Hello, my friends. And Happy Friday! I have been thinking about my intention of simplifying our holiday celebrations this year for many reasons. First of all, my children are older now, and as much as I would like to hold on to every tradition we enjoyed for so many years, I also realize they may no longer be as relevant. In addition, I also recognize that my anxiety tends to flare up during times of stress, and as my therapist reminds me, even though I don't think of holiday preparation as stressful, good stress is still stress. And finally, I want to be sure that I leave time to practice self-care during this festive time to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the season.
November 4, 2022
~Not how I want to spend my holiday season~
That sounds well and good, right? But what exactly does it look like? What specific things can I do to prepare for and enjoy a simple, cozy, family holiday season? I am glad you asked!
Delete Instagram from my phone. For me, the constant scrolling is overwhelming. The barrage of images, decorations, recipes, and gift ideas fills my brain with unnecessary thoughts and expectations. I think back to my mom, and the wonderful Christmas seasons she gave us. The meals were family favorites, the decorations were ones she had for years, and the entire feel was homey. There were pop bottles on the table and wrapping paper on the floor. The tree was covered with random, mismatched decorations; we kept the same ones every year. My childhood Christmases weren't the images I repeatedly see, telling me that I need to have my house, my tree, my presents, and my table picture perfect. They were better than that. They were real.
Plan less. Years ago, I was the expert micromanager. I suppose I had to be with four young children and all the activities that go with that. I used to make a schedule for everything we needed to do, from mailing Christmas cards to baking cookies. It worked then. Now, I realize I don't need to be so structured. It isn't easy for me, but I am working on it. I am not going to stick to a schedule of preplanned activities just because we used to do them or because everyone else is. If we want to bake some cookies, we will. Some nights we might call the kids to come over for a movie or to take a ride to look at the Christmas lights. If we do, great. If not, that's ok too.
Gift with intention. This year Santa asked the kids for ideas of a few things they want or need and a few they didn't. That way, Santa can be ready with everything wrapped long before Christmas Eve, and I won't be tempted by all those things I see that I don't really need to buy. I find great joy in giving and putting thought into the perfect gift for each of my people, and sometimes less is more.
Focus on home and family. I always try to do this and hope to do the same this holiday season. For me, being home, sitting by the fire, and looking at the twinkling lights of the tree brings me peace. I am happiest in my cozy clothes, surrounded by my family, watching our favorite Christmas movies. The season passes so quickly; I want to enjoy every single moment. I can do that by simplifying my preparations and commitments and turning inward while leaving the chaotic world outside.
These are the things that I think will work for me. They may or may not be right for others. You do you, my friends. Do what works for you and your family. After all, family is what matters most.