20 days to Christmas.
While my coffee brewed this morning, I caught a whiff, not of brewing beans, but of that clenched, shallow breath feeling. I was thinking of what’s left to be done this holiday season, like the shopping and figuring out when we’ll celebrate with family and ordering food and the school Christmas party AND program…
After a few sips of coffee, aka brain juice, I reminded myself that the season is meant to be joyous and meaningful. Jolly, so they say. What’s with all the pressure we put on ourselves to do ALL THE STUFF?
In past years I’ve cut doing any adult gift exchange, because it was one more thing.
We’ve stopped exchanging gifts with my brother and sister-in-law, because why? We focus on the kids and my mom instead.
On Mark’s side of the family, the cousins all draw a name and gift that one person, rather than us buying for all ten of the grandkids.
I, I mean Santa, will buy one thing and one thing only for Muscato, because he insists that Santa delivers to adults too. (He totally doesn’t btw, but last year I opened a gift from Santa and Muscato didn’t. Miller, three at the time, was quite concerned that Daddy made the naughty list… What can I say, you win some, you lose some. Sorry Muscato.)
Last year I ordered the food pre-made so all I had to do was heat it. Thank you sweet baby Jesus.
Anyway, I’ve been scaling back the past several years to make the holidays less folly and more jolly, and I’m at it again this year. I’ve hired someone – as in paid with US Dollars – to decorate my mantel and tree (while keeping all the childhood/homemade ornaments of course, because #sentimental). Merry Christmas to me.
When M+B Design finishes their elf-like magic, all of the extra decorative junk that’s been taking up space in a basement closet will be donated. For me, stuff = stress, so bye bye stuff, and hello easier breathing. Plus, come next year? I won’t have to think about my tree at all. Pull it out, put on the pretties, call it good. (I’m equal parts excited and relieved just typing this.)
Are you starting to feel the pressure of all things holiday? If so, take a minute and assess. What’s one thing that drives you nuts, and are you willing to let go of it, or change it, in order to make the season a bit brighter?
If Christmas cards are stressing you out but you don’t want to stop all together? Cut the list in half (omit coworkers or loose acquaintances, for instance).
Are you tired of going to 6 different Christmases complete with gift exchanges? Pick two and call it good.
Do you want your kids to wake up in your own home Christmas morning for a change? Make it happen.
Does buying a multitude of gifts for everyone in your family leave you and your bank account strained? Try the four gift rule: “Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.”
Take control of your own happiness (and sanity) this holiday season. If you can identify your stressors and you do nothing about it, then you are your own problem. Not the lists. Not the in-laws. Not even commercialized society.
No more folly this Christmas season. Let’s set our sights – and actions – on jolly.