Happy New Year everyone!
Our Christmas decorations are packed up and put away till the next year, and we are shifting gears to our normal routine. It always takes a few days of mental refocusing and readjusting the schedule until things get back on track. This year the transition is especially challenging for us because we were hit by an abnormal amount of health issues. A way to start the new year, I’d say.
But in spite of the health related challenges, we really enjoyed this winter break. We had no physical or emotional energy to “do it all”, so we focused on a few things that were essential, and let go of the rest. Letting go of “the rest” is not easy. It is so deeply ingrained in our heads, that it almost makes you feel inadequate. I had to switch my holiday “autopilot” pattern off, and focus on the priorities.
Here are some things that we chose to skip this year:
- Sending Christmas cards to family and friends: we hope our near and dear know that we love them and care about them even though they did not get a card from us this year.
- Put up extensive holiday decor, as we did in the past: we had some outdoor Christmas lights, the tree and simple, mostly recycled, indoor decor. The house looked cozy and cheerful enough. The time not spent on going all-out on decor went to watch Christmas movies. Not to mention the time saved putting everything away!
- Bake million cookies and distribute them to the friends and neighbors: I had to fight my obsession with Christmas baking real hard this year. Ultimately everyone was happy with a handful of different types of cookies as opposed to twenty (yes, one year I made twenty different kinds of cookies. Like I said: obsession).
- Host a holiday party: this one was easy. Sickness and parties are not a good combo.
Here are some things that we did that didn’t feel like a chore:
- Went to see a drive-through lights display.
- Baked just enough cookies: we picked the most popular and requested kinds and baked half the recipe of each ( a new favorite trick of mine).
- We simplified our gift giving routine: we really wanted to focus on the substance, not on the quantity of gift giving. It worked great!
- We decorated our Christmas tree together: we do it every year with all the same ornaments, and it turns out the same every year. Some years I feel like changing things up, but the truth is we really like how it looks for now. The culmination of tree decorating has been the same for years: S gets to put the star topper on the tree. The girl is getting to be too big for the job though, next year her baby sister may have to take over.
- We had kids’ friends over for cookie decorating: I baked sugar cookies and made frosting ahead of time, and set everything out on a plastic table cover, nothing too fancy but lots of fun.
- We made a simple craft, a count down to Christmas: it took us all of 15 minutes to do. It didn’t involve any daily treats, but it kept the anticipation high (“can you believe it’s only … days till Christmas???”)
- We watched our favorite movies, played, went to the park and read, just spending time with each other–a number one priority for me.
None of the things we’ve done were elaborate or time consuming. Nothing was Pinterest worthy in the sense of being flashy/just for looks. It was a more relaxed and meaningful holiday season for us. With the exception of sickness, I hope we can do it the same way next year.
I hope you all enjoyed your holidays and time with your near and dear, and stayed healthy!