Friday, November 30, 2012

Making Christmas Memories That Matter

I have a tendency to be anxious.  This means that the scripture "Be anxious for nothing" is something I constantly remind myself of.

Christmastime seems to bring out some of the worst of these anxious tendencies, which is really so totally backwards from what it should be.  My 'need' to over-schedule and micromanage can really squash any Christmas cheer.  Ever heard the song "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year"?  Yeah, well it is really not if Mommy is getting a tension headache over how the garland hangs.

So last year, our first Christmas in our first house, I made a decision.  Christmas would be fun.  Most people probably don't need to make this a decision, but I did.  This meant a lot of little decisions that I had to hold myself to for the whole season.  Decisions like:

I do not have to do every fun Christmas craft or activity I see.  This will stress me out, which will stress the kids out.  And there are only so many foam Snowmen I can store in my attic.

I will not try to create 34 new traditions in hopes that generations to come will continue them.  But I can continue the few simple traditions that we have had for years now that mean the world to my kids- a sleepover under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.  New jammies for the sleepover that will be opened on Christmas Eve.  Making a gingerbread house together.  Starting Christmas music as early as humanly possible.

I do not have to attend every event I am invited to.  I will choose to do the ones that mean the most to our family, like Christmas Eve services at church, or game night with my sister and her family.

Decorating the tree does not need to be stressful like it was in years past.  I will let the kids decorate the tree and it will look crazy but they will have a blast.

If John is not jumping up and down with joy at all the decorating, that is okay too.  That is not who John is, that is who I am.  If I try to make him into another me, this will lead to stress for him and stress for the entire family.  I have enough Christmas sparkle to make up for his quiet Christmas enjoyment.

I will not over-engage myself in the commercialism of Christmas.  I will make people and the birth of Christ the focus of my season.  I will look for ways to give, not receive.

Since I am being totally candid, I'll let you in on a little secret- these decisions were not made PRIOR to last Christmas, but as I saw ickiness and stress entering our holiday.  This year, I have a head start.  It already feels so much better.

Now, I hope you will excuse me as I allow myself to (calmly) go readjust a few ornaments on my wacky looking Christmas trees so they don't tip over...because my kids only decorate the front.  And heavily.  ;)

Someone (usually me or Philip) is guaranteed to choose dorkdom when it is time for pictures.  This time the kids both did.  And so cute too.  These lights are now haphazardly strewn across my favorite tree, full of 'memory' ornaments.  I love it!

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