I always look forward to a chance to slow down and spend the time with my family during the holidays. A feeling of anxiety and being overwhelmed can take over so easily. Gift buying or making, decorating, work parties, school parties, family pictures, cookie baking…the list goes on and on.
It seems that every year I pair down on the activities and bring in fewer tubs with Christmas decor from the garage and it feels good. This year, I think, is our ultimate simplified Christmas yet– I had a foot injury over a month ago and have just had a surgery performed. Not much one can do laying in bed or hopping around the house on crutches but it’s been a blessing in disguise. It forced me to really let go of everything that is not essential.
Here is a list of what used to be a part of my Christmas to-do list and that we gave up this year:
- family pictures
- teacher gifts
- work parties
- elaborate decorating
- obsessive baking
- Christmas cards
What we didn’t skip are all the things that make the holidays special and everyone looks forward to.
We decorated the tree with the same ornaments that we’ve used for years. I used to have an urge to shake things up and go for a different “theme” but I really do like our current red and gold tree. It’s become a tradition for the youngest kid to put the star on the top.
We hung our mismatched stockings above the fireplace.
Old kids crafts and old Christmas decor were sprinkled around the living room and the dining room.
Our countdown to Christmas calendar has been in use for three years now, I think.
It was a quick project (we are pros at those) but is kids’ favorite. We used a Dollar Tree picture frame, wrapping paper as a background and a printed “days until Christmas” template that I made in MS Word.
I spent a couple of minutes (before the surgery) decorating the dining room.
I gathered all the white candles I own and put them on a tray that I already had there from my Fall centerpiece. Added some pinecones, very simple but cozy and festive.
We did a simple craft (5 minutes, per usual). Here is a tutorial.
We baked three kinds of cookies (down from a dozen different kinds that I used to bake in the past. I love to bake…but it was definitely an overkill). We chose the most popular kinds: buckeyes, snickerdoodles, and sugar cut-outs.
Brian spent some time putting together the pictures and ordering our yearly family calendar. We order ours at Costco.
We watched some holiday movies, The Christmas Story and The Nightmare before Christmas are next on the list. They never get old, do they? What are your favorites?
Last night we went to a drive-through holiday lights trail. The line was longer than in the past and some of us crashed while waiting (clutching her hot cocoa).
It’s really hard to go with the flow and simplify and accept the fact that I am restricted to mostly orchestrating activities from the sofa (it’s sooo much easier to do things myself than explain how to do this or that to the kids). That’s my life for the next several weeks. But one benefit of these circumstances is that the kids actually get to do things they normally don’t have to, like cooking, for example. I don’t normally let them (push them?) do it enough so it’s a great learning experience.
I also made a simple scarf for Phoebe while I was laying around with my bad foot up. She was so excited to have a scarf made just for her.
I do not miss the business of the season, or the pressure to buy more, do more. I do miss having people over or meeting with a friend for lunch or coffee. I look forward to the time when I can feel well enough to do that again. We will also miss our annual trip to be with the extended family on Christmas this year, not excited about that, but that’s how it is.
Hope you are enjoying the holidays with your near and dear and making the most of this break.