“Christmas was so hectic, we didn’t even get to enjoy it!”
Am I the only one who has stated this in past Christmases? For years, all the shopping, baking, planning, get-togethers, and parties have had our calendars stuffed much like the oversized turkeys that took hours upon hours to prep and cook and only minutes to devour.
Most years my head spins with all the goings on to the point of not knowing whether I’m coming or going, but not this year. We finally have a legitimate excuse to say NO and to slow down. Everything looked different this year, so I say we take advantage of that and make our holidays look different as well. I’ve spent the morning on this 3rd day of December pondering how I can reshape my family’s Christmas to be more meaningful and less commercialized. Below are a few new ideas as well as some we already do.
Instead of baking a million different treats that leave the kitchen ransacked and us exhausted, I’ve told my family that each of us gets to pick one treat to make. So we will be making four treats this year instead of over a dozen different types! Meals will be less extravagant as well. Instead of a buffet of choices, I will be planning one protein, two to three sides, and one dessert.
-Tuning out the social media world.
For Thanksgiving, we rented a cabin in a remote part of the Georgia mountains. Our time was actually spent in conversation with those who matter most to us. There was a lot of jokes and laughter while leisurely playing cards and board games. We put away our electronic devices and dusted off our walking shoes. Instead of getting lost in the cyber world, we paid attention to the real world while hiking up mountains and exploring waterfalls. Y’all, it was so nice! And, hello, this can be done right at home, no matter your location.
-Revisit old traditions.
When I was a child way back when, my parents would load us up and drive around neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights. This year, instead of paying an arm and a leg to go through sensory-overloaded light shows where a cup of lukewarm hot chocolate will cost a ridiculous amount and not even taste all that good, I say we make our own hot chocolate, put it in travel cups, and drive around to admire our neighbor’s Christmas lights.
-Give meaning, not material.
My family and I just sponsored a child through Compassion International on Giving Tuesday, December 1st. To give that gift meant more than any material gift under our tree. For $38 a month, we have the honor of helping change a less-fortunate child’s life. That will last much, much longer than my new bottle of perfume, let me tell ya.
I saw where a fellow author is facing financial woes as most of us are, so her family is going on thrift store hunts to find more sentimental gifts to give each other. This could also be done for gag gifts that you can use to play the Christmas exchange games. We can call it the Thrift-gift exchange!
One of the best gifts I can receive is more quality time with my loved ones. Why not make timecards as gifts this year? Pencil in a movie night, cook-together night, puzzle night, and/or a game night to name a few. Some of my favorite games are: Mexican Train Dominoes, Skip Bo, Phase 10, and Spades. A tradition in the Lowe house is that each year Santa brings us a new board game. Last year was a new edition of Scrabble. I think this year it’s going to be Kid’s Against Maturity card game. This one is sure to make for a lively family night.
-Reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.
Our service at church this Sunday is the Hanging of the Greens. It’s a gorgeous yet simple service to reflect on Advent and to get our minds focused on the true meaning of the season. Y’all it is breathtaking even in its simplicity. If you’re unable to attend one of these services, YouTube is filled with ones you can watch. Another Lowe tradition is that my husband Bernie reads Luke 2 on Christmas morning. I think it’s important to focus on Jesus and His gift to us before opening the first gift under the tree.
I don’t know about you, but this year has NOT been FUN! I’ve griped and complained, ate way too much junk and gained too much weight, watched an unhealthy amount of news… It’s been just way too noisy! I’m ready to unplug from all the madness and work on a more thankful heart. Let’s make it our mission to that and to have fun this Christmas. I think this can be achieved if we simplify our holiday routines.
I know this is only a few ideas I plan on taking, and so I’d love it if you would share some of your ideas with me!
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