December 12, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I do love Christmas, and I do believe it's one of the most wonderful times of the year. When I think of Christmas lately, though, it seems like "lots". Lots of food, lots of presents, lots of decorations, traditions, and plans. And every one of those things can be wonderful, but too much "lots" gives way to too much stress and mental clutter. This year, I wanted to change it.

Our to-do list around the holidays always went something like this:
  • Visit Santa
  • Bake Christmas cookies from scratch {sometimes twice because the first batch would be gone by Christmas Eve when we had to leave out cookies for Santa}
  • Watch all of our Christmas movies
  • Cut down the perfect tree
  • Decorate the perfect tree
  • Decorate outside
  • Decorate inside
  • Put the Christmas village out on perfect display
  • Write letters to Santa
  • Watch the Holidazzle parade {BRRRR!}
  • Attend a holiday brass band concert
  • Practice the primo part in the Nutcracker Suite piano music so I could play the duets with my piano playing genius husband
  • Find and buy the perfect Christmas outfits for the kids
  • Shop for everyone's perfect gift(s)
  • Host a Christmas party
I think I've left a few dozen things out, but you get the picture.

When it came time to get out the boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations this year, I found myself for the first time ever thinking, "I don't really care if I put out this Christmas candy dish" and "I don't want these Christmas hand towels out anymore" and "Do we really need to watch every Christmas movie we own?".

Some of my favorite Christmas decor: a sleigh to hold the
holiday cards and letters we receive and our Santa mug for candy canes
I'm the type of person who has all of the Christmas decorations taken down before we go to bed Christmas night. The carpet is vacuumed of pine needles, and the bells and wreaths are stored away by December 26th, so it doesn't really surprise me, I guess, that I've made this leap to the less cluttered side of Christmas. Looking through the boxes of our Christmas decor this year, I denied probably two-thirds of it. The extra wreaths and candy dishes and tea towels and the artificial tree {yes, because putting up a second tree used to be on the to-do list} are all still stored away. And you know what? I love it. The house is not stuffed with all of the extra stuff I thought I needed to display. And do you know what else? Our to-do list was shortened considerably, too.

We still made Christmas cookies from scratch, but I will not make a second batch {even though these ones will be long gone before Santa arrives}.

We still trudged through the snow and found the perfect tree, took it home, and decorated it.

I still put up my favorite Christmas wreaths. Nothing says "Come in from the cold" like a pretty wreath frosted in snow.

We still saw Santa and told him what we want, and we've even watched some of our Christmas movies. But we've left a lot of things off the list right from the start. I'm looking forward to saying no to watching the Holidazzle parade and instead grabbing our hot chocolate to go in the car while we take our time driving around to find the best Christmas lights in town. And I'm not practicing the primo part in the Nutcraker Suite this year, either. Instead, I'm sitting in the glow of our Christmas tree listening to my husband play solo.

We're not attending that brass band concert, but I will go ice skating and laugh as my kids skate circles around me.

And I will crank up the Christmas music and sing along to "Baby It's Cold Outside" while I make dinner and the kids argue over Legos {some things never do change}.

It's less than two weeks until Christmas, and I haven't missed any of our old to-do's at all. Are you finding that less is more merry?

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