Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Simple Plan for a Simple Christmas

I have such a dysfunctional relationship with this season.  I mean, I really love the holidays... The decorating, the music, the memories we make each year... But I really do not like the "busy".  For most of this year I have been working hard to simplify my life.  You know, prioritize.  Some things have been easy to let go of, others harder to walk away from.  BUT, I've done it, and I've really grown accustomed to the slower pace.  And then December.  If you were to look at the calendar on my fridge, you would not think "simple".  You would, however, understand my anxiety-driven urge to shut down and hide for the next 30 days. Or 31.

Hiding isn't an option.  And truly, I want to go to the band concerts, the parties, the programs, the services, the dinners and other festivities.  And I don't even mind the shopping.  I just wish it weren't all crammed into the next three weeks!  I get tired just thinking about it all.

If less is truly more, then I have to find a way to simplify this busy season, right?  A way to cut out some unnecessary stuff, some "fluff"... So here's my plan:

1. Embrace the "white space".  Those few remaining empty boxes on my December calendar will be protected and enjoyed with some easy, relaxing family time.

2.  Let go of the "perfect Christmas".  We all do it.  You know, we want the perfect pictures with the perfect matchy pj's and the perfect decorating and the perfect menu.  Not this year.  We'll just call it a "Candid Christmas".  The real us, in our real un-matching pajamas, and normal recipes that don't have 25 ingredients.

(on a side note, here is a picture of my "simple" wreath... Those of you who know me know that I am NOT crafty, so I was pretty proud of myself for even attempting this.)

3.  Don't budge on the budget.  We have spent the same amount per kid for the last several years.  I was soooo tempted to increase that amount this year, since my hubby has worked super hard to provide well for our family.  But I know that if we stick to what we have always done, it will leave us more room to give to those who are truly in need.  Our kids' character will not be improved one bit by getting an extra gift.  I'd much rather teach them to give one away.

4.  Keep Thanksgiving going-  right through Christmas, and every day after that! We have enough. We are abundantly blessed.  I want to spend everyday being grateful for what I already have.  It is a choice to be grateful, it is not a feeling.  I sometimes need to be reminded of that. (Especially when I see the sale prices at some of my favorite stores...."I have enough" will be my mantra!)

5.  Focus on Jesus.  I guess it may sound almost cliched... "The Reason for the Season" and all that.... But really, if we are more focused on how many presents we place under our tree, or how many lights we put on our house, or whether we have the right thing to wear to all the parties, or even how busy our calendar looks... Aren't we missing the whole point?  Ouch. This one hurts me to type because here it is, staring me in the face.  I get so distracted by insignificant things.  There is only One thing.  And when we focus on Him, everything else tends to fall right in its proper place.

Since this is one of those "brainstorming" kind of posts, I'd really love to hear how YOU keep Christmas from becoming something it was never meant to be... I think we all have to make a conscious effort not to be swept away with the culture on this one.

Simple is our goal.  This is the hardest time of year to be simple.  We can do it! Who's with me??

Much love, til I'm up late enough to blog once more,