Keeping Christmas Simple.

I have a tendency to get pretty wound up during the holiday season. Stressed out. Some (like my hub) might even say bitchy. Not because I don’t like the holiday season, but because I love it.

I love how the world turns into a sparkly paradise of glimmering lights at night.

I love how cozy my home looks when the Christmas tree is up and the decorations are hung.

I love how delicious the air smells when the oven is bursting with  sugary goodness.

I love how even the hippest radio stations let go of some of their frigid coolness to play Christmas songs dripping with sentimentality.

I love getting together with family and friends I don’t often see, and watching the pageantry that is the Christmas church service, and getting dressed up for holiday parties, and, and, and…all of it. It really is wonderful.

And because I love those things? I try hard, too hard, to make everything perfect.

I wrack my brain and overextend my wallet to find the perfect gifts (and I always end up getting some of it wrong).

I bend over backwards trying to fit in visits to each and every family member and friend, and am often reduced to tears by my inability to make everyone happy.

I slave over the house, the tree, the oven…all in an effort to make sure everyone else has a great Christmas.

By the time it’s all over, I generally have a cold sore the size of Mt. Everest, a migraine the size of the Milky Way, a stomach that’s tied in knots and a husband who’s begging me to just. calm. down.

In short, by trying to make everything about the Christmas season perfect, I ruin it for myself (and sometimes those around me).

But you know what? It doesn’t have to be that way. I don’t have to be that way. And this year, I’m not going to be that way.

I don’t have all my Christmas decorations up (and I probably won’t get them all up). And that’s okay.

I don’t have $5678342890893734089 to spend on Christmas gifts. And that’s okay.

I don’t have time to bake six different kinds of Christmas cookies. And that’s okay.

I don’t have the ability to be in six places at once, or the energy to put in 18 hour days of visiting, so I won’t be able to see everyone on my “must visit” list. And that’s okay.

I’m not going to stress about those things. Because when I get too wrapped up in all that stuff? I risk missing truly magical  moments like this:

A nine-month-old meets Santa for the first time.

This. This is what the season's all about.

This year, I’m keeping Christmas simple. Just the way it’s supposed to be.

This post was inspired by Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop.

Mama's Losin' It

28 Comments on Keeping Christmas Simple.

  1. Meagan
    December 9, 2010 at 12:59 pm (5 years ago)

    Christmas could be a circus of trying to see everyone. Luckily, my parents and myob-laws understand that from their experiences, so my mom picked the weekend after Christmas to get together (New Years this year) and my mother-in-law is pretty flexible so we are spending Christmas Eve with them. As long as we spend time with both, it works. As for extended family, we see them every few years as we can.

    If you will be near family, you could always say ‘we will be here at this time’ and leave it up to others to come see you. If they can’t find time, they should understand that you can’t either and you want to enjoy your holiday.

    Reply
    • Amber
      December 9, 2010 at 2:39 pm (5 years ago)

      Yeah, we’re getting better about that. The first couple years after we moved away from home were rough, but now we’re figuring how to turn our three ring circus into a two ring circus. Progress, anyway…if they would all just move to Indiana, it’d be a lot easier. 😉

      Think I can get 40-50 people to see things my way?

      Reply
  2. Phyllis
    December 9, 2010 at 1:01 pm (5 years ago)

    Thank you SO much! I truly NEEDED this post today! I too try to be the Christmas Queen and every year I end up sick in bed on Christmas day! This year I have learned to pace myself and accept that good enough is ok and perfection is evil. This year like you I am going to sit back and enjoy the little moments that make it all worth while! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    Reply
    • Amber
      December 9, 2010 at 2:37 pm (5 years ago)

      And Merry Christmas to you! Remember, you don’t have to do it all…you just have to enjoy what you’re doing.

      Reply
  3. Rebecca
    December 9, 2010 at 1:20 pm (5 years ago)

    Those are the best Christmas’ the ones that are kept simple.

    Reply
    • Amber
      December 9, 2010 at 2:36 pm (5 years ago)

      That’s what I’m telling myself! Let’s see if I stick to the strategy.

      Reply
  4. Trippin' Mama
    December 9, 2010 at 2:37 pm (5 years ago)

    So true, so true. I hate reading all the magazines this time of year telling us to “simplify,” but showing the picture-perfect Christmas complete with six kinds of cookies. Giving ourselves a break is the best Christmas gift of all! Enjoy it.

    Christy

    Reply
    • Amber
      December 9, 2010 at 4:52 pm (5 years ago)

      I plan to invest in slice and bake cookies. Lots of ’em.

      Reply
  5. Leah
    December 9, 2010 at 3:17 pm (5 years ago)

    Amen! I hope you are seriously able to just relax this year and do what you can and enjoy this time of year. It’s true-it really does goes by so fast that if we are too busy making everyone else happy, we’ll miss the holiday altogether. Good luck this year! : )

    Reply
    • Amber
      December 9, 2010 at 4:52 pm (5 years ago)

      And what’s the point of that, right? But thanks…I’ll need all the luck I can get.

      Reply
  6. KLZ
    December 9, 2010 at 3:17 pm (5 years ago)

    I think perfection is overrated. I bet you have a blast this year. Good luck!

    Reply
    • Amber
      December 9, 2010 at 4:51 pm (5 years ago)

      Definitely overrated—a conspiracy by evil aliens perhaps? Nah. Hope yours is fabulous too!

      Reply
  7. Diane
    December 9, 2010 at 3:26 pm (5 years ago)

    Hopefully we can both embrace the simple of the season. Sit back, take time to enjoy versus hustling around like a mad women (speaking for myself here). I hope. Let’s check back and see how we did, lol :)

    Reply
    • Amber
      December 9, 2010 at 4:50 pm (5 years ago)

      Catch you in January? After I’ve nursed my migraine to a manageable size?

      Reply
  8. Jennifer G.
    December 9, 2010 at 5:07 pm (5 years ago)

    So glad you stopped by my blog so I could follow you back here. I loved this post. I’m doing the same thing — simplifying the holidays this year. For us, the most complicated part used to be all the visiting. I’d spend half of Christmas in the car, dragging the kids all over the place to see relatives. Not this year! I decided if they want to see us, they gotta come to us. So there!

    Reply
    • Amber
      December 10, 2010 at 10:14 am (5 years ago)

      I love the way you think. We’re making the trek, but I’m going to stay in one spot as much as possible!

      Reply
    • Amber
      December 10, 2010 at 10:13 am (5 years ago)

      I know, right? One of those 1 in a million pics. Thanks!

      Reply
  9. Janice
    December 10, 2010 at 12:44 am (5 years ago)

    That’s an adorable photo! He looks absolutely awestrucked!

    Reply
    • Amber
      December 10, 2010 at 10:13 am (5 years ago)

      Thanks. It was last year. We’re going to take her to see Santa this weekend? I’m betting she’ll scream.

      Reply
  10. Lady Jennie
    December 10, 2010 at 7:38 am (5 years ago)

    Wow! That picture is really great, just after I commented on Theta Mom’s saying that I never do the Santa shot. This one was worth however long you had to stand in line.

    I am like you. I really have trouble slowing down. What really suffers though is my weight. I stress and I eat. This year I have not been any better either. gulp.

    Reply
    • Amber
      December 10, 2010 at 10:13 am (5 years ago)

      Uh yeah. In December, all bets are off, as far as food goes. Last night, I said to my husband, “yeah, I’m eating ice cream now, but next month we’re all going to pay. 20 pounds by April, baby!”

      January kinda sucks in my house.

      That was last year’s pic. And it was actually a mannequin. We’re going to try to get one with the real live Santa this weekend. Wish us luck.

      Reply
  11. Las Vegas Mama
    December 10, 2010 at 11:21 am (5 years ago)

    Good for you! Keeping it simple will really give you the time to fully enjoy everything!

    Reply
    • Amber
      December 10, 2010 at 4:16 pm (5 years ago)

      That’s the theory anyway…we’ll see if I stick to it.

      Reply
  12. Elona
    December 10, 2010 at 12:27 pm (5 years ago)

    Yeah, I’m having a hard time getting into the spirit at all. I think this is going to be a really rough year without grandma and to tell you the truth, the only thing I’m looking forward to is a day off.

    Reply
    • Amber
      December 10, 2010 at 4:16 pm (5 years ago)

      Well you are on my must-see-whether-I-have-time-or-not list. Will you guys be around? In town? Email me or call me or something girlie!

      (((hugs)))

      Reply
  13. Charlotte
    December 12, 2010 at 4:01 pm (5 years ago)

    What a stunning photograph. You have it right. I always try to do so much around the holidays myself, but then I miss out on the magic of it all. We’re only human and can do so much… it’s nice to kick back and enjoy those moments that only come once a year :)

    I wish you peace within this holiday season and hope you have a wonderful time this year with friends and family.

    Reply
    • Amber
      December 12, 2010 at 10:11 pm (5 years ago)

      Thank you. I hope you find time to enjoy yourself this holiday season. It’s hard, but worth it!

      Reply

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