Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Picking my Battles in Simplifying Christmas

So it's Christmas and like everyone else...I'm busy beyond belief.  We have Christmas programs in church and at school.  We have shopping to do.  We have a trip to Minnesota coming up that includes a long drive and packing traveling food.  Doctor and chiropractor appointments are in the mix the next two weeks along with school and just general life.  I need to make 2 or 3 more Christmas gifts, wrap our family ones, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.  You get the picture.  I'm sure you could give me a list that is WAY longer than the one I listed.

My point in all of this is to pick your battles.  We complain about Christmas being too commercial.  Christmas is too stressful.  There is just too much to do.  We create our own prison in many ways.  So my tips for enjoying Christmas more...

Choose a few traditions for your family
Traditions are important.  I GET that.  I like that.  Choose a few that work for you.  Ones that aren't too stressful.  Whether it is an Advent calendar, Elf on the Shelf, Santa Claus, decorating the tree together, matching jammies, you pick!  This year with my dad's passing...I pared down some.  We decorated the tree together in our new Christmas pajamas, revisiting each ornament that was given with each year of their life.  We set up the kiddo and adult nativity set, talking about who each character was and retelling the story of Christ's birth.  We placed their newest ornament on the tree.  That was it.  Later, we'll open gifts and stockings and make our Baby Jesus Birthday cake.

Keep the Gifts Simple
Every year we struggle with how much or how little to give.  We're not perfect and would NEVER claim to be.  A neighbor explained how they were simplifying Christmas giving and it inspired me to follow suit.  So this year...other than their stockings...our boys have 4 gifts total.  They have one gift from each other and 3 from us.  We choose not to do Santa but still teach the story of who St. Nicholas was.  He was a "real" man who did kind things because he was a follower of Christ.  We keep our spending to a minimum.  Some of our things are second hand but in like new condition.  That is ok in our book.  If we can save some money here and there and put it towards college what a wonderful gift for later on!  The Wise men brought 3 gifts to Jesus and we have 3 gifts for our sons.

Make it a Christmas for ALL to Enjoy
I love making everyone else happy but the risk with that...is losing sight of taking care of my own physical and emotional well being in the process.  HELLO!  I HAD A HEART ATTACK!  For goodness sakes...I was a professional perfectionist that berated and held myself to a higher standard that anyone else.  Christmas is for your entire family.  If you're so strung out tired and stressed from creating Advent or Elf on the Shelf Activities and baking more than the Cake Boss...then your entire family will suffer.  Enjoy it!  If that means one year you have to scale it back and the next you can add more stuff in...then do it.

Christmas isn't about the activities, or the gifts, or the cookies, or the music.  All of those things add to the wonder of it and are in celebration of one incredible thing...Christ's birth.  Our Redeemer, the infant King who came to Earth to die for and cover all of our sins.  A baby who pooped, peed, teethed, nursed, slept, and learned how to walk like our kids.  We celebrate and make it an event because IT IS ONE!  If you celebrate your children's birthdays then for goodness sakes celebrate the birth of our Saviour!  But if you lose sight of His birth in all the hustle and bustle of societies standards, that doesn't mean you shouldn't celebrate it...it just means you need to use your filter and figure out how to make it significant in your family.

I'm not sure if this made sense.  It's just the ramblings of a tired mom who sees many people doing it up BIG so it's not about Christ anymore and the opposite end of the spectrum doing it up small so it seems like it's just another day.  Use common sense.  Pray about it.  Use moderation.

I hope I can share in the wonder and joy of Christmas with my kids like my parent's did.  My dad used to sit quietly on the couch smiling as we opened gifts not even touching his own.  My mom, likewise sat by his side with a smile on her face.  Enjoy it...Merry Christmas!

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