Merry Christmas!

There are so many things coming at us right now: ads, deadlines, outside pressures, internal pressures, house prepping for guests, planning and packing for travel… I almost decided not to send anything out this month. But, I’ve found a few ways to keep my December slow and simple, so thought I would share to encourage those of you trying to do the same. Take what you want and leave the rest!

This year has been a tough one for us. We’ve dealt with stresses from all angles, and are currently dealing with some pretty intense stuff. But I’m not going to let that take priority over keeping the magic alive for my family this Christmas. Here are a few ways I’ve done that and I’m pretty excited about how it’s going so far.

  • The decor. I decluttered our holiday bins big time a few years ago, and every year when I put things away I minimize and organize better. So this year I knew exactly which bins were most important. I got those out, decorated with our favorite things, and left the rest! I may do outside garlands and multiple Santas and all the things next year, but this year simple is much less stressful during our home renovation projects. And you know what? It’s lovely! I still have a touch of Christmas in every room… lights on a palm on the landing, lights around my closet, lights on the mirror and a Santa soap dispenser in the bathroom, sparkly garland around Jude’s bed… there are adorable touches everywhere, and I appreciate them all so much more than I usually do when I have too much out. Keep it simple!
  • The tree. I want the whole Hallmark experience when purchasing a real tree, and usually we do our best to find places that let us get as close to that as possible. But this year? We bought our tree and a bucket of drywall mud in one stop at Menards. It was way cheaper, we needed to go there anyway, and we still had fun picking out the perfect one. It’s really pretty – honestly it’s one of the better looking trees we’ve had! We may do the whole day tree cutting down adventure again next year, but this year it would have caused way more stress than joy, and I’m super glad we avoided that. Keep it joyful!
  • The food. My mom has decided to do a lasagna this year instead of our traditional formal dinner spread (that we’ve had all 40 of my Christmases). I’m all for this for many reasons, one of them being that this is my favorite meal my mom makes! But it simplifies so much for all of us, and I’m proud of her for making a change and starting a new tradition. She can make the entire meal ahead, we’re going to use her regular dishes instead of the fancy china, all I have to bring is a salad, and maybe my kids will actually eat more than bread! Maybe. And for our meals on Christmas Day at our home, we’re doing store-bought donuts, deli sandwiches, and crackers and cheese. I decided to do a quick and easy meal that reminded me of my dad, so I’ll be getting the traditional cheese and crackers and deli stuff he used to get for us, you know, before charcuterie was cool. I’m excited to bring in this tradition for my family, and thrilled that it means way less work and mess for me. Keep it meaningful!
  • The expectations. I am learning that this is where it’s all at. We have expectations for ourselves based on years of doing things certain ways for other people. We have expectations for our spouses and kids that we wouldn’t normally have, just because of the pressures we feel to please everyone else. No naps? No quiet time? All the new toys and extra people and travel and excitement, and they are supposed to be able to sit still and eat at the dinner table with the adults on fine china? My 4 year old barely does that on a normal day. This year I’m doing my best to have grace for myself, my family, and everyone else involved in our holiday shenanigans. I mean, I’m about to go shopping with Mr. Smith today, and usually my goal is to be completely done, spreadsheet finalized, and wrapping coordinated by Thanksgiving. But I’m excited to do this together, and honestly, I feel like a more reasonable tradition for us is going to be a last minute shopping spree and dinner date combo a few days before the big day. Family celebrations have already been cancelled. The other one may cancel due to weather. We can’t control other people and we can’t control the weather. But we can make the best of what we can control, and slowing down, really paying attention to what matters to us, and letting go of the rest is where it’s at. Keep it real!

Have an amazing Christmas, everyone! I’d love to hear how you’ve made yours simple, joyful, meaningful, and real this year. 🎄❤️🎄❤️🎄

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