Saturday, December 8, 2012

Embrace Holiday Stress?

It is time to take back a lot of words that I’ve written in the past. Long before it was popular I was writing about simplifying Christmas and exploring ways to de-stress the holiday. I had learned to cut down on holiday stress by carefully eliminating the Christmas activities that I disliked or that were cost prohibitive and thus stressful.

The first thing to go was sending out Christmas cards. No more sitting at the dining room table with stacks of cards and my address book, trying to think of something original to write on each card. No more working to cut the number of cards down as the postage prices went up.

Next to be crossed off the Christmas chore list was cookie baking and decorating. When the boys were little I loved the season’s evening of baking plain sugar cookies, spreading them out on the kitchen table with little coffee cups full of different colored homemade frosting.

The kids had fun “painting” the cookies with popsicle sticks dipped in powdered-sugar frosting. But as they got older I began to notice that I ended up at a table full of plain cookies alone once they got bored and disappeared. So, no more cookie night.

We decided as a couple to turn down a few party invitations because we had been leaving the boys with sitters too often in December and that is not what the season is all about. So, fewer party invites were accepted.

Gift giving was also cut back with agreement from our friends to not exchange gifts. Everyone thought this was a great idea because money is always tight, and especially at Christmas time when we need to give to our families more than anyone else.

Hubs and I laughed about this one year when we realized that the only gifts we were buying for people outside our family were for strangers or mild acquaintances at gift exchange parties. Why were we finding white elephant gifts for someone we did not know and not buying something meaningful for our best friends?

You may not see where this is heading, but we continued to cut and cut, until now I sit here in my pre-grandchildren empty nest with very little to do and not very many to do for.

Stress is not a problem now.

High anticipation is nowhere to be seen.

I bought gifts for my sons and their ladies online the other day with a few clicks and no wrapping. I love gift-wrapping! We can’t travel this year and neither can my out-of-state son and daughter-in-law.

It is quiet and peaceful. Too peaceful, too quiet.

Are you wishing you could skip the school Christmas program? Is it a hassle to figure out where to hide your kid’s gifts so they won’t find them? Are you wondering how in the world you will have time to make the cookies that the church needs for the give-away?

Embrace the craziness!

Do the cards, cookies and caroling!

Revel in the chaos!

Do all the events that you can fit in. Stay up late finishing the stocking stuffers. Bake a million cookies and experiment with that awesome idea you saw on Pinterest!

It is only a SEASON. The craziness won’t last forever. Christmas chaos is a small part of your year. And a small price to pay for great memories.

It only lasts a SEASON.

The kids are little for only a season. In the middle of the full-calendar-kind-of -days it can feel like forever. But it is not for forever. It is temporary.

Grab it all, photograph it all, listen to it all and store it deep. Don’t fight it, go with it.

Embrace the “stress”.
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  1. Stress? Hmmmm.

    I'm hibernating through the season. No stress at all!

    Christmas blessings, and Bear hugs, too.

  2. Amen! How I miss the days of all that chaos and stress...when our sons were young and our home was full of children, noise, and excitement.

    1. Hopefully it will not stay quiet though. I am planning on more full-house kind of holidays in the future!

  3. Oh your beautiful heart...
    thank you for that reminder. I must confess to you, my palms turn sweaty when I consider baking and decorating beautiful cookies with my son because his grandma can not be beat....but look what I'm doing. making it about me when it should be about the season! even if the memory is spending time making "cute" cookies that look better than they taste :)

    hugs to you! thrilled to meet you over at 5 minutes for faith today!

    1. Ha! No worries. I never said anything about the cookies being "beautiful" now did I? They definitely were not pretty!

  4. I half embrace it...I love doing cards BUT leave baking for my hub. I just want snow and a quiet Christmas. But I will try...;)


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