This time of year is both wonderful and stressful. Perceived expectations to meet, from scouring stores and online sites to find the perfect gifts to making all those Pinterest crafts and appetizers so your home looks, smells and feels like Christmas. Then there’s the traditions that the family looks forward to while you think, “How can I possibly do it all and be sane (and alive) on Christmas Day?” And aside from all the festivities, hoping that the true spirit of Christmas can linger in my home longer than the prayer that is said over the Christmas meal.
This year I went through my mountainous collection of Christmas decorations and kept a few special ones and boxed up the rest for charity. Gone are the days of setting up 5 trees (yes, I really did do that!) and ornaments in every room of the house. And while I love to send and receive Christmas cards, I’ve scaled back on the number I’m sending, opting for a generic letter to those family members who live far away that may want to know about our family’s important events. My husband and I have even simplified gift giving by allowing our grown kids to pick out what they want (within reason, of course). Stress-free and and assured they want it, like it and/or it fits.
I’ve also evaluated what’s really important to me about the Christmas season. This is what I’ve come up with: spending time with family and friends, focusing on the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and creating pockets of time where spontaneous memories can be made. It doesn’t have to be huge or expensive. It’s having an ornament exchange party and being able to visit with dear friends I never get to see – even though we live a few minutes away! It’s looking forward to baking cookies with my daughter and daughter-in-law and then sharing some with a few friends and neighbors. It’s planning a simple Christmas dinner so we’re not slaving away in the kitchen and we can enjoy the day and each other’s company. It’s letting go of those unrealistic expectations and simply enjoying this time of year when people all over the world come together to celebrate the most important event that ever happened on the earth. It’s being a little kinder to those around us; even when they’re not. It’s sharing the hope and joy that comes from knowing that God loves us so much so that He sent His beloved, perfect Son to come to the earth.
So snuggle up with the family in your pjs and watch The Christmas Story, drink hot cocoa, eat some treats and find time to enjoy what makes this the most wonderful time of the year!