I’m pretty sure 1 bajillion (totally a real number in my world) people have already written about this. AND, they’ve probably even said it better.
But I’m going to share it anyway, because when I was listening to K-Love and Air1 a few months ago and had heard some of the same songs a few times in a day I thought, “Man Lord, why can’t there be even more uplifting/positive music on the radio? And not the 80’s boring stuff? I want to hear more bands like Switchfoot and Toby Mac and Mandisa, Anberlin, 10th Ave North, and Brandon Heath singing good stuff. But there’s just not currently enough to fill twenty radio stations all day long. And that’s when God was like, “Remember when you told me you didn’t need to do a blog because fifty kajillion people already have blogs and write amazing stuff? Well here you sit wanting more awesome and uplifting music, and you need to take your own advice and pen a blog even IF a zillion other people are already writing.” He didn’t say it exactly like that, but you get the idea.
On that tangent – I’m taking my own advice and going even farther. Talking on a subject that’s almost been talked to death. But not quite, I hope.
It goes along with the main theme in my life this year of not being a crazy hot-dog stand lady. Meaning, keeping it simple.
It’s about keeping it simple at Christmas.
Here is what we are doing: only stuff that seems important in our world and is easy enough. As in, I didn’t strain my cornea trying to accomplish it.
I made a list of things things that made me feel loved, connected and secure at Christmas time, or things I really, really wanted to do at Christmas time, but my parents said no: see the Gingerbread house. Here they are in order of my memory:
- Make hot-coco and watch a Christmas movie (Elf in our case, and hopefully more) ABC Family is running Christmas movies every day from Dec 1st to Dec 25th. I’ve set my dvr to record the ones I think either my husband and I would like, or all of us. So movies and chocolate. Not spiritual.
- Send a PHOTO (that part is crucial) Christmas card to family and friends.
My endless over-the-top appreciation for photo Christmas/ New Years cards is paramount to my excitement for actual Christmas morning. I LOVE them. Therefore they are a priority in our house. I want all our family and friends to know they are important to us, even if we just send them a card each year. We actually budget for this each year, because photo cards and stamps can add up real quick.
This year the kids wanted to help, so they decorated half the cards on the back (mostly, Ellie also decorated the front (sorry mail-person!)) until they got bored.
The perfectionist mom in my head tried to come out, thinking, “you colored half, finish the rest, everyone deserves some art”, but then I remembered, who the heck cares? No one. If you are family, you probably got a colored envelope, because those were on the top. Congratulations!
All of our cards are all hand addressed because the word documents of saved addresses that I printed perfectly normal last year has
confused me refused to work correctly and won’t print in the right spots. So to spite the computer and it’s printer friend, I decided I didn’t need them! All cards are all hand addressed because it seemed easier then trying to figure out how to make labels print correctly… my version of keeping it simple.
And, they will be return addressed with the free return address labels they send in the mail, because it’s so easy… and tacky, but more easy then tacky.
- Make gingerbread houses. I don’t have a memory of making this sort of colossal, sneak-candy-when-mom’s-not-looking type of mess. It looks like SO much fun to me. I will let you know how it goes. Mine are pre-fab from Costco for $9.95 each, because I wanted to keep things simple. Thanks Costco!
- Go look at Christmas lights, in our own neighborhood by walking with hot chocolate (notice a reoccurring theme? chocolate). I know there are better neighborhoods, and we might go drive one if it seems easy, but why not just keep things simple and enjoy what our neighbors have to offer? We will all be on foot (Ellie in her toy push car) and we can walk slowly in the comfort of our own non-crowded neighborhood. There’s a neighborhood not too far that is KNOWN for being incredible, it’s like five miles of amazing-ness, but to get there one has to park at the local store and walk for like 10 minuets through congested traffic. Pass.
- Talk about Jesus’ birthday. My kids now understand birthdays. They know who Jesus is. This is the first year they’ve realized he has an actual birthday that we celebrate at Christmas. So whenever they are in awe of anything Christmas tree, lights, sparkles, fun, hot chocolate, whatever – I say, “WOW! Isn’t it cool that Jesus gets SO many birthday decorations/ways to celebrate for his birthday? Everyone wants to celebrate his birthday! So fun.” Then I follow it up by explaining that we give and get presents on Jesus birthday (Christmas) to remind ourselves and others that Jesus is the best gift of all.
AND, we will make him an Apple-Cinnamon Toastie from Babycakes on his birthday. We will eat it Christmas morning to celebrate. Even though every single time without fail, the middle turns out soggy and the whole thing looses it’s shape, it’s insanely delicious, regardless of it’s hideous appearance.
This type of baking dish and I have had some disagreements.
- Make some Christmas cookies. I loved decorating cookies as a kid. It’s just fun and delicious.
- Veggie-Tales Christmas time: Again with the movies. This one is not actually a priority, it’s just another convenient way to teach the kids about Christmas. We own three Veggie Tales Christmas themed movies. Two are vhs that we inherited. Yes, I have my kids watch vhs films on our 9 inch vhs tv player. The latest one (dvd only) even has Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty, it’s called, Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas and it’s pretty funny for grown-ups too. So, if it’s a tv moment (they’re have been quite a few lately due to kids being sick and listless) I put on a kid friendly reminder about what Christmas is really about.
In addition to those little diamonds, I will attempt to continue with life as normal. This month we are eating from emeals, the vegetarian menu. It’s simple and not vegan, but it’s as close as I’m going to get without going crazy. Dinner on the table with the family is ONE of my sacred ideals and I don’t want to loose it to this busy season. It’s just always been a priority, and I feel like it keeps our family connected. So in between the parties, Christmas ideals, friends and family, I hope to still have a home cooked meal on the table 4 to 5 out of 7 nights a week. Davin and I usually go out a few times a month on a date! AND there are super delicious Mexican, Thai, Sushi and Italian places that cook for us regularly (for a small fee of corse), so that will be the other 2-3 nights out of the week.
Also in this month to simplify things? Canned soup. Amy’s canned soup from? Costco. In fact we’re having that for lunch. So simple. I also hope to maintain a fairly well kept house, and keep our clothes clean by washing them occasionally, and keep up with our kids dental and general hygiene, and having pretty painted nails… not TOO tall of an order.
That is it. So far.
I downloaded, The Truth in Tinsel and prepped all the even craft days for it (I was coordinating with a dear friend). But then I realized that completing a craft each day with my children, on a schedule would be as pleasant for me as breaking a glass Christmas ornament and scraping myself with it… to death. I am not exaggerating.
Also, my kids are too little to understand most of what very deep things I try and share. So even though it’s spiritual, even though it teaches, and is super intentional – we’re not doing it. Not this year anyway.
I also LOVE wrapping gifts (grown-up ones, because grown-ups appreciate good wrapping) so that will be something I put some effort into.
Now that it’s all in print. That’s actually a LOT to try and accomplish, so if something gets missed. Oh stinkin’ well. We’ve already watched part of Elf and drizzank some hot chocolate, CHECK!
Enjoy your semi-simple holiday season. And don’t stress out if your 3 year old kids get the light of Jesus mixed up with the candle in Beauty in the Beast… in the end, it will all come together if you just keep praying for your little ones;-) I think they can know the love of Jesus in hot chocolate and movies too:-)
As always, thank you so much for reading.