Did you ever notice how the best part of Christmas seems to be BEFORE Christmas Day? I know that for me, Christmas day is always sort of a let down time. You spend a month preparing, and once it's here you know it'll be over so fast that it's sometimes even hard to enjoy. All of the hard work and prep and BAM it's done.
There is so much emphasis on the shopping and decorating that we get way too caught up, we really do. It's exciting and magical to do all of the fun traditions, but I'm finding that the simple parts of Christmas are what really leave an imprint on me.
Reading the story of Christmas under the lights of the tree
Baking sugar cookies together and decorating them
Delivering cookies to the neighbors
Playing games with the family and laughing so hard we have tears
We all know that Christmas has become so much more here in America than just Christ's birthday celebration. In fact, for many that part of the holiday is an afterthought. I'm certainly guilty of doing that myself.
So this year, as I make decorations and place them in their special spot in the house, as the music fills the air and the aroma of baking cookies fills the house, I've been trying hard to remember why we do all of these things.
And the idea of going into debt to lavish my children with gifts just turns my stomach. I've noticed that when kids get too many gifts, they don't seem to care about any of them. Within a few days, they are thrown around the house, forgotten and no longer special.
I love giving gifts and making someone smile, but piling them so high that you can't see the tree is a ridiculous notion to me.
I've seen people spend thousands at Christmas, going into debt on their credit cards or not paying bills so they can buy them. They spend the next year fighting about money with their spouse and stressed to the max trying to catch up. Their children probably don't even remember all they received under the tree, but they certainly will remember the stress on mom's face caused by financial hardship.
Children love opening gifts (who doesn't?), but I promise you they love a happy family much more.
I hope I don't come across as a scrooge. The holidays are an amazing time of the year for me and I love it, but when people are spraying other shoppers in the face with pepper spray to get ahead of them in line and old men are being trampled to death in Walmart, it tells me it's time to get real and simplify the madness.
After Christmas comes real life again. The stores will still be there if I didn't get everything on my list, my family will still love me if I didn't get all of their favorite cookies made, and the let down the day after Christmas won't be so terrible if I keep things simple. Somehow, I know that our Christmas will be more magical this way too!
Simple Christmas Inspiration
Paper Christmas stars (cost = $0). Directions found here
Super easy recipe Almond Butter Spritz
White lights in a jar pinterest.com
pinecone garland pinterest.com
Decorating with greens from nature pinterest.com
paper tree ornaments pinterest.com
The best gift of all, time together