I say the same thing every single December.
"Christmas is not going to pass me by this year."
And every single December, our calendar fills up before the end of the first day. Let's face it, Christmas can be a very stressful time.
There's the how am I going to pay for presents stress. And there's when am I going to get everything done stress. And there's awkward family stress. Before long, the stress is the most pervasive thing...and the whole holiday season becomes something you wish away, not something you enjoy.
I hate that.
When I envision the Christmas I want, I don't think about mountains of presents. I think about a certain feeling that's in the air. A magical feeling, one that can't really be explained.
This past weekend, we went to my parents' house, and for whatever reason when I'm there, things are quieter. Suddenly, I'm able to think more clearly...and what I found myself wondering was how can we simplify Christmas?
How can we avoid the obligation, the running around, the over-spending? At its core, what do I want my Christmas to look like?
Simple. Sweet. I'd rather spend time than money. I want to shop small. I want to do things for people and teach my kids to do things for people. I don't want to bake 25 different kinds of cookies to make sure that my neighbor gifts are "good enough." I don't want to be paying for Christmas for the next 6 months.
I was thinking about how these handmade Santas have been a tradition in our family. My grandpa carved and painted them himself. We have a ginormous family. There are eight brothers and sisters who all have kids who now all have kids of their own. You can imagine how many Santas have been created over the years.
And in my "simple-Christmas" mentality, it dawned on me that these Santas are probably always going to be one of the best Christmas memories any of us will ever have.
Because they kind of capture the heart of the holiday...the most important parts.
Family. Kindness. Friendship. Love.
It's not okay with me to take on the stress of the season. Not this year. I'm searching for simplicity in my Christmas...I'm searching for ways to hold on to the magic...that feeling writers write about...that elusive thing that all of us wish we could bottle up and hold onto throughout the year.
If we want to experience that kind of Christmas, we have to be willing to let go of the Christmas that's being shoved down our throats. It's our perogative to make a change. To make memories instead of making a mess of our finances. It's up to us how we get to spend our time.
Life is too short to continue missing out on the things that really matter...this year, how can we simplify our holidays? How can we keep the focus where it really needs to be? How can we capture the true magic of Christmas?
Is anyone up for the challenge?
If you're struggling to find the Christmas spirit, maybe it's time to escape to Sweethavne for a little bit of magic.
I'll also be having a book signing at the Barnes & Noble at Cherryvale Mall in Rockford, Illinois this Saturday, December 8th from 2-4 p.m.
The first 30 people to come visit will get a free gift! I hope to see you there!
Find the magic...