It’s the holidays. The stores are hustling and bustling with holiday shoppers, you have 15 people on your list to shop for, you want to get fun things that everyone has on their list, but at the same time make them useful and economical.
Well, quit it! You are never going to keep your sanity while trying to keep both your budget and the gift recipient happy. So stop!
I’m not telling you to just go load up on gift cards and hand them out, because I’m the kind of person who likes to open a present, not an envelope (although I do love shopping with it).
I’m not telling you to go MIA in the Bahamas and forget the whole thing. Well, actually, this one would be a great idea!
What I am telling you is to stop making yourself crazy trying to be Santa’s helper and get busy making family memories that are going to far outlast any toy or gift!
I absolutely love Christmas! I love doing the whole Santa thing with my kids. I watch Christmas movies all year long and I don’t think I could ever tire of Christmas music. I find Black Friday great fun (although I feel for all the employees whose employers forget that Thanksgiving is for families, not shopping).
I didn’t have Christmas as a kid. Every year my family went on vacation to Florida. We hung out with Mickey and Minnie watching fireworks over Cinderella’s castle. We rode the “It’s a Small World” ride more times than my mother wants to think about. Our treats were strawberry juice bars, not pumpkin pie. We spent the rest of our vacation on the beach or driving restaurant-to-restaurant on Christmas Day in search of one that was open. There was no gift exchange, just exchanges in laughter and fun by all.
It wasn’t until I was 16 years old that we stayed in Indiana and had Christmas with the extended family. What a thrill it was to be with Grandma & Grandpa and my cousins around the Christmas tree. I didn’t really know what one was to do during a gift exchange… only what I saw on movies.
As awesome as that first Christmas was, I can’t tell you any of the gifts I received or gave. I can’t tell you what we ate. And for the last 20 years unless it was a heart-felt gift or a knock-your-socks-off one, I couldn’t tell you of many of the other gifts I’ve received.
So why is it that every year we struggle for a Martha Stewart perfect Christmas masterpiece? I think I strive for it because I want my family to feel special.
But at the same time, with all the holiday parties and shopping and bustling, I get so caught up in preparing for the season that I forget to take time and make my family feel special on a daily basis. And that’s where we need to quit it.
For me, Christmas is the season we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus and the hope that he brought to this world. So that is what I need to primarily concentrate on. Yes, our family is going to do Santa. Yes, we’ll sit on his lap and attend a couple Christmas parties, but I know my limits.
For those of you that just celebrate ‘Mas (taking Christ out of Christmas), I’m sure your priority isn’t over-complicating your schedule, but rather to have a memorable ‘Mas as well.
So let’s just agree to quit it. Let’s agree not to be in competition with each other. Let’s not see who can make the best, most perfect Christmas cookies because frankly, I don’t care. Let’s not fill our days with extra shopping that is going to make both you and your kids angry elves. Let’s not stress ourselves during this most wonderful time of the year. Let’s enjoy it.
So this Christmas I challenge you to do just that! Do what you need to do to take some of the stress out and add more memory making moments!
For me, I decided to get Christmas lists out early (at Halloween) and asked for them in return. I did most of my shopping online so that I can spend more time sitting around the Christmas tree and enjoying it’s glow. I’m going to spend more time crafting with my boys than worrying about how perfectly decorated my house is.
What can you quit so that you can enjoy the holidays more?