Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Stress Free Christmas - Part One

Every year I want to have a stress free holiday season, and every year it ends up flying out the window right about the time we finish decorating our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving.  This year, I am going to actively seek peace during the month ahead.  At least that is my plan!

I have been thinking about what Christmas means to me a lot in the past couple of years.  Obviously, as a Christian, it is when we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  What a wonderful and joyous time that should be!  My dream for Christmas is to be able to spend time with friends and family, eat good food, and just show our love to each other.  Unfortunately, I think that all too often, the Christmas holiday centers around presents.

All you have to do is look at the Black Friday craziness.  I talked last week about how much I love Black Friday.  I totally do.  It is for different reasons than what the purpose of the day is.  I love to get out and get into the spirit of the holiday.  To see everyone out and about and seeing all the decorations up, it is fun for me.  I'm not as much into the shopping, more the overall people watching and spending time with my family.

I'm not saying that I won't give my kids presents.  I will.  I'm not saying I won't give other people presents.  I will.  For the past several years I have gone to great lengths to do a lot of handmade gifts.  It is something that I love to do.  I feel like I pour a lot of myself into whatever I make, and I get so excited to see people open what I have made for them.  Unfortunately, that is a lot of pressure.

Up until a couple weeks ago I was set for another handmade holiday.  But, things kept coming up which continued to delay my start time on a lot of presents, and I was busy enjoying life with my babes and husband.  Then I decided that we would take a homeschooling break between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I realized that I didn't want to spend all of that extra (ha!) time making presents and meeting deadlines.  Instead I wanted to be able to enjoy the season.

So, this year I am backing off on presents, and handmade presents in particular.  There will still be some handmade things, but maybe they won't be as elaborate as my original plans.  We will give to the kids in our lives and visit with the adults instead of putting that added pressure to have the "perfect" gift.

I think this is going to go a long way in helping my stress level around Christmas.  And it will also help me from staying up all hours of the night the few days before Christmas to finish sewing or knitting or gluing or nailing something!

What about you?  Do presents take over during your holidays?  Do you love it, or does it cause you more stress?  Do you switch out handmade for bought presents and then stress when you don't complete those gifts on time?

Linking up at the Hip Homeschool Hop and Artful Tuesdays


  1. Love this post! I think you are on your way! I agree, it should be about the joy of the season and not the spending craziness! We have budgeted this year and our recipient list is shorter. I'm hoping that makes a difference, we used to buy for everyone but at some point it just has to stop. The gift should be spending time with friends and family.

  2. I usually give out homemade jams, but they are all made. I'm doing a few birdhouse gourds, but most of those are done too. Should be stressfree I hope! :-)

  3. My children are all adults and now I get to play with the grandkids! But, the holiday season My children remember the most is the year that we made presents, nothing was purchased at a store. They had fun and learned a lot about what a giving Christmas was. I agree with your Holiday "craziness". Try to avoid it as much as possible and enjoy the real reason for it!

  4. You probably already know my answers---but we do minimal presents. My sister was adamant that her kids receive gifts they can open on Xmas, but it just dawned on me that her eldest has his own family now so I'll probably just focus on her younger two. This also might be the first year that I don't send anything to my brother's family in Colorado. I think I'm the only aunt/uncle who sends to his kids, but this year we're all supposed to be saving for a family vacation and I'm tighter on funds anyway. Different years I've focused on different things--sometimes I donate to charities in the family name in place of gifts, sometimes I'd sent gift cards for experiences (like dinner, etc) rather than things. This year will be minimal across the board whatever I do. I'd rather provide for a need DURING the year as the need arrives than have a long list of wants arrive due to commercialization. But that's just me ;)

  5. I knit hats for all my nephews/nieces last Christmas (10) which was fairly manageable as they were small, but I'm not doing any handmade gifts this year, it just takes too long! We do kids as well, and a draw for one adult gift, so its not too insane, but everyone still receives one gift, which is nice :)

  6. What a beautiful post! I can so relate to that. Good on you for not putting yourself under yet more pressure

  7. The best Christmas we had was when we lived in the wilderness (no TV), and all our gifts were hand made.


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