simple holidays

Christmas is a crazy time of year. No matter how you slice it, it is way busier than any other time of year. It can be hard to keep up with everything – presents, programs, kid parties, cookie-baking, wrapping, obligations. It is just a lot. I find myself saying, “I just need to survive the holidays, I just need to survive the holidays.” What I really want to be saying is, “I so enjoy the holidays, I so enjoy the holidays.” This year instead of figuring out ways that I can just get through the holidays, I am finding ways to really embrace them and remember what they are all about.

So what am I doing this year differently to be able to enjoy this time?

1. It might feel like I have to say yes to every single invitation, but do I really have to? Of course not. If a night on the couch watching Elf and drinking hot chocolate with my family seems like a better idea than making small talk with strangers, I’m gonna stay home.

2. Only do the traditions that I really love doing. I put a lot of pressure on myself to have “the perfect Christmas” for my children. There are certain things that I have continued to do year after year because it feels like I have to, not because I really want to. This year I skipped the gingerbread house and the over-the-top cookie decorating session. The kids didn’t notice, or even ask me about it.  This leads me to believe that there might be a lot of things that I do that I say are for them, but are really for me. Let’s be honest, there are probably quite a few things that I do because it means something to me, and not to them. The things that I know that they love, they stay.

3. I really don’t like decorating every inch of my house for the holidays. This year, I only put out the things that I really love and make me happy. I skipped a lot of the holiday things that just take up space or that don’t really suit my taste. I don’t love red and green for the holidays, but feel like because some of these things were gifts that they have to be displayed. How silly is that? No one but the 5 people that live in this house will see them, so there is no need for me to feel guilty right?

4. I am not baking everything from scratch. I need to bring cookies and treats for a few of the kid’s parties, but why am I bothering to spend so much time in the kitchen when the kids really don’t care if they are homemade or not? Really, have you ever met a kid that refused a cookie because it wasn’t made from scratch? No! Use your time wisely. I saved hours not baking cookies so that I could spend the time making something that I really wanted to be special for something else.

5. I am keeping the presents simple. I have a lot of people on my list that a.) have everything they need and b.) really don’t want anything. A nice, personal gift does not have to be expensive or hard to get. I love to give gifts so I am always going to do it, but I do try to make my life a little easier. I order everything I can online. I pay to have it wrapped and shipped directly to the recipient. Since our family lives all over the place, this makes my life a million times easier.

The holidays are a time to spend time with family, rest, and enjoy the wonder the season has to offer. The only rules about how you spend the holiday are the rules you set for yourself. Spend time watching the snow fall, lounge in your pj’s, and have a Merry Christmas.