How to Have a Simple Christmas

In this season of raising babies in the midst of a renovation and being pregnant, I have proclaimed a simple Christmas this year.  I hope to keep the motto 'keep it simple' as long as possible, well into next year when we welcome our third little one.

Today I'm sharing some ways I am keeping Christmas simple this year.  These are not original and come from chatting with friends, family, Pinterest, and sometimes come to me in the middle of the night when I get up to use the bathroom for the third time. #pregnantproblems

Guilt-Free Decorating
This year I didn't want to get out the garland that wraps around the railing. I didn't want to put every single Christmas platter or tree or decoration on my countertops.  So, I didn't.  I chose the things that make Christmas feel special to me and let the kids help.  I also am utilizing as many natural elements as possible: fresh greenery cut from outside, mini trees from Trader Joe's, a poinsettia...things that can be tossed outside in the burn pile or scattered for animals to use when we are finished with them.

Simplify the Advent Calendar
In the past I have done an advent calendar of sorts with my littles.  One blogger does 25 random acts of kindness and I was inspired by her last year to do this with my kids.  Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure I quit half way through because it was just too too much.  Partly because we live about 25 minutes from anything and partly because December is just plain crazy and my energy tapped out about December 12.

An advent calendar or a countdown to Christmas is still important to me and it's a tradition I want to share with my children for years to come.  This year I decided on five random acts of kindness and the rest of the days are filled with simple things like 'sip on hot cocoa', 'have a pajama day', 'read a Christmas book in front of the tree' and there are even a few pieces of candy sprinkled in there when I know that day will be busy.  It took a bit of planning, but I think we might actually make it all the way to December 25 this year.

Fewer Gifts
Kevin and I have never been big on 'stuff'.  We like to keep things simple and clutter free as much as possible, toys included.  Both of our kids have their birthdays in November, so they are already overloaded with stuff come Christmas.  Sometime before Luke was born I found a Christmas gift idea on Pinterest that included four gifts: something to wear, something to read, something you want, something you need.  We have done this the past few years and while it seems simple enough, there were times Luke didn't need anything to wear or there wasn't anything he needed and it made it tough because I felt like I was buying things unnecessarily.

My mother-in-law told me about giving three gifts to each child to represent how Jesus received three gifts.  That is what we are doing this year.  Both kids will receive three gifts, no guidelines involved, just three gifts.  They will also get their stockings filled with small things like stickers and new toothbrushes.  Simple enough for me.

Kevin and I decided we will only fill each other's stockings this year.  With the renovation and new baby coming, it just makes sense to give ourselves one less thing on our to-do list...plus we are having a Christmas date night and that is a present in itself!

Leave Space on the Calendar
About a week ago Kevin and I sat down with our calendars and talked about the things that were important for us to do as a family this year during the Christmas season.  There were three things on the list: visit Lauritzen Gardens, go to the kid's Christmas event at church, and visit Santa and the big tree at the Durham Museum.  We put these on our calendars along with the few events we have as a couple and the few I have with girlfriends.  We did have to rethink and say 'no' to a few things this year, but that is what is best for our family.  Our calendar is not overloaded this year.  There are a few Saturdays and Sundays that are actually free.  We even planned a Christmas date night.  It took about twenty minutes on a Sunday afternoon and was so worth it. A last caveat to this...when I see a family on Facebook or Instagram doing something totally Christmas-y I...#1 don't feel guilty about it and #2 promise myself I will not add that incredible tradition to our plate this year.  Every family is different and none of us can do it all.

Easy Gifting
'Gifts' is one of my top love languages.  I love to give thoughtful and meaningful gifts to the ones I love, especially at Christmas time.  I am trying to simplify that this year and shop online as much as possible as well as think about gifting similar gifts to groups of people.  For example, I am giving one super easy gift to all of Luke and Lily's church teachers, MOPS teachers, our neighbors, the mailman, etc.  I want people to feel loved and thanked this season, but I think it can be done in a way that doesn't bring bunches of stress to the giver.

Another way I made gifts easier this year was by starting early.  I have a special tub I keep items I collect that will be perfect for my mom or Kevin's sister, etc.  I store it away and then have it ready for when Christmas is here.

Festive, Simple Fashion
Dressing myself and two children during the holidays is no joke.  When we are going to a fun Christmas event or party where pictures will be taken, I want us to look somewhat presentable.  This year I have two to three outfits picked out for each of us for these events.  Luke has a few shirts and jeans, Lily a few dresses and a pair of leggings with a top.  I have a few tops paired with jeans or leggings and one dress for more formal gatherings.  Kevin is on his own, because he always looks good and selecting male clothing is not my gift.  I can feel confident when I push snooze on Saturday morning because I know there is something for all of us to wear.

Implementing Freezer Meals and Leftovers
Making dinner has not been something I have been wanting to do a whole lot of lately.  I have been using the crock pot at least twice a week, using up my freezer meals I made this fall and being creative with leftovers to make our food and my time more plentiful.  This is helpful all year long, but especially during this busy season.

Giving Myself Grace
Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year and I want to take in as much as possible and enjoy the magic and wonder that fills December.  I love to read a Christmas book and watch Christmas movies on the couch cuddled under a blanket with a cup of peppermint hot cocoa.  I am giving myself permission and grace to do this the next few weeks during nap time or at night after the kids go to bed.  Besides, this season only comes around once a year.

As one of the best seasons comes to life around us, I want to slow down, take it in, and make as many memories as possible.  They may not be picture perfect and there might be tears and whining intertwined with those memories, but that is real life and I'm thankful for this Christmas season nonetheless. Keeping it simple this year will help us to focus on the real reason for the season, the baby that was born to save the world.

Merry Christmas, everyone!  I hope your Christmas is merry, bright, and simple!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...