Last year, I wrote about the anxiety I was feeling as we entered the holiday season. Knowing it was going to be different for all of us was exciting, but it was still a struggle, that ended with me almost imploding our Christmas.
Lesson learned (for the millionth time): Wanting to do something can be easy. Doing it (with or without tears and struggle), can be a different story.
This year, I took a deep breath and determined to be a big girl about it all.
We stuck with our determination to keep it simple, and avoid getting sucked into the pressure of buying, just for the sake of buying. And (surprise!) it’s been wonderful, relaxing, and full of meaning.
Some of the free, nearly free, or reasonably priced things we’ve manage to spread throughout the season:
1) Picked our tree at Home Depot: Randy and I got the tree and set it up while the kids were at their dad’s for Thanksgiving break.
(side note: I made the door hanging from the limbs we trimmed off of the bottom of the tree. That bow? $1 at the Dollar Tree. Score one for my wallet and my sanity.)
2) Decked the halls: In preparation for their return, we strung lights all throughout the inside of the house – the kitchen, bedrooms, railings… but we left the tree undecorated (except for the lights and garland, because let’s face it – that job is hard enough without the kids having to suffer through watching me attempt to untangle all the lights while I watch my language.)
3) Making ornaments: One of the things we enjoyed so much last year was making all of the ornaments for the tree. Except for a couple of little tingly bells, everything else is made by the kids. Even the star is an origami star Abbie made at school. We add to it daily, so it’s not fully decorated until the tree comes down.
I state, at least once a day, how beautiful our tree is. Not only that, it makes me smile!!!
4) Enjoyed our town’s Christmas parade, which passes right in front of our home
5) Watching Christmas movies with all the lights out, except for the tree
6) Dance Party – Christmas Music style
7) Attending the McWane Science Center’s Members Party
8) Watching a preschool and kindergarten Christmas pageant
9) Driving around and looking at lights
11) Baking cookies
12) Adding holiday sprinkles to random food items (the kids love that!!)
13) Donating gently used clothes and toys to Jimmie Hale Mission
We’ve managed to enjoy so much, without spending insane amounts of money. The kids have spent the entire month full of wonder and joy.
Do I believe my children feel deprived? Not for one second.
I would never ever try to tell anyone how to spend Christmas. But my point is that, if you have ever considered celebrating Christmas in your own, simple, unique way, try it.
It will take some thought and planning (I’d dare say, more than it takes to do the sorts of Christmases we did before), but you’d be amazed by the return on your investment, when it’s purposeful.