Simplifying Christmas

Below is our daughter’s family Thanksgiving Tree which the family posts on the refrigerator each year. This year that tree was literally loaded with “blessings’.

However, the day after thanksgiving it only took a nano second to convert the Thanksgiving Tree to the Christmas tree (this one is at Great Grandma’s house). Bring on the stress!

Even though Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday (for one thing, it’s so much less stress) the sparkle and charm of the Christmas season is upon us with all the hoopla and mind-boggling details. This Christmas, a lot of good in “our worlds” can be had by simplifying Christmas.

Here are a couple of ideas: We have a daughter whose husband is out of work. They have never been extravagant but this year they let the kids know up front that Santa would be bringing a ONE gift, the grandparents would each be sending a gift, the parents would provide a small gift and there would be a family game or some sort of family entertainment gift. The kids are fine with that and as excited as any kids about Christmas. Their gifts to each other this year are going to be a service to each other. Everything from cleaning up a sibling’s bedroom to helping each other with homework without a complaint. What money they earn they are using to pay for dance lessons and ski rentals. Sounds like a fabulous plan to me!

This holiday season we will be meeting two new grand babies. One in San Diego who was born last week and one in New York City who is due on December 15th. We’re leaving SLC on the 12th and not coming back until the 30th. That makes Christmas so much simpler. We’ve simplified decorations, haven’t put up our usual outside lights and we’re not even putting up a Christmas tree because no one’s going to be here to enjoy it. Even though we have nine children and twenty-three grandchildren to buy gifts for, a huge load seems to be lifted. The time we had spent putting up Christmas decorations was spent organizing gift-giving and for one who usually finishes with gifts about Christmas Eve, I’m almost ready for Christmas! AND I found time to read a Christmas story to one set of grandchildren who live close enough to read to.

Somehow the world has managed to make us think that every Christmas needs to be bigger partly because our kids get bigger and often a little more demanding. Traditions HAVE to be followed, even if they don’t make much sense. Huge dinners HAVE to be provided because that is what is expected. We going to be brave enough to say that there are always ways to simplify Christmas. It may not be through not putting up the Christmas tree but challenge yourself to think of ways to make this Christmas easier. Also remember that t’s essential to lay out the parameters for gifts and stick to it according to your situation this year. It makes Christmas so much less stressful and saves more time for the things that are really important!

Watch for next weeks’ post about simplifying Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinners.

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