Over the past few years I’ve become pretty fond of keeping Christmas simple. One big reason for this was that as a mom with chronic illness, I just couldn’t keep up with the expectations and I had to learn to find peace with what I could do. That first Christmas I couldn’t do much accept watch from the couch as my family put the tree up.
I’ve come a long way since then but the holidays are different now. I try to avoid the holiday stress as much as I can. I don’t go all out on decorations, gifts and trying to get to every event in town. I’ve learned to scale back and try to focus on the spiritual side of the holiday season.
An added bonus that I’ve noticed is that when I keep things simple, there’s simply more time to enjoy everything that this special time of year brings, no matter how i’m feeling.
Think back on what Christmas was to you as you were growing up. Chances are that the Christmas memories that mean the most might have been the ones where your family was financially struggling and didn’t have money for a lot of decorations and gifts. The sweetest memories can be made just by being together, and maybe making some simple crafts, decorating or watching the Hallmark channel.
I’m on a never ending quest to simplify my life and after 25 years of family life, it’s still a work in progress. There’s still so much stuff to go through! I don’t buy too many decorations any more unless it’s something meaningful and high quality. I’m trying to sort through what we have and give away anything that I don’t love. This means less clutter, a house that’s easier to clean and a quicker January clean up.
I’ve learned to keep the calendar light. Too much running around triggers my chronic illness symptoms and I think everyone gets more susceptible to illness. I try to pick just a few activities and events that our family can comfortably enjoy without breaking the bank. The rest of the holiday season we’ll just spend quietly together, baking cookies and watching our favorite holiday shows.
When it comes to gifts, I say to each their own. I personally love having a surprise or two to open but in our family over the past few years Christmas often winds up being the time we upgrade our electronics. Truthfully, I don’t love this but that’s how it goes around here! I’m sharing this because in the blogosphere it’s easy to get caught up in what other families are doing and wanting to be like them but that often creates it’s own set of conflicts. Know yourself, your spouse and your family and do what’s right for you.
I hope you’ll try keeping Christmas simple this year and see how much better you feel!