How NOT to Do it All at ChristmasMaggie Hogan
It is how we celebrate the birth of our Savior that should define Christmas for us. Not how we decorate, bake, shop, entertain, clean, send cards, carol, or whatever our cultural traditions may be. What matters most to you? Is it the doing of the required Christmasy things or is it the BEING in Christ to honor Him?
You don’t have to DO stuff to make it Christmas.
Christmas IS Christmas.
Not all traditions are worthy of being kept. Which traditions matter most to you, your husband and/or your children? Choose only the most meaningful traditions. You will be surprised how much more everyone will enjoy doing the few, when not stressed by the many.
Top 5 Things I am Not Doing This Christmas
(Please note I don’t have children at home so my list will be different from yours.)
1. No tree. This is a downgrade from our table top tree which was a downgrade from our full sized artificial tree which was a downgrade from our humongous fresh tree.
- Know what? Even when the kids were home, no one especially minded the downgrades. (And even though Tyler says the tabletop tree was a little “tacky” I don’t think he was permanently scarred!)
2. No Christmas letter or cards. This is a downgrade from email letters which were a downgrade from my clever and witty Christmas Letter “Game” which was a downgrade from store bought cards which were a downgrade from handmade cards (starting with pre-made blank cards) which were a downgrade from cutting and making each card from scratch.
- This year I will revive a tradition of sending out a card at an unexpected time of the year instead. Once it was during Epiphany, and another time I think it was summer.
3. No Christmas baking. This is a huge downgrade, and I am not entirely sure I can entirely pull it off. But I am definitely not making 40+ Christmas cakes this year. I may even outsource my top-secret recipe to a teen-aged girl to make for me.
- This is a downgrade from the last 25 year’s worth of cake baking and a down grade in that for the last 15 years I have made fewer and fewer and fewer totally scrumptious cookies and fudge. I’m blessing my family and friends with a lot fewer temptations, right?
4. (Almost) no lights. Ah, here’s the rub. I love lights in the house and outside the house and down the fence line. I love light, period. I love lighting the way to our home and making it look bright and cheery inside, symbolic to me of living the Christian life: in the light. I keep my indoor tiny white lights in the kitchen (wrapped around the open beams) year round. I talk my hubby or son into lighting up much of our front fencing (it’s pretty long!) and then into leaving them up until they burn out sometime in the spring. We live in the country and our little road is pitch black during these winter nights, so the lights are very welcome sight. But this year
- I have to downgrade to no outside lights as we are leaving the day right after Christmas and hubby probably won’t want to put them up since I won’t be here to enjoy them.
5. No Annual Bright Ideas Press Employee Christmas Party. Ouch. This is not a tradition I am easily giving up. It is a decision based on where we are today in terms of health and time and also where our employees are in terms of other commitments.
- This is a huge downgrade from the usual big happy dinner party for all our employees, families, supporters complete with decorations, lots and lots of great food, and gifts for everyone. It was painful for me to rescind all the invitations (hello evite.com!) and cancel a party that I LOVE and look forward to each year. But a wise friend counseled me to consider the costs this year in terms of time, energy, health and to think about cancelling. It hurt to do but it was the right decision, for this year at least. Another year, maybe not.
Top 5 Things I Am Doing for Christmas
1. Spending time with local family son, daughter-in-law, two little granddaughters and our church family and friends.
2. Calling family and friends far away. Something I am especially bad about doing during the rest of the year.
3. Shopping almost entirely on-line and having items delivered directly. No, the boxes don’t come gift-wrapped but they do get delivered timely.
4. Going out to brunch on Christmas Eve day – something my dad started when my oldest sister was a little girl and is one special tradition I have carried on with my own family.
5. Attending Christmas Eve Service. Always.
Lastly, Firstly, and Most Importantly: I am trying to spend my time honoring Christ, in my heart and mind; by my words and deeds. This is Christmas to me. What about you? What might make Christmas more meaningful and less stressful in your life?