Several days ago I sat on my bed and I felt...paralyzed. I looked at the copious amount of clothes on the floor, clean and dirty. I thought of my kitchen that was not what one would call clean. I inwardly panicked at the school that I felt I needed to do and wasn't doing with the kids. And my mind ran on...gifts, baking, cards, calls, texts, email, blogs, invitations. I battled myself on how much I could possibly do in each of these categories. I want to do so much, but I crave simple. I feel guilty when my own expectations fall at the feet of reality and exhaustion.
So, I've been thinking about what I will do and will not do as December days roll through.
I will buy most of my Christmas treats at Trader Joe's. I don't necessarily enjoy baking, but it always feels like it's some sort of holiday rite of passage. If the fancy strikes me, then I will, but no Pinterest binge ambitions for me. Today D and Cece are baking granola and Belle and I are making porcupine meatballs (they are not made of porcupine meat...I had to clarify to my girl...).
I will try to keep the house "neutral." I can't keep up with Christmas and my normal home, so I will give myself grace. I may not entertain like I would like, but that can wait until January. December doesn't have to be the social pinnacle of the season.
I am not writing Christmas cards or taking Christmas pictures. Just too much. We left most of our ornaments in boxes this year. I LOVE my ornaments, but again, to simplify, this will go. We are de-junking before January but stopping when it feels overwhelming.
We are reading lots of picture books and I am mostly just re-reading books I love. We are playing games. This afternoon I read Belle Mortimer's Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson. We love this sweet story. Then she requested Candy Land and although I inwardly cringed I took the ten minutes to play a game with my sweet girl. In my defense, I have played games of Candy Land that have taken near an hour and nearly cost me my sanity.
We're going to watch a lot of Christmas movies. We love them. We have our favorites (see list at bottom) and we find new ones we like. We snack, we snuggle, and we work on fun projects or gifts while we watch. What's on tonight you ask? WHITE CHRISTMAS. Best movie ever and the kids have joined in with me in requesting it.
We want to laugh more. This afternoon, we had a frowning Belle walk into our bedroom, shoulders slumped:
"Mommy, I made a mistake." (a resigned sigh)
"What did you do?"
"I broked this candy cane from the tree."
"How did it break?
"Well...I was scratching Barzi's back (our dog), and then it just broked in half!"
[insert me glancing at my husband, trying to not crack a smile, but dying inside]
No punishment necessary because she did come and confess and didn't just nab the candy cane and cover it up. She was hoping to eat the broken candy cane, but we declined her request.
So, anyway, I personally am going to try to let more things roll off. Laugh. Snicker. Giggle.
We want to take the time to chat with neighbors, talk on the phone to those we love, meet for coffee, be kind to the frazzled holiday workers and shoppers and savor the time with each other in our home. Knowing we cannot connect with everyone we would like to, but trusting the connections that are set in front of us.
I suppose my overall feeling is that I'm not going to do December perfectly and it won't be stress free. We will take each day and moment and trust God in how it plays out. There will be things dropped and left undone, but I hope that it will yield a peace that we did what God called us to, in the big and little moments of this Christmas season.
p.s. I've loved the devotional Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are by Shauna Niequist. I've especially appreciated her December entries. Exactly what my heart had been feeling and needed to hear.
Christmas movies!My favorites: White Christmas, Sound of Music (played on TV every Christmas growing up), and While You Were Sleeping
My husband: It's A Wonderful Life (not much of a movie watcher, but I made him choose. And I quote: "That's the only Christmas movie I like except Mistletoe Delight, you know, the one about the girl who..."[and he continues with his exaggerated description]. He gets a little snarky sometimes...but we laugh. And for the record I have never made him watch any movie with this title. Close, but not exactly.
D (age 12): The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe; Mrs. Miracle; Call Me Mrs. Miracle
Cece (age 10): Dear Santa, A Princess for Christmas, Samantha: An American Girl Holiday
Belle (age 7): Frozen, Rise of the Guardians, and Arthur Christmas