How I’m Simplifying This Holiday Season
Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love the music, I love the family time I (strangely) love the shopping and now that I have kids, I love seeing their joy. Every year, we try to cram in a ton of family fun around the holidays. We squeeze in trips to look at holiday lights (we live in a condo community so we can’t just walk our neighborhood), we do the holiday train ride and fit in as much other stuff as we can afford.
I love it, my kids love it and my husband tolerates it. By the time we actually get to Christmas, we are thoroughly holiday-ed out. While I love all the fun activities that surround Christmas, this year I have to take it down several notches as I’m having surgery the week before Christmas.
While we could squeeze everything in really early this season, I have decided that it is in my family’s best interest for me not to get worn down before going into surgery. On top of that, I can’t take my normal autoimmune medications before surgery because of the risk of infection so I will likely be in pain. So, for the first time in 8 years, we’re simplifying the holiday season.
How To Simplify The Holiday Season
If you are looking to simplify the holiday season, for whatever reason, here are some of the things I’m planning to do to in our home.
- Shop Early And Online: I normally like shopping in stores. I think part of the reason is because I don’t know what to get people until I wander around and see things they’ll like. This year, I am doing the bulk of my holiday shopping online, which means, I have to have a plan in advance.
- Cut Back On Extras: We love doing holiday activities in town. Quite frankly, this is a tough one for me to cut back on, but there just isn’t enough time with my surgery to squeeze everything in. We are doing just one activity, the North Pole Express train ride, which actually knocks an extra item off the list since the kids have the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap and I get my Santa picture. I tried to figure out a way to do more holiday activities but since I won’t be able to treat my pain, I opted to keep it simple for my sake (and everyone else’s since mom in pain isn’t a good mom).
- Make A Plan: Since I know that the week before Christmas, I will essentially be bedridden as I recover from surgery, I have to plan out everything in advance. Presents need to be wrapped early (meaning they need to be bought even earlier) and any other details I handle the final week need to be figured out ahead of time. Since we’re cutting back on a lot of the extras, I can make a plan with what I do know we have planned in advance and make sure to handle the details early. I have already sat down with my calendar and given myself deadlines.
- Lower My Expectations: When I had a business, I used to bake treats for all of my customers and staff, as well as for my aunts and uncles. Even though it has been two years since I’ve had that business, I still do a lot of holiday baking for family members. This year, I’m lowering my expectations of myself. Rather than baking several different items, I’ll only bake a few items (if I have time!) that can be made early and frozen.
- Find Low-Key Holiday Family Fun: Just because we can’t “do” a lot of holiday activities, doesn’t mean we can’t still have family fun. I’m planning to do holiday movie nights with my kids the week before Christmas since I’ll be stuck in bed anyway. We also do a “fake” Christmas, where just the four of us celebrate together. This year, it will be much simpler, with a pizza dinner, rather than a fancy meal and dessert.
- Focus On The Positives: Like I said, I love all of the chaos that surrounds the holidays so taking our holiday celebrating down several notches isn’t my favorite thing. That being said, I am choosing to focus on the positives. I will still get to spend quality time with my family, just in a different setting. And as an added bonus, we’ll save a lot of money since I won’t be randomly buying things in stores and we won’t be buying tickets to various events around town. I’m hoping we can use that savings to take a little trip when I’m feeling better.
While my simplified holiday celebration is forced, it doesn’t hurt to slow down, save some money and simplify the holidays. When I think back to my childhood, Christmas was my favorite time of year. Of course, I loved the gifts (what kid didn’t), but I also loved the celebrations with my grandmothers, cousins, aunts and uncles. To me, that’s what the holiday represents so I’m hoping my kids don’t miss all the holiday extras this year and appreciate what we do have. Who knows, maybe we’ll make new traditions at home!