This is the first year in ten years of marriage that I didn’t have a tantrum. I’m not proud of my attitude and behavior in previous years. Holidays were stressful and not full of joy at all for me.
I was determined to have a better Christmas this year.
How did we have the best Christmas ever?
We changed up our focus.
I’ve been under the impression that everything had to be perfect and Hollywood magical for so long – and it’s exhausting. Of course, we study our Advent lessons about Jesus, but it really was more than that for me. That used to be just another added pressure.
I had to let go.
We didn’t do stockings. The kids mentioned it a couple times and I just bit my tongue and said no, not this year. I’ve always felt obligated to fill the stockings with junk and candy. We don’t have a fireplace. It was just something I had to let go.
We didn’t attend any holiday parties. The one my husband wanted to go to was smack in the middle of Tori’s end of year gymnastics class and she is more important than a plastered smile on my face and stress about how my hair looks.
I allowed my kids to go crazy with cookie decorating. They loved it and honestly, there was not much mess. They’re at a great age to have some freedom now. It was a pleasant time had by all.
I slacked up on school time this month. I had a few must-do’s on the list, but the rest of the time, I allowed them to play and they impressed me with their interest-led learning.
We had intended to go on a vacation and skip the whole holiday, but that fell through and I had to scramble to purchase some things for under the tree.
I love the Something they Want, Something they Need, Something to Wear, Something to Read. I loosely followed that and it worked beautifully.
Almost everything arrived just in time for Christmas. My husband and I don’t really give each other presents and we’re ok with that. We buy what we want and need whenever throughout the year.
We didn’t make or buy presents for neighbors, coworkers, or friends. We really don’t know anyone and thankfully, we didn’t receive any from anyone so I don’t feel guilty. We sent our Christmas cards to our oil team and friends and family. I ordered presents for my husband’s niece and nephews. I sent a restaurant giftcard to my parents.
We read through Jotham’s Journey each night of the Advent season. The kids were excited each evening and reminded me it was reading time! We enjoy the candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve (except Alex, who promptly fell asleep on me).
On Christmas morning, we read the final chapters of those books first thing and sang “Go Tell it on the Mountain” – it was such a great moment to pause and worship before the present time.
In previous years, the number of presents were overwhelming and there were meltdowns from the sensory overload and stress of everything (kids and me).
This year, I got it just right.
Quality over quantity.
I love the rule of limiting presents to this:
- Something they Want
- Something to Wear
- Something they Need
- Something to Read
The kids were content, grateful, and occupied all day.
I wasn’t stressed and was able to enjoy the holiday. We all made dinner together.