I talk a good line when it comes to simple living, but I have a much harder time actually “walking the walk”. I want our family life to be calm and relaxing, yet find myself encouraging the kids to be involved in lots of activities. During the Christmas season, I find myself trying to “do” all the Christmas traditions – baking, decorating, going to parties, etc. – even though it goes completely against my dream of a more “simple” holiday.
This year, though, I think we finally had a simple Christmas. Yes, it was largely brought about by a very long-lasting headache, but the end result was good. I wasn’t involved in any Christmas cookie exchanges, so I only baked a couple of times during the holidays, and then just for our family. I had started my Christmas knitting very early, so the packages were all ready to send a full week before Christmas. This left me with more relaxing projects right around Christmas because it wasn’t critical that they were done by a certain time, thus lowering my stress level. We certainly didn’t spend any more on Christmas this year than we usually do, and I suspect that we may have spent less. PWM, Rosie Girl, and Wild Man did all the wrapping of gifts that were being mailed. I only wrapped one present for the four of us here at home. Otherwise, we used gift bags or Christmas boxes. (Note: We don’t put our Christmas gifts out until after the kids go to bed. I’m not sure they are old enough yet to have the temptation of an untaped box or gift bag for several weeks set before them!)
Overall, we had a great Christmas. On Christmas Eve, Rosie Girl and PWM played with the worship team at church and Wild Man just generally helped out. I went to the first Christmas Eve service and then had some extra time to finish straightening the house before everyone got home. Christmas morning started at around 7:30 (I love that my kids are getting older). We spent all Christmas Day just hanging out and playing with our Christmas gifts. Wild Man took most of the day to put together his Lego Hogwarts. Rosie Girl watched some movies while I read my books and PWM used his new carving tool. We planned to go to the assisted living facility where our former neighbor now lives (as of a couple of weeks ago), but when I called to inquire, they said that he was out for the day. Yay for him!
Tonight, we had our Christmas dinner. I made a roast with mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing (savory bread pudding), and shredded and buttered carrots. PWM made sure that the table got cleaned off and the food put away and I finished cleaning the kitchen.
I think we succeeded! We met all our holiday commitments, but managed to stay relaxed and not overly busy. Now, to do this next year without having a headache to force it on us!