Christmas is a time of joy, peace, and goodwill. Or at least, that’s what the songs and carols say. But is it, truly? I mean, how much goodwill do you feel when your toddler has yanked down the carefully placed ornaments for the 6th time in one morning? How much peace is there in holiday shopping?
I am gonna let out a secret to peaceful holidays.
Don’t do it.
Really. Don’t do the frantic shopping, the endless crafting, the perfect decor. Just stop.
But this is our TRADITION!! I can hear you yell. Yes. Maybe it is. But how about a new tradition? You can always make a new one – if you are excited and upbeat about it, your kids are probably more open to the idea than you think. Just lay down the need for the ‘Joneses’ Christmas. Get back to the ‘Little House’ kind. You know – where everyone had secrets in the weeks leading up th Christmas? And there were popcorn strings and cutout angels on the tree? One gift per person on the breakfast plate? Yeah. That’s the kind of Christmas I’m talking about.
Not saying you have to be stingy, or boring, or mean. But simplicity is not Scrooge-like. It’s just a lost art. When I see all the tips on how to balance your Christmas budget, I think, “Wow”! Really? Why buy gifts when you can’t afford them? Since when have we gotten so weak-spined that we can’t graciously turn down a Secret Santa party or the 3rd Christmas party? (if it involves gifts) I mean, if you have the money – go for it!! But it makes me a little sad seeing people wreck their whole budget, their sanity, and their lives all month, just to satisfy the whiny kids. (or the trashman – really??) Trust me, I know it’s easier short term to just cave. Whether it’s family, kids, job, church, you name it. But I don’t think that is the way to do it. I think lessons on life are more needed by our children to day, than another plastic toy. Maybe not as appreciated right now – but one day…
Here’s what we are doing this year:
Budgeting money: Homemade gifts. Yep. Still working on what I can make that will be actually a treat for my son. What do you make for a 10-year-old boy? And just one gift each. The one-gift policy is how we started out, so the kids aren’t expecting anything more. That alone is the best thing we’ve done to keep things sane. They look forward to that one gift at Christmas, just like they look forward to their one gift at their Birthdays.
Simplify: I let them decorate the tree (and the house!) just how they like. In fact, they did it 100% alone, I still haven’t touched the tree. If something looks funky, well, it looks good to them, and that’s why we have the tree, right? To have a fun time of decorating? They will grow up and do it more neatly soon enough. I like their childish touches right now!
Besides, we all love a homemade Christmas. We like colorful lights, red, green and gold decor…basically everything traditional and cozy. While I think the blue and white decor is stunning – it seems a little too cold and impersonal for us. My husband likes the lights big and colorful! I have to say – nothing so cozy as early morning when the tree is softly glowing.
Shopping: Making our own gifts, reusing ornaments, = no need to shop! Yay!
OK, well, we still have to eat, and I will be going in this week for our Christmas ham, and some goodies to make a Christmas feast. But you know what? getting food is less intimidating when you aren’t trying to keep your eyes open for gift ideas at the same time.
What about you? are you having an old-fashioned Christmas? Or do you thrive in the hustle and bustle of modern holiday mode? (That’s OK, too.)
Note: We don’t always do homemade gifts, and I’m not against more than one gift. It’s just what we’ve had to do this year. These ideas are not meant to attack anyone – just a new way of looking at things!