(ROCKWALL, TX – Dec. 9, 2015) It’s been a year since I wrote my article, “Taking Christmas Back,” for Blue Ribbon News, and as I reflect on that article I realize it was just the beginning for me and my decision to no longer get sucked into the things I don’t like about Christmas.
Writing about the craziness of the holidays has made me even more aware that this overwhelming sense of what MY holiday is supposed to look like, taste like and even smell like is just too much for me at times. I want to enjoy special moments, make unforgettable memories and truly cherish this special time of the year with the ones I love most, but how is that possible these days?!
I see my friends on Facebook with their calendar of events for the entire month of December and I instantly feel like a holiday planning failure. I see the two-story gingerbread houses handmade from Pinterest and then I feel like a Betty Crocker reject and finally I see all the gifts being purchased and I feel pressure to go out and buy more gifts to be opened on Christmas morning.
It’s a lot to handle and sometimes I wind up feeling guilty during this time because I’m not a baker, I’m not a crafter and I’m not the best decorator, but all I see on Facebook and on TV commercials are picture-perfect families, houses, crafts and treats. The pressure to be the best at Christmas is building each and every year!
So how am I going to attempt this again this year? Well, it looks like year #2 is in full effect of “Taking Christmas Back”!
Step 1 this year is all about self awareness. Now that I know what I’m not and I’m ok with it I can appreciate what I am. So here goes my little list of what I’m good at during the holidays.
I’m great at our Advent calendar; I always have festive socks at the ready; I love being creative with the Elf on the Shelf; I can make my Nana’s butter cookies; I can belt out a Christmas song in the wrong key in my car like nobody’s business and I can figure out all the endings to Hallmark’s Christmas movies within the first five minutes and still watch the whole thing and get too emotional.
Yes, my list may sound silly, but it’s ok because I love being who I am and not worrying (too much) about what skills I’m lacking this time of year. I have fun no matter what!
Step 2 this year is about giving. Last year I had the opportunity to purchase gifts for two homeless children and I took Reagan Christmas shopping with me and we talked about the family and why we were helping them. It was a moment I’ll never forget when I overheard her pray for this little boy and his family that evening. I wasn’t sure if the moment stuck with her or if it was just another day until she asked me this year when we were going back to the store to buy more clothes for the family without a house from last year. In that moment I gave myself a little mommy pat on the back because she was learning the real meaning of giving, helping others and what compassion is about and that is something that can never be bought from a store and wrapped up under a tree and it certainly is priceless!
This year we continue to volunteer, give and bless as many others in need as we can because helping and giving is the best gift we give and teach our children to give!
Step 3 this year is about relaxing. Easier said than done for sure, but we are enjoying quality time and not checking things off a list of what someone else says we need to do in order to have that picture-perfect Christmas. I have chosen a handful of holiday events for our family and I’ve chosen to make them special and memorable in our own way. We are not on a timeline and not in a rush either. It was a week into December when we got our real tree because it would’ve been rushed to try to do it sooner, so we waited. Turns out nobody was out buying trees this late in the season and we had our choice of trees. Yes, many were on their way to being brown but we didn’t care since they’ll all die eventually and we had a great time with no stress or crowds finding the “perfect” tree!
I guess what readers really want to know though is how did I do last year with the gifts and do I ask my daughter what she wants for Christmas or not. So here is the follow up from last year. I did not buy her tons of gifts to open for the sake of opening gifts. I did find a lot of creative ways to wrap things and make it last longer. Yes, I wrapped up toothpaste, socks and underwear. These are all things I needed for her anyway so I had fun wrapping everything little thing up for her to open and we had a blast trying to guess what mom wrapped up this time!
I also wrapped up notes that had little coupons for “mommy-and-me dates” and throughout the year we cashed them in for movies, ice skating, bowling, Redbox night and picnic dinner at home. I was wanting her to have fun opening gifts, but also have her get the gift of special time throughout the year too. This year I have several gifts for her that she asked for and several educational gifts and several experiences to gift her as well. I stayed under my budget and they’re all wrapped and under the tree and I am NOT going back to the store to buy anything else!
When I saw the first Santa I asked her what she was going to ask for this year. As it came out of my mouth I wanted to grab it back, but it was too late. Funny enough she said, “I don’t know but I’m sure I’ll love whatever he brings!”
As the season progresses we have gotten more into the conversation about Santa and if he’s real and what about Rudolf and how can he possibly have a glowing nose. I love this age and time and wish it would last forever, but I know each year there will be less believing and more questions. I will continue to handle them to my best ability each year and always continue to remind her the true meaning of Christmas and hope she can continue some of the traditions we do with her family one day!
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season of self awareness, giving and relaxing!
By Stacy Lynn, Rockwall mom and Realtor with JP & Associates Realtors. Read her “Not So Southern Stacy” guest column at BlueRibbonNews.com, which includes Coupon shopping: How to clip your way to savings and On a tank of gas from Rockwall, Texas, and last year’s Taking Christmas Back .
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