I wanted to do a post on simplicity at Christmas time. Christmas is a favorite holiday for many and a big holiday for most, but it gets surrounded in so much crazy that it is hard to enjoy. By Dec 25 at about 10:00 there is the’ Christmas collapse’.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Everything good needs to be savored and enjoyed. This is a key I am learning in my simple living as well as a thread going through minimalism. I need to savor the time my children are little. I need to enjoy a trip into a good book. It would only be fair take Christmas the same way. Maybe we can even enjoy the whole Christmas season!
I believe Christmas is a good excuse to forget about cold, snow, and ice for at least the first part of winter, but what is Christmas really all about?
If you are Christian, Christmas is about the birth of Christ. If you are not religious Christmas is a symbol of love and togetherness. As Christians, we believe Jesus is Love, so lets just agree that Christmas is about love.
Wow, sounds great already. A whole month focused on love! Add a bit of bling and a whole lot of cookies and it is the highlight of the year.
But Christmas ends up being a crazy time where people stress out, eat too much, drive on icy roads so they can spend too much, guilt (over the food and money), attend lots of programs, and generally not actually spend much time with family. Sure, people are home for Christmas day usually, but if you add up all the time taken away from family all month… it probably doesn’t make up for it. Love and togetherness remember 😉
So, I wanted to write out a ‘Christmas Permission’ for you. Sure, you know all this already, but maybe seeing it in print (or using the fact that you read it as an excuse) might make it easier. At least you can smile with me at the craziness that is our December culture.
For Christmas to be a smashing success and people to agree to celebrate again next year, you don’t need too:
- Buy gifts for everyone you have ever met. Honestly, for many, they will now feel they need to get you a gift, or feel guilt that they haven’t already gotten you a gift, or try and figure out what on earth they should give you, or try and figure out just how long they need to keep what you just got them. I did a post last week on minimalist gift giving. Stick to buying presents for those you love!
- Decorate for Christmas. Shocking, but true. It will still be Christmas if you don’t risk your life hanging off the edge of your house trying to untangle Christmas lights. Take a drive around and look at other people’s 🙂
- Make any of your decorations. I love all the posts about simple, easy, Christmas crafts. They look beautiful. I have just learned that it is much easier to love them… if I don’t try and duplicate them.
- Make any of your gifts. If your not crafty, don’t make something. I am not crafty, but often my desire to put thought into gifts or to save money (though it didn’t always turn out that way) was to make gifts. It always looks easy in the instructions or in my head, but the prep and the time and the outcome ends up stressful. I.E Not simple.
- Make any of your own cookies
- …. make anything, this is a busy month people!
- Write a Christmas letter. I have never written one. True, I have often felt guilty about not writing one, but it hasn’t ceased to be Christmas. People who know and love you will already know all your years highlights. If they are nosy, they can learn all of it from your face book page. So call a friend and put a couple good pictures up from vacation for the Facebook stalkers and sit down with a cookie and cup of hot chocolate instead.
- Attend Christmas programs…. ok, if your kids are in them, this might not be optional. But for all other Christmas programs, you don’t have to go. Put on some Christmas music at home …. and ‘sit down with a cookie and a cup of hot chocolate instead ;).’
- Dress festive.
- Go shopping in the freezing cold weather, fighting crowds and ice. My sister-in-law started getting all her gifts online and I think she is brilliant! We went down to the pool a few weekends ago and my husband played with the kids while I shopped and we got all our shopping out of the way. (except for the little stuff for our kids) Join me and be ‘One Less’ at the mall this season and shop online. If you shopping at Amazon, click on my link (I get a small commission from the sale and will be forever great full. It will help with my hot chocolate supply for the month). We also got a bunch at Snapfish.
- Feel guilty for anything that is stuff or paper related. Remember, love is the theme of the month. Love is not stuff or busyness. It is often much more present and possible when there is neither.
- Know or recite the 12 Days of Christmas… or any other Christmas poem or song. (get it, #12 and 12 days. Sorry, it just didn’t seem right to end on 11)
Don’t get me wrong. All of these things can be great! (except 10, I hate crowds). I am not saying that any of these things are bad or wrong. I am just saying that sometimes the lists of the things we think we HAVE to do get in the way of what Christmas is all about and even enjoying the holiday season.
So, strip your month bare if you have to. Throw some minimalism and simplicity on it, and only add back in what is going to add value and love to your holiday.