Christmas is a beautiful and sentimental time of year. It can be filled with joy, laughter and the company of family and friends. For some, however, Christmas becomes stressful, overwhelming and difficult. To be honest, I have spent some time feeling stressed and overwhelmed at the holidays and it wasn't fun. I think that I truly have my Christmas spirit back in recent years. Here is how I found it.
1.) Cut Back. We quit doing Christmas gifts on my side of the family and we have greatly reduced the gifts that we do on Hubby's side. We are always looking to simplify our lives and gifts (however thoughtful or well-intended) were really making this goal difficult. Our shopping list is extremely short and we always follow a similar gift thread. Most of our gifts are either food or sentimental items. Elizabeth makes gifts for the family members and they enjoy receiving something that she has worked on.
We have also cut back on the food that we prepare for our Christmas meal. Growing up, I remember there was always 6 salads, 3 desserts and a crazy amount of baking. I am sure it was stressful for those who prepared it and I honestly didn't like most of it. At Christmas, I crave turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries and buns. We don't often eat turkey so it is a treat all on its own! My Mom prepares our favourite Christmas treats and we forgo dessert so that we can enjoy the baking. When I host Christmas I make a basic turkey meal. Everyone is generally satisfied with that. I usually bake one item. If anyone offers to bring something, I ask for baking. Dessert is taken care of and we can enjoy a variety of treats.
2.) Focus on Faith and Family. We try to be careful when making holiday plans. I don't like to overbook our family with festivities. It is a lot for everyone to handle. We know that we like to see each family at some point during the holiday season. We also value having time to enjoy Christmas festivities with just the 3 of us. I try to figure out our plans well in advance and only book a few events. Sometimes this means saying no to a Christmas party or other social event, but we find that guarding our family time is key to our enjoyment of the holidays.
We also work hard to keep the focus of the season on the birth of Jesus. We do special prayers as a family during Advent and read books focused on the first Christmas. We attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and try to keep our focus on the amazing gift that God bestowed on us. A Child that was born to save us from sin. It is a powerful display of love and one that I am eternally grateful for.
3.) Be organized. Even though we celebrate a rather simple Christmas, we still have things to do. I enjoy sending out Christmas cards to our family and friends. We are hosting Christmas this year and I will be preparing a holiday meal for the family. We make Christmas gifts and purchase a few gifts. All of this requires some planning. The more organized you can be, the more peaceful your holiday season will be. Emily at Queen of The Household has an awesome printable to help you stay organized this holiday season! I enjoy making lists and breaking down the tasks. I then write each item that needs to be completed on my calendar to ensure that everything gets done on time.
How do you enjoy a peaceful holiday season? I would love to hear your ideas!