Toys, food, parties, gifts, shopping, children laughing, school break….
Lately, the latter is all that Christmas has meant for me for really the past several years.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been wonderful times spent with my family and friends. I’ve enjoyed parades and church services and the smiles of my children.
But looming over ALL of this has been the big S Word – STRESS. And not even the good kind that gets you motivated and ends up being good for you.
No, this has been the kind that drags me down – dampens my spirit – makes me forget what Christmas really means to me.
So then I remembered – I’m an adult. I make my own choices. And more importantly, I’m a mom leading my family so the example I set now will be the one that my children will learn from.
So I decided this year, I’m making some changes. I’m having a Christmas Makeover so to speak.
No, we are not boycotting all gift buying this year or spending Christmas in Hawaii…though both of those actually seem like pretty good ideas for a future year.
No, the changes I’m making are not drastic but are significant enough that I think they are going to change my entire outlook on this holiday season.
1 – Limiting gifts for our children – I admit it, I have fallen into the trap of trying to make sure my girls get everything on their wishlist…of overspending and over gifting. To the point that I am actually disappointed on Christmas morning when they don’t seem that grateful for our gifts. And shame on me…because why would they be grateful? It’s hard to appreciate something when you want for nothing.
So this year we are opting to give each of the girls only 3 gifts…we figure if it was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for our family.
2 – Spreading the Love – Every year for the past 12 years, my husband and I have chosen an Angel from the Angel tree and bought gifts for that child. But this year I have decided that each of my girls will choose their own Angel from the tree and help me buy the gifts this year. Choosing an outfit or a magical toy for a child your own age and giving it away can do wonders for your spirit and your appreciation for what you already have.
3- Staying Home On Christmas – This year, we won’t be traveling to parents or in-laws for Christmas Day. We are lucky enough to be only an hour away from our families which is a blessing I can’t praise enough. But on the holidays, we found we were actually trying to drive to everyone’s house on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day which meant zero time at home enjoying that wonderful state of just being. So this year, we will travel on other days to celebrate Christmas, but Christmas morning my girls will open their gifts and have the day to just enjoy them.
4 – Pick and Choose Only Those Things You Love – Every year, I get invited to all sorts of shindigs around the holidays and to be honest, I rarely want to go. I have to line up a sitter, I’m usually exhausted and more often than not, I would rather be in my snowman pants watching The Blacklist on tv. But on the flip side, there are a few things I hope I never have to give up.
For example, one Saturday in December we invite our family and close friends up for a day of food and fun together. We play games – our favorite being Dirty Santa and even the kids get in on the action. Hosting this event brings me only happiness so it will be on that stays on my list this year.
5 – Watching What I Eat – For 10 months of the year, I’m a pretty smart person when it comes to food choice and exercise. But come November and December, it’s like something comes over me and you would think I’ve never tasted sugar before. I eat every piece of cake, chocolate and cookie in site…even when I’m so full I could bust. And does this bring me happiness? Or joy? Or satisfaction? No, no and no.
So this year, I’m going to be a lot more mindful about what I put into my mouth. Enjoying dessert during the holidays?? Yes, please! Cramming one more bite into my mouth just because it’s there? Um, no thanks.
6 – Focusing On Family – I think I’ve done a pretty good job these past 6 years showing my girls that Christmas is about being with those you love, celebrating Jesus’ birthday and loving each other. But this year, I want to put more of a focus on these things.
I want to take those 24 days leading up to Christmas and cram them full of the important things – rocking out to Christmas carols in the car, driving to our downtown’s light display every night, baking cookies with my girls, drinking hot chocolate and reading the Christmas Story, watching movies like The Grinch and Elf…just being with my husband and my two daughters.
Because at the end of December, when I look back at all the craziness, I want to see that one 6-letter word won out over the other. Family > Sress…Always.
Looking For More Ways To Make Christmas Be About Family?
Check out these great posts from my friends!
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Beautiful post Hilary. For me christmas is definitely about being with family. We always go to my mums so I don’t have to cook either. Haha so great!
Erin buhr says
This is so wonderful hillary! I hope your holiday is much less stressful this year. i’m working on that this year as well. primarily focusing only on the parts we really enjoy and not feeling like I have to do it all. if it doesn’t work, maybe we’ll join you in Hawaii next year!