As a kid I remember the Christmas holidays being nothing less than pure magic! They were full of fun traditions, lots of presents mounds of baking. As a Mom, I still find the holidays magical but have also come to realize that to make the “magic” happen, it can be crazy, stressful and overwhelming.
The year my daughter was born, we drove back to our hometown and attempted Christmas with the family. We ended up going from house to house and found nearly no time to slow down and relax. The next year I declared that from then on we would spend Christmas at our house, but anyone and everyone was welcome to join us. This was an over-welcoming success and also gave us an opportunity to start some of our own family traditions – new pjs on Christmas eve and a new Christmas ornament. But at the same time I also stared some time consuming and somewhat stressful traditions – a lengthly, picture filled family newsletter, various cookie exchanges and a family calendar.
As the holidays approached each year, I found myself getting more and more anxious – trying to find the time to get all these added activities completed. One year I sent out nearly 80 cards and newsletters, participated in 2 cookie exchanges, created 10 personalized calendars and spent countless hours hunting down footed pajamas for each member of my family. While I love that all of these activities bring much joy to others, this year I decided to take a step back, slow down and do less. First I said “no” to a couple of offers to participate in a cookie exchange. Instead, I decided to bake a couple dozen of my favourite cookies and call it a day. Next I decided not to do a family newsletter. It’s a huge undertaking, very costly and realistically most people have already seen all the pictures and know what’s going on with my life because they follow me on Facebook. For those who don’t, I will be sending a simple Christmas card, enclosed with a school photo of each of my children.
Another change I made last year was Christmas dinner. Typically, my Mom and I spent most of Christmas day in the kitchen. Making a giant brunch followed by a giant dinner. Last year my Mom suggest having Christmas dinner on Christmas eve. What a fantastic idea! As it goes, Christmas eve is pretty relaxed at our house. This gave us plenty of time to get dinner made and served nice and early. Still lots of time for new pajamas and singing Christmas carols. It also meant that after brunch on Christmas morning we weren’t scrambling to clean up and get dinner started. Instead we could let the kids play with their toys, stay in our pjs all day and eat leftovers whenever we were hungry.
At the end of the day, to me the holidays are about being with family and making great memories. But I’m still a work in progress – I will admit to staying up to 4am on Black Friday so I could finish my calendars and take advantage of the great sale prices 😉
Wishing everyone a crazy-free Christmas season!
Until I write again…