There is something about blogging that gives me incentive to do just a little more for the holidays. Sure, I would like to have something good to write about, but it’s not a performance. I like how it reminds me to do some things a little bit special for my family because I know my tendency is to get caught up in everyday things and let those early days of December quietly go by.
I’m glad when I see reminders to put the tree up because everything seem nice when you can work next to the tree. Or to take a photo each day and look for moments of Christmas joy.
It’s through blogging that I notice two tensions: on one extreme you have the hectic, stressed-out, over-shopped, over-spent chaos. On the opposing extreme you have the empty, “Don’t have fun and ban the festivities, Christmas should be meaningful.” Joyless, on both accounts.
After sampling both sides, I choose to do those things that reflect joy in my activities and attitude.
Some years it is more, some years it is less, but there are a few techniques that help us every year:
Use your personal filters. In our house, Christmas is not a commercial holiday. That’s because we’ve used our own filters to remove the commercials! There are no catalogs sitting out or television turned up. It’s quiet here.
Be content with your current season of life. Did you know this is only our second year to have a Christmas tree? We didn’t have room in our previous smaller apartments. We hung ornaments on a garland, and that was special too. The year I wrote, “I’m not getting organized for Christmas, I think I’m just going to show up for it.” was when I was newly pregnant. And this year the baby Jesus keeps getting lost from the manger scene and showing up in the most unusual places. We’re forgoing a lot of late-night activities that would require babysitting, and trying to do more during the day as a family.
Limit the shopping. We do a little less shopping each year. A long list would make anyone crazy. The kids get one main gift or three smaller gifts from us, and the stockings hold special things like juice boxes, crayons, and fruit.
We plan with the calendar. The weeks before Christmas aren’t that long after all. It helps to see that written there in the kitchen.