Dear Mama With The Big Christmas Dreams…
I used to be you. I thought that the “magic” of Christmas depended solely on my ability to get it right.
Perfect handmade gifts.
Perfect outfits. (Go ahead ask me about the year of hunting for a sweater vest so my 1 year old could wear it for an hour).
My perfect intentions rarely produced awe and wonder. The result of my hard work was more often than not, a cranky mama who was low on sleep because she was scrambling to get everything finished by the big day.
Inevitably I would also end up getting sick, either over the Christmas holidays or at the beginning of January. Being the martyr of Christmas magic definitely took it’s toll.
I’m pretty sure it was 2012 when things changed. That year we were packing to move in January and I had an overly curious 15 month old. (That’s a nice way of saying my toddler was driving me to day drink). That was they year we didn’t even put up a tree because I didn’t want to deal with having one more thing to keep my little one away from.
We had a three gifts plan in place.
A gold gift- something the receiver will love.
A frankincense gift- something for their body (clothes, lotion, a cozy blanket, food)
A myrrh gift- something to help the receiver have a better life. (a book, a movie, an experience)
It was a plain Jane Christmas and it was fantastic, but it took nearly being at the end of my rope for me to change my ways.
I don’t want that for you sweet mama. I want you to be able to enjoy Christmas time with your family, not stress about the things you’re not doing.
Here’s what I’ve done to maintain simplicity during the holidays:
Find tried and true easy recipes for potlucks. I have crockpot perogies that are quite simple and very popuar. I also love this recipe for ginger molasses cookies from Give Me Some Oven that are uh-mazing! Having these scrumptious dishes in my tool box means I don’t have to use precious brainpower deciding what to make.
Have fun and meaningful traditions. But not too many. In our house we have Elf on the Shelf, Pajamas on Christmas Eve from Santa and a small tree with special decorations.
Shed the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). It’s really OK to not be at every gathering you’re invited to. Dare I say it’s even OK to skip a work party (we’re doing it this year). Spend your time with those you’re close with and politely decline the rest.
Make gift giving easier. Organize a name pick between siblings. Instead of something wrapped under the tree we exchange charity donations with my Father-in Law.
Borrow other people’s magic. Ooh and awe over that giant light display on the house down town, help decorate grandma’s tree, maybe let grandpa have the kiddos for a day of gingerbread house building (from a kit to keep it easy).
Rest. Even when you try to keep things to a minimum, this season is busy. Put some blank spaces in your calendar. Have soup days.
You can do this mama. You can claim the joy of Christmas. You can have your kiddos remember that their mom was happy during the holidays and not a hopped up basket case. That’s the real magic anyway.
What are your tips for keeping your sanity during the Christmas season?