Friday, December 19, 2014

The Countdown

As I write this, Christmas is just six days away. My shopping is practically done, I haven't started wrapping anything yet, and I never got the Christmas cards done. Looks like friends and family might get a New Year's greeting from us this year! Even though it might all sound crazy, I'm not complaining or worried. And no, I'm not on any medication. 

I'm trying to calm things down so I can actually enjoy this Christmas with my family, and it's been fairly successful so far. We've chosen to make our girls' focus Christ this year which means we're cutting back on the number of gifts under the tree and talking more about why we celebrate. Besides the financial benefits our decision offers, it's also taken some pressure off of Charles and I. I got confirmation that it was working when Emily included a message in her family prayer about us all remembering the reason we celebrate - not presents, but Jesus. It was such a great moment!

I hope you don't think that I'm sitting over here calm as a cucumber with no concerns or stresses. This holiday season has been just as stressful as others. I decided to make all the teacher and friend gifts this year to save us some money. Over the last few weeks I've made 18 pints of apple butter and more cookies than I care to look at ever again. I've also supervised homemade gifts for grandparents and other family members and released my latest book, in case I didn't have enough to do! 

I got my idea for cutting back from another blog, Momastery, written by Glennis Melton. Each year she finishes all of her Christmas shopping by December 1 so that her family can spend the month enjoying each other and celebrating the holiday. Since I didn't read her blog post until December, my shopping wasn't even started, but I loved the way they do presents in her family. Each kid gets four things: One you want, one the world needs, one you wear, and one you read. I modified this for our family and changed "one the world needs" to "one you need." In the future we might change it, but this works better for us. 

I made up papers for the girls to give me ideas, and boy has it simplified things! We still do Santa, so we didn't get away with only four gifts, but we've limited the Santa gifts already, and we won't be inundated on Christmas morning. I feel good that the girls will end up with things they truly want and need. And I get to enjoy my holiday with the family!