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Tips for Surviving Christmas

2013 December 18


A few weeks back, I wrote about my wish for a more peaceful holiday season. One that was steeped in gratitude and simplicity and a more thoughtful approach to the whole thing. Well, I have to admit that it hasn’t been all kumbaya and deep breathing over here the past few weeks, but I have definitely done my best to enjoy the season with a different perspective. Here’s how:

Make a list and check it twice. We made a list for each person we had to gift this year and stuck to it…for the most part. We talked through our ideas with a glass of wine in-hand and made it fun and then took to the stores with a plan in place. Are we done? Absolutely not. And not one thing is wrapped. But it saved a lot of time and anxiety wandering around the mall looking for “the right thing” to come your way.

We dialed down. Instead of cooking every last thing for our holiday party, we bought some stuff. We skipped advent calendars (and no one seemed to notice). The Elf has done nothing but move locations. We scaled back the Christmas card list to 25. We did our own photo shoot (see above)….ok, that wasn’t any less stressful, let’s be honest. But overall, we let little things slide and let the big things take center stage.

We let the littles lead. Gingerbread cookies for breakfast have been par for the course over the past week and I don’t mind at all. We piled everyone into the car one evening last week with burgers and fries and went out looking at Christmas lights, way past our bedtime. We bought elf hats and some of us wore them to school and the park and the library and…you get it. We’ve made exceptions to screen-time rules, but only for Christmas cartoons. We have really let our kids bring the magic to the holiday and then we sit back and soak it all in through them.

We are mindful. When you’re sitting in traffic to get into the mall or a tree ornament breaks or a family member says the wrong thing – again…those are the moments where being mindful matters most. We have been really conscious of catching ourselves in the chaos and just saying, this is no big deal. Not something worth stressing about. This isn’t going to bother me. And most of the time, it won’t.

We embrace the glow. That Christmas tree. Those twinkly lights strung along Little D’s headboard. The entry way to our house. The whole world seems to be glowing right now and when the long days are done and the world is sleepy and there’s nothing but you and that glow…you have to take a moment to embrace it. To enjoy it. To feel it. That’s Christmas spirit, right there. You need to catch it before it’s gone.

6 Responses leave one →
  1. stella permalink
    December 18, 2013

    Thanks for the reminder; really needed to read this today. This December has been really overwhelming on various levels and I need to just simplify and breathe. I also am so thankful for my 3 year old whose excitement about the holiday lights, Santa and cookies reminds me of the magic of this season and allows me to see the world through her eyes. Happy Holidays!

  2. December 19, 2013

    I like the sentiment, and it’s what really seems true. I find this this time of year completely overwhelming and I often ended up feeling pretty depressed by it all – and it’s so easy to loose sight of what it’s actually about. Thanks for sharing and happy holidays!

  3. liz permalink
    December 19, 2013

    Love this post and completely agree with taking it all in. It feel like every year Christmas comes and goes with a blink of an eye, but it feels so good when it’s here. Loving your suggestions and even more, the picture of your “littles.”

    Have a very Merry Christmas with your fam!!

  4. December 19, 2013

    I like your list! I hate that I’ve been reading these 10+ itemized lists of MUST-DOs during the holidays. Taking an easier and simpler approach always works best – this year we saw a Christmas parade in Seattle, but didn’t get to see the one in our hometown – were the kids crushed? No, we watched The Grinch and drank hot chocolate instead – kids are happy singing Christmas carols while driving around looking at lights. It’s the simple things that make people the most happiest!

  5. linette permalink
    December 20, 2013

    love this, thank you. Simple is always better in my book.

  6. December 23, 2013

    Yes. Just yes.

    OK. more. my favorite part: letting the littles lead. their joy and glee is infectious.

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