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Simplifying Christmas

A few weeks ago, Joe and I made a decision. Together.

Instead of spending the week of Christmas in the car, we're staying home.

Staying home is scary and lonesome. Staying home makes me feel like Scrooge or like the Kranks.

Staying home means that Joe and I will miss our respective childhood Christmas celebrations.

And staying home means that Joe and I are creating Grace's childhood Christmas memories.

We've said since before she was born that we wanted Gracie to wake up in her own bed on Christmas morning, and this year, she will.

It's important to me, and it's important to Joe.

It's a priority.

The past couple of years, I've not had good priorities. I've felt overwhelmed, and I've felt like my commitments took the fun and spirit out of the holiday. Things I wanted to do fell behind, and things I did out of a sense of obligation somehow fit into my schedule.

Not this year.

Well in advance of the holiday stresses, I sat down today to make a list of my Christmas priorities.

  • Simplifying ChristmasJoyful
  • Fun, excitement & the magic of the season
  • Spending time as a family
  • God, faith, and the “reason for the season”
  • Love
  • Contentment & gratitude
  • Giving & sharing
  • Food & treats
  • A festive environment including sparkling decorations and twinkling lights
  • Welcoming guests

My list of priorities led naturally to a list of goals for the holiday season.

  1. We will spend time together each of the 29 days of Advent to read scripture, pray, and work on our Jesse tree and Advent wreath.
  2. At least 3 times per week, we will do something fun and “magical” with Grace.
  3. Make or buy (and wrap) gifts for the people we love.
  4. Stop buying gifts for Grace. (We already have plenty of gifts for her – more on this another day.)
  5. Plan and execute beautiful Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas feasts.
  6. Make special holiday treats at least twice.
  7. Get the house clean and keep it that way.
  8. Decorate our home inside and out by Thanksgiving weekend.

These goals make me happy, and they give me an easy litmus test for new tasks. If a proposed activity doesn't fit into one of the following goals, I'm not doing it.

Period.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll expand on what each goal means to me, and what my plans are for achieving each one.

Happily submitted to Tackle It Tuesday and Works for Me Wednesday

© 2009 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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21 thoughts on “Simplifying Christmas”

  1. I feel the same way about staying home but establishing your own holiday traditions for your new family is just as important as celebrating the old traditions. Hope you guys have a wonderful Christmas together!

  2. Best thing we ever did was put an end to traveling to see family during the holidays. For Thanksgiving, we take our daughter to a resort not too far away and spend 5 days just relaxing as a family. Then for Christmas, we have family come to our house so we don't spend the day in the car. It was hard the first year to say we weren't driving here and there, but by the second year we got over it and so did all the grandparents and aunts and uncles. You will not regret your decision.

  3. I feel the same way about spending Christmas morning at home. Our extended family all lives far away and no matter how many times they ask us to go there for Christmas – I always say no. I feel that it is more important to make your own family memories and traditions, especially if you have children.

    Great post!

    DAWN

  4. Staying home for the holidays doesn't have to be a bad thing! Enjoy the time spent together. That's what the holidays are all about, right? 🙂

  5. We made the same decision a couple of years ago. Not everyone was happy with it, but it’s been the best thing for the four of us. Best decision we’ve ever made. Granted we didn’t have to do much traveling, as we live very close to all three sets of grandparents. There were years we went to three different house on Christmas Day. Now we spend Christmas Day at home and the grandparents rotate Christmas Day dinner. One year were with grandparents A, next year B and so on.So much better.

  6. We struggle with this EVERY year. It is so tough. Every year I say I am going to go the simple route and not go anywhere, and then the holidays come around and I somehow change my mind. I applaud you for making your list and planning it all out! And HAVE FUN! I have a 4 year old and a 4 month old, and so far since having my first daughter, every Christmas has gotten better and better!

  7. We stay home every Christmas. We LOVE it. The day is spent relaxing and smelling the yummy turkey cooking. I bet you will enjoy Christmas every bit as much as before.

  8. Five years ago I was pregnant with my 2nd child, due Jan.1, so we had no choice but to stay some for the holidays. I was terrified and dreaded Christmas Eve when my entire family, cousins and all, usually bedded down at my grandmother's every year. We invited friends who also were unable to travel home to our house for Christmas Eve dinner. It ended up being one of the best Christmases ever! So calm and peaceful. No rushing from house to house. My son who was 3 opened presents slowly that morning then we had a nice, quiet breakfast and went to noon Mass. We joked that we would have to have another baby the following year so we'd have another excuse to stay home. My husband ended up getting a new job a few weeks before Christmas the following year so we were “stuck” again. Enjoy your Christmas and make new memories!

  9. Five years ago I was pregnant with my 2nd child, due Jan.1, so we had no choice but to stay some for the holidays. I was terrified and dreaded Christmas Eve when my entire family, cousins and all, usually bedded down at my grandmother's every year. We invited friends who also were unable to travel home to our house for Christmas Eve dinner. It ended up being one of the best Christmases ever! So calm and peaceful. No rushing from house to house. My son who was 3 opened presents slowly that morning then we had a nice, quiet breakfast and went to noon Mass. We joked that we would have to have another baby the following year so we'd have another excuse to stay home. My husband ended up getting a new job a few weeks before Christmas the following year so we were “stuck” again. Enjoy your Christmas and make new memories!

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