Everyday I’m getting new information about different Christmas events. Brochures and flyers of various shapes, sizes, and colors about magical Christmas things to do. They come home from school with the kids, stuffed in their backpacks. It’s shared through social media, distributed at local churches, on television and radio, plastered to bulletin boards around town, and don’t get me started about all the emails advertising events and sales you won’t want to miss!
…Okay. I’m going to get started just a little bit. Do you know how many 50% off your single regular priced item coupons that I have passed up from Michael’s? I’m trying not to think about it. But the time it takes to redeem that coupon is so precious that I’ve hit the delete button more times than I remember. But oh the money I could be saving if I took advantage of these sales!
Tips to a Simple Christmas
That brings me to the first of my tip to maintaining a simple Christmas!
Let it Go
I absolutely MUST remember that I don’t have to take advantage of every sale or attend every event. I have to let it go and quit thinking about what I might be missing out on. That’s the core of our issue with over scheduling at Christmas time. We’re afraid we’re going to miss something and nobody wants to miss out on something awesome. Right? So we try to do EVERYTHING because even if it sounds boring or overwhelming to us, it might turn out to be something incredible or we might miss the chance to take awesome pictures of our kids looking so happy and full of awe and wonder.
Stop. Just stop. Let it go. Because the opposite might be true. If it sounds miserable, then it probably will be miserable. No guilt. Just because I made Sweet and Salty snacks as Christmas treats, doesn’t mean you have to do it and just because you enjoy going to the Christmas Parade, doesn’t mean I will like it at all. You can let go of the pretzels and chocolate. I’ll let go of the parade. Deal?
I used to take the time to write all these events in my calendar. But it took time to do that, the brochures would sit on the counter until I got around to doing it, and then my calendar looked overwhelming. So how do you decide what activities to consider and what to discard promptly?
I go back to my family values. We prefer activities among friends and family. So we don’t tend to do the Christmas Parade or local Christmas tree lighting among strangers. We don’t like being out past 6pm. So we don’t go to local concerts that start at 6:30. We value Christmas as a time to celebrate the birth of Christ. So we don’t put high value on snowball fights or even light displays. Going back to what’s important to me and my family makes the decision making easy. The papers don’t pile up because I know if I’m interested or not (when I shut down the fear of not missing out).
If you think making pretzel treats would be a fun and family friendly activity for you, then feel free to check out my post on that with a free downloadable gift tag. (But don’t forget that I’m giving up the parade, so if you don’t like melting chocolate in the oven, then don’t you dare even click that link. Just saying.)
Mental Health Day
I used to think mental health days were a joke. People talked about taking a day off for their personal sanity and I thought they were just being lazy. Sorry ’bout that. That was before I was married with two kids. We can all find ourselves over scheduled and over extended sometimes. That’s when there is real value in taking a day to get yourself back to a state of equilibrium and peace. Time to refocus and rest our weary souls. I’m no good (and no fun) to anybody if I’m stressed.
So yes, in the past 2 months, I’ve skipped my Bible study class twice and gone unprepared twice. For my own personal sanity, I embraced time to recuperate and I had to let it go. I’m not quiting Bible study altogether. I just needed to let it go when things got overwhelming at home.
Maybe taking a day off for Christmas preparation is a good tradition to start. Henceforth, the Thursday after Thanksgiving will be set aside as my Christmas preparation day!
Your Christmas, You Choose
The bottom line is this: It’s your Christmas, you get the choose how you spend it. So don’t spend it on what’s important to everyone else and don’t let fear of missing out make your Christmas unnecessarily crazy.
I hope that your Christmas is as busy or slow as you desire. I’m opting for slow and simple.
P.S. Are you looking for a way to organize and keep track of all your gift buying? I use OneNote. I have a tab in our Family Notebook dedicated to Christmas Shopping. It has a checklist of everyone we buy for and under their name I’ll type out what I plan to get with a checkbox for when the gift is acquired. This helps me remember what I bought (for those who buy throughout the year) and also helps avoid those awkward moments where you forget to buy a gift for someone. The Family Notebook is shared with my husband. So he sees what I see. We even have a tab for each of us to do a wishlist so if anybody asks me what Bill might like for Christmas, I have an easy reference. It’s fabulous.