarding this matter. For us, it simply isn't consistent wth what we teach our children throughout the year about Christ and the true meaning of Christmas. 
I know there are several others things that could have made these lists, but it wasn't my intention to be exhaustive. Neither was it my intention to convince you that your lists should look like mine. I simply wanted to encourage you to take a little time to make a few simple, "unique-to-your-family" decisions that could really make all the difference in your enjoyment of the holidays.

Wishing You A Simple, Joyful Holiday Season, 



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