In my quest to simplify our Christmas, I’m paying close attention to our traditions. I know traditions, no matter how small, go a long way to building family closeness and a sense of belonging. Plus, they’re fun!
I don’t want to dwell on the activities that aren’t important to us. Too many activitites can lead to feeling overwhelmed, but I’m not looking to ditch holiday celebrations completely. I love Christmas, and I want to enjoy the festive spirit.
I just want to make sure our family’s traditions are truly ours, and not what’s recommended by a magazine’s “must-have” list. I’m trying to let the joy of Christmas sink in, not put on an exhausting one-woman show.
I asked Doug to think of what he most liked to do at Christmas time, and I did the same. As it happened, our favorite things don’t require much planning, effort, or cleaning up.
Doug’s favorite Christmas traditions:
- Having a fire in the fireplace.
- Hanging up the ornaments.
- Giving presents to me and Lane.
- Singing “Happy Holiday” together when we’re driving around in the car. (It’s the song by Andy Williams, but three years into this tradition we still don’t know any of the words, so we just sing the two words “Happy Holiday” over and over. I love doing this.)
- Going to a candlelight service on Christmas Eve.
- Having stockings on Christmas morning.
We both like going out for coffee on a cold day when everyone is in a cheerful holiday mood and there are Christmas lights to see.
What didn’t make the list:
- Sending Christmas cards.
- Baking cookies (love eating them, don’t love making them).
- Long shopping lists.
After thinking about what we most wanted to do and identifying what we didn’t care about so much, we have an idea about how we will spend the next few weeks. It frees me up from other things that would be nice to do, but not as meaningful to us, so that this will be a more restful, satisfying Christmas season.
I’ll also being taking advantage of simple ways to get into the holiday spirit, such as lighting candles and putting on some music. It doesn’t get easier than that.