Sunday, November 02, 2014

A Simple Christmas Series

First Ornament

Writing about Christmas this soon after Halloween seems really strange to me; we normally don't talk about the holidays until after Dec 1st in our house. The thing is, people are already talking about the holidays; stores are pulling out decorations, media is slowly moving in that direction, so I decided that I'm going to do a series here on having a simple Christmas. I've talked about it often, but I don't think I've ever broken down for readers how we do it, and how they can too.

Really, how you celebrate the holidays (or if you celebrate them at all) is up to you and what works for your family. When Kevin was small, it was so easy to be caught up in the world of doing it all; the scratch baked cookies, the perfect gifts for everyone, the events and parties. As the years passed and we found our own traditions, I realized that Christmas wasn't about the shiny paper and what was under the tree, but rather that we were together. Five towns and nearly 19 years later, our traditions evolved and changed to what they are today. I think the point was driven home to me the very last Christmas I spent with Anne; sitting in her living room by a crackling fire, we enjoyed homemade cookies and squealed with laughter. Nothing, not one THING, could have made that moment better.

It can be hard to shut out the commercialism and pressure that is the holidays. The draw of "you should" though Pinterest, magazines, and what other people are doing can make you feel like maybe you're missing out on something. That you should be up until 1 am making those cutsie little crafts that looked good on Pinterest for your child's entire class because they would love them, right? The key is, you don't have to do it all. Keep what you love to do and get rid of the rest. I don't like writing Christmas cards, so I stopped. Instead I really love to bake, and so that is where my focus is. You don't have to go to every party, either. It's really okay to say no.

How do we do a simple, non commercial Christmas? I'll be posting about what WE do, from decorations to food and more, once a week. You don't have to spend a ton of money, and the whole point is being with family, not the STUFF. I'll share my hacks for being festive without being over the top or having to buy a bunch of stuff that is just going to sit in a box for a year again.  I wouldn't call it a frugal Christmas, but the reality is it doesn't cost a whole lot and you aren't depriving yourself, either. The point is to find what is important to you, what makes the holiday special to you and your family, and focusing on THAT. Discard the unnecessary obligation that stresses you out. Place the emphasis on what makes you all happy, rather than what you SHOULD do.

When you look at things that way, it makes holiday prep sound a lot more like fun than a stress inducing exercise in  "oh my God, AGAIN?!" Follow along on twitter as I tweet what we're up to with #simpleChristmas and share your own ideas!

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