How is the holiday season for you so far? We just got done with Thanksgiving and now here we are right in the thick of Christmassing. This time of year can be so overwhelming, even when you had your person. Are you holding up ok?
The thing I want to share with you this December is that we can simplify our approach to Christmas. We may have traditions and to-do lists swimming in our heads. We may have people pressuring us for traditions that we are not up for. We don’t have to do everything just because we did before. We should only do something because we want to, not because we feel guilty not doing it. Or even worse, someone makes us feel guilty for not doing it.
Wherever you stand in Christmas faith, go there. What is your reason for celebrating? Right now, think of your reason. Pause and decide what is the most important thing you can do for yourself and your people.
Mine is to celebrate Christ’s birth so I am going to pray and ask God to walk alongside me this season. I am going to grab my kids several times over break, hug them, and pray over them. What better gift could I give them?
I hardly ever used to do that.
At Thanksgiving, some of you may have seen my Facebook post about how despondent I felt when I realized I had no Thanksgiving traditions. As I began thinking about writing to you, I realized though that I do have Christmas traditions. They weren’t all obliterated when Eric died.
I was excited throughout my whole heart that I do have grounding traditions. But they are small. Small but important. Zero stress-inducing.
Lights up ASAP! I tried to hang lights around my big dining room window during my first year being a widow. Can you imagine? Me on a ladder? I did it though, badly because when I pulled into the driveway a couple of days later the puppies had grabbed the lights, pulled them down, and demolished them. This was a low point for sure. Starting in year two I hired a handyman to hang them for me. He gets extra money for hanging lights, I get the joy of being one of the first and last in the neighborhood to have the beautiful lights. November, December, January! I love driving up to my lighted house!
We choose small trees already in stands from Ace Hardware now and put them around the house. The first year, just the thought of putting a tree on the roof of my car, dragging it in, and putting it into a stand gave my stomach knots. So, I lightened the blow to myself and my kids by allowing each one of us to have and decorate a tiny tree. Victory! A tradition that I can manage!
Christmas Eve charcuterie. This stems from my parent’s Christmas Eve feast after church. And I keep it up because I love to gather around cheese. LOL
That is it. Is it enough? Yes, it is. And I don’t even want more (except for the pub cheese!).
I used to have so many traditions and things we would do, and I would buy so much. Since Eric died, I just have less taste for buying things. Christmas consumption makes me feel nauseous now. Maybe that won't last forever, but for now, I love to do things small.
Are you stressed about Christmas traditions? First, know that what you do is entirely up to you. You can have control over what traditions you keep and which ones you pause for now and maybe never go back to.
If you are stressed, write a list of the things you are stressed about. Look at the list and cross off any things you don't want to do. And don't do them.
If people are disappointed or want to tell you that you have to do them, say, "I am sure you will understand, but I am not up to doing xxx."
May your Christmas be filled with peace and sprinkled with memories, joy, and maybe a few new traditions.
PS I would love to see how you are Christmassing. Share a photo on my Simplier Christmas Facebook post. Or write to me and tell me anything you want like how it is too hard or whatever is on your mind. I don’t judge and I answer all my emails. Chances are I have had the exact feelings. email@example.com