Cutting Back at Christmas

Christmas village and trainsIt’s a few days before Christmas, and I am realizing that there may not be enough time to do all the things I’d hoped for the holidays.

A month ago I dragged boxes of decorations up from the basement. I was so proud of myself for getting a head start on Christmas this year. Today, those boxes still sit where I dropped them at the top of the stairs.

The few decorations we managed to hang look down mockingly at me as if to say, “Really? Obviously you are no Martha Stewart!” I wonder if it would have been better to not put up decorations at all but then promise myself today will be the day I decorate.

I did find a few hours to bake with Noah and Kaleb, but that was over a week ago, and by the time the cookies cooled, I no longer had time to wrap them properly so they sit crumbling on my counter.

Actually not all the cookies are crumbling. I’ve eaten more than my share!

Throw in gifts to buy and wrap, cards I probably won’t send again this year, food to prepare, a house to clean, and all the other aspects of everyday life which don’t slow down for the Christmas season, and you get a mom who thinks of hitting the eggnog early.

But our eggnog is nonalcoholic and extremely fattening so it’s time to reevaluate what I am doing and how I am doing it.

Like little Christmas bulbs going on in my head, I begin to see how I can cut back, reduce stress, and bring the magic of Christmas to our home.

I step over the pile of laundry and cuddle before school with Fred and Noah.  We won’t be able to chat about Santa, and sleighs, and flying reindeer much longer, but I’ll always have laundry.

The four older boys are off to school so I throw that laundry in the washer and fold yesterday’s while Kaleb plays his trains. I take out our lighted Christmas houses and place them around Kaleb’s train tracks. We’ve created an entire village, spread the Christmas spirit, and he is thrilled! I know the houses may break, but it’s worth the risk when I see his face light up brighter than the Christmas tree in the center of his little Christmas village.

Upstairs, I spend a few minutes putting away dishes as Kaleb scribbles on the cards I’ll never have time to write out. I know Grandparents and a few others will appreciate his autograph more than mine. At least some cards are now done!

I go to work and skip shopping on the way home. I don’t have the money to spend now and my kids don’t need more stuff. They need more time. I pick Kaleb up from his sitter a few minutes early and surprise the boys.

We do a dessert-before-dinner night and my kitchen turns upside down as each boy makes his own favorite Christmas cookie. I run from one mixing bowl to the other helping here and there and thankful the older boys can pretty much do their own. Kaleb is given a bag of salt and flour and adds water for salt dough ornaments they make while the cookies are baking.

I go crazy and let the kids skip showers tonight (except the older two who play basketball and need to shower).

Every Christmas vacation, I take the boys to a movie. This year we’ll see the Muppets so I bought the Season 1 DVD for Christmas but, instead of waiting, tonight we will skip the reading I try to do each night and veg out in front of the TV together. The boys are thrilled and I admit it’s good to do something completely mindless and just sit back and laugh. We all appreciate the fact that something blows up on every episode.

Yes, we all get to bed late again, the house is messier than I’d hoped, and the little ones may not be as clean as they should be either, but we are a closer, happier family and more in the spirit of Christmas.

I cannot help but think the Baby Jesus would be much happier too knowing we let some of the preparation go and just enjoyed being a loving family.

Please hug your children and value yourself and them enough to give them your most precious gift:  you. God Bless you and Merry Christmas!

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  1. Pingback: Spent Too Much on Gifts? How to Make the Most of the Christmas Return Policy | Single Mom Smiling

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