November 30, 2011 by Gina
As we were driving home from my parents’ house after Thanksgiving, Brian said to me, “Well, that’s one holiday down and one to go”. After he said that, I had so many thoughts run through my head – all in about a millisecond; how did Thanksgiving come and go already, I hope Getty sleeps better by Christmas, when will we get bad weather, how can it possibly almost be December, I love the holidays, I hate the holidays, when the heck will we decorate? Well…you get the idea. Funny how one small statement can evoke so many thoughts, questions and utter panic.
This is such a busy time of year for everyone and I’m always trying to find ways to slow it down, enjoy my family and savor the moment. I still haven’t figured out how to do all of that but here are some ideas we’re doing or would like to do:
- Don’t try to travel between families – alternate Thanksgiving and Christmas each year at each family (for example, this year we did Thanksgiving at my parents’ and we’ll do Christmas as Brian’s parents’ and flip next year).
- Combine holidays – we had “Thanksmas” this year at my parents’. It spaces out all the gifts everyone gives your children and you knock out two holidays in one.
- Limit the dollar amount or the number of gifts given
- Do gag or white elephant gifts instead of normal gifts (good one for adults or older kids)
- Draw names among adults and/or children in the family or eliminate gifts for adults altogether – we all have so much
- Donate your time, money or skills to a local or other charity (we’ve done the animal shelter, food shelf, Feed My Starving Children, Heifer Foundation)
- Shop early or online for gifts – avoid the chaos of malls/stores at all costs
- Do things together for the holidays like sledding, ice fishing, walking, playing board games or gift an “experience” instead of another thing. One year I took my niece and nephew to a performance of “The Lion King” and they loved it!
- Don’t decorate much – just do the tree and call it good (heck, I wouldn’t decorate at all if I didn’t have kids – it’s SO much work and everywhere else is decorated so you get the holiday spirit)
- Don’t bake so much (or at all – that’s what I do) – you’ll just eat the food and besides, someone else like your mom or neighbor will probably bake and you can just eat some of their goodies
I don’t want to seem all “baa hum bug” about the holidays. It really is a magical time for families and kids. I just really like to simplify things and try not to stress too much about the hustle and bustle of it all.
So, whatever traditions or celebrations you have at this time of year – whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan or whatever – try to enjoy your time with family, friends and other loved ones in your life! We only have so much time together and that is what is really important. Honor your own traditions, limit the chaos and have fun!
What do you do to limit all the craziness at this time of year?