Why haven’t I blogged in a while? Like you, at this time of year, I am busy! But more than ever, I am trying harder to “practice what I preach” by keeping life simple and easy for a more stress-free (and way more fun) holiday season!
What about you? Are you enjoying the simple pleasures of the season, or making yourself miserable trying to do it all? Though I freely admit I have watched every holiday episode of Martha Stewart, Carol Duvall, Barefoot Contessa, and all of the others for the past two decades, I have promised myself that this year is going to be different.
My goal? If it doesn’t make me happy, or doesn’t immediately impact someone I love, I’m scratching it from my “To Do” list.
How about you?
Baking all of those holiday cookies right about now? Guess what? In previous years, I’d toil for weeks, freezing batches and keeping late hours making platters for friends and neighbors that my kids and I would dutifully deliver on Christmas Eve. I have scratched that from my list this year. The only cookies we’ll be baking are for us, and any guests that drop by for a hot chocolate over winter break.
Do I feel the guilt? Slightly. But, truly, everyone is watching the pounds, the sugar intake, and has their own stash of cookies anyhow. So, I’ve made my decision and I’m sticking to it!
Staying up late wrapping packages? Not me. Not this year. I love a beautifully wrapped gift as much as anyone, and I delight in gift-giving and decorating each box with a special touch intended just for the lucky recipient. But this year, because of my deadlines and other more pressing matters, I’ll be using more gift bags, “ordinary” gift wrap, and skipping all of the pretty little doo-dads that I’d normally attach to the tops of every package.
Do I feel the guilt? Slightly. But, I am pretty sure the contents outweighs the presentation anyhow, so I have forgiven myself for not spending more time on gift wrap (sorry, Martha!) and have decided to instead focus my energies on what really counts instead.
Going crazy with household cleaning and decor? That was me, too. But not this year. After my children carried 11 large, plastic totes full of Christmas decorations up two flights of stairs this year, I had a realization. It’s just too much! Despite the contents of my home, I am really a closet minimalist. Privately, I dream of having less, not more. At least for me, adding more stuff just creates more chaos, not to mention more to clean, dust and organize. This time of year is hectic enough, so why add to it by creating more clutter? So, I allowed my children to empty only a couple of boxes and take out only what they really wanted in our home this year. Then, we put away all the rest. I’ll be going through those boxes some time this Spring, and sending much of it off to Goodwill. Case closed.
Do I feel the guilt? Slightly. We have far fewer outdoor decorations for our neighbors to enjoy this year and much less sparkle in our home to impress our guests. What we did manage to put out isn’t even color-coordinated and frankly still makes me blush a tiny bit thinking of what others might “think” coming in to my home. But, you know what? It’s beautiful! And, as a bonus, my children did most of it themselves, and are feeling mighty proud of their contributions this year.
I think you get the idea. So, I won’t waste your time on the details of my swapping out my regular vs. my holiday dinnerware, pressing linens, freshening wardrobes, and attending every Christmas event on the community calendar. Instead, I’ll leave you with the thought of having a lovely family Christmas, instead of a frantic one with little energy left to enjoy any of it anyhow. How does that sound?
And now it’s time for me to run…have lots to do today, but making it count this year.
What are you doing to create a stress-free holiday for your family? Let me know…I just might want to add it to my list for next year, too!