It’s the most wonderful (stressful, overwhelming, obligatory, complicated) time of the year!
I really do love this season. I love the hustle and bustle of everyday life when it is surrounded by the tunes of cheery Christmas music and twinkling lights.
That said…there are parts of it that make me just want to crawl in a hole and hibernate ’til Spring.
My Christmas Pinterest board is one of those things.
As many of you have experienced, when we had our little girl we had to start making some decisions about how we were going to ‘do’ the holidays. How were we going to balance the gift-side and the meaning-side? How were we going to divide our time with family in two different states? How were we going to present Santa and Jesus and Gifts and Giving in a fun honorable way? And of course, we had to decide which holiday traditions we were going to create for our new family.
Traditions? What better place to look for creating memorable, meaningful holiday traditions, than browsing your local Pinterest boards. That’s where I went. But as I pinned and pinned and pinned all these wonderful ideas (why didn’t I think of that?) I found myself becoming more and more and more depressed.
How could I possibly recreate all of these wonderful ideas for my own family?
Because who can do a muffin tin advent calendar, have an elf on the shelf and a Christmas Angel, unwrap 25 books, bake cookies, give to every food pantry and the salvation army, fill a shoebox, make diy Christmas cards/wrapping paper/ornaments/gift tags, throw a holiday Pinterest party, go Christmas caroling, drive through the Christmas lights, make a felt Christmas tree, take family pictures (in the snow), watch a passion play, star in a passion play, do a dozen holiday crafts with your kid, decorate your entire house with DIY Christmas decorations, make perfect hand-dipped chocolate covered marshmallows rolled in sprinkles for your kids’ school party, AND sit back and enjoy your family? There was no way.
Oh, but we try, don’t we?
Because it’s the most wonderful time of the year. And it’s when we SHOULD be doing all of this stuff. And making memories. And being crafty.
But all too often in the midst of all our ‘doing’ we lose track of why we’re doing it. And who we’re doing it for.
I’m the worst.
I LOVE Pinterest. I LOVE all the creative ideas out there for making Christmas memorable. But in my attempt to make things memorable, I just make things more complicated. And more stressful. And more forced.
This year, though, it’s going to click for my little one. This year she is going to understand Christmas and take in all the magic.
But only if I step back and just let it be magic.
So what’s the answer? What’s my response to the depression of everything you can’t do at Christmas?
Do what you CAN do.
Do what you LOVE to do…not just what you think is cute because your neighbor did it. Or it’s on your Pinterest board.
DON’T do it all. Let your kids lead. Lean into their interests.
Last year, my answer to that huge paragraph of crap up there was this: I wrapped 25 things for the Pickle to open in December. These 25 things just filled up all the spots in my little Christmas heart. Instead of pulling out all of her Christmas toys on December 1st (or after Thanksgiving) I wrapped them up. Her Little People Nativity. Her Christmas plates and cups. Her Christmas outfits. They were wrapped and placed under the tree with a date on them. I wrapped a spatula for the day we made our Christmas cookies. I wrapped her Christmas books separately. Each with a date. I wrapped an envelope with money in it for the day we took her first trip to a Salvation Army bucket. I wrapped an envelope with stamps for the day she helped me with our Christmas cards.
I could go on for 25 days, but you get the idea. Instead of having a hundred things spinning, I carefully spaced out my tasks and our traditions and desires over those precious 25 days. And it was awesome. We had something fun to open every day. Some days had activities. Others didn’t. I got my Christmas cards done early. We made cookies. She was pacified by “new” toys every few days. We made memories. We tried new things.
And while Pinterest didn’t completely explode all over our house, I got my fix here and there. And I didn’t get too overwhelmed. And we created a new tradition.
But best of all…
it was still magical.
Just like the holidays should be.
How do you balance the meaning and the memories of the holidays?