This year, due to recovering from cancer treatment, I decided to simplify the Holidays and it taught me what's really important and what isn't.
What I LOVE about Christmas-
Making special gifts
Candles in the window
Frost or snow
Visiting friends and family
Old fashioned ornaments
Sharing customs and beliefs with friends of differant faiths
Making a wreath
Paying attention to the Season
As Julie Andrews would sing, these are my favorite things...La La La...But....Some of them were set aside to simplify things this year.
The Christmas Tree - We aren't putting up a Christmas Tree, even though I dearly love them, because I don't have the energy to clean my studio so I can fit my recliner in there, so I can put the tree where the recliner was. My daughter just bought her first house and has her first Christmas tree and wants us to spend Christmas day with her. So no tree. And I'm OK with that.
Snow and Frost - It doesn't look like it's gonna snow here this year. That's OK too.
Baking - I'm only baking and fudge making for close friends and family and a few neighbors.
I'm not doing too much visiting this year because I don't have the energy. I went to see my brother (about and hour and a half away) but I'm not making the yearly trip to my parents because we just saw them at Thanksgiving and I don't think my mom should feel like she has to host everyone again.
Making a Wreath - Didn't do that this year either. But I put some lights on a timer up front.
Paying Attention to the Season - Yes, I've done this. I have listened to the Christmas music that I like (not the traditional stuff) and I've stayed out of the malls and made an effort to buy from local mom and pop stores. I decorated my mantle and I light a fire in the fireplace now and then. My daughter and I bake together and we vary our baking so we do cookies one day and fudge the next, etc, instead of doing an assembly line to crank out 30 batches of fudge that weren't necessary or appreciated. And best of all, We now have a DVR where we record all of the shows we want to watch, so we aren't subjected to endless Christmas consumerism in the form of commercials.
Give more - Instead of giving gifts, in my husband's family, we all make donations in each others names. Our family gives to an organization called Senior Santas, which gives gifts (usually necessities like gift cards to grocery stores) to elderly people who are low income. Christmas isn't just for kids.
I like to get a little extra cash this time of year for the bell ringers. When my kids were young, all of the neighbor kids would get together to bake cookies for the Mission. We like to donate cash, blankets and pet food to the local shelter. And we make sure that the birds outside are fed.
This Year I sat down and wrote a list of Christmas resolutions in my Holiday Journal. They are:
I will try to use recyclable gift wrapping in the form of home-made fabric gift bags, tins, and reusable boxes.
I will attempt to make most of my gifts or buy from local small businesses.
I will jettison anything I deem stressful.
I will be cheerful and relaxed.
I will cherish my friends.
I will give to people who need it but will not spend more than I can afford for the Holiday. The people who matter don't expect me to go into debt to buy them "Stuff".
I will light a candle in the window for my Grandmothers, my Aunt Shirley and my friend Lauren.
I will be present for my family.
I am sure that I will find more to add to my resolutions - at least I hope I do. And I hope that you all can de-stress a bit and realize that this season is all about love and family and friends and not about spending money, excessive partying or impressing others. Give yourself the gift of really enjoying this special time.
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