Did anyone else look at the date today and think "How in the world is Christmas in 10 days?" It's December 15th and that is just crazy! I know that I feel like if I just blink then the next 10 days are going to be here and gone and then we move on into 2017! Holy cow! Life is such a fun and crazy whirlwind.
If you are like me, then you LOVE this time of year. I think that most people love Christmas, but also feel the stress that Christmas brings. You might not be one of those people and you might hate it. Who knows? haha! This year was a little different for me because we went to San Fran at the beginning of December for 5 days. I know that shouldn't matter but San Fran wasn't really decorated anywhere like NYC is, and I'm one that likes to celebrate ALL MONTH LONG so I felt like I was missing out a little bit. We weren't able to decorate until that following weekend which was last weekend (which now I'm just in love with my house and may leave up this decor until the end of January haha).
I think that as much as we love it, we are all also overwhelmed by Christmas. It's hard not to be with all of the decor, gifts, wrapping, cooking, parties, volunteering, and that just scratches the surface. We all have all of our normal obligations and to do lists but have to add a lot more time and money into that. We want the ones that we love to be happy when they open their gifts, but also most don't have the money really so it's just most of the time very stressful.
I think that we all are like "Remember the reason for the season" but we don't actually sit down to ACTUALLY enjoy it. For some reason, for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year I just made the conscious decision not to stress. It's funny how you can do that and it just happens. I always have to remind myself of that little piece of advice in other areas. Last year, I didn't feel that way. I posted this blog post about Feeling Inadequate. It was a crazy popular blog because I think that so many can relate. I'm typically one to always be transparent about my anxieties and stress and luckily, I am not feeling as crazy so I get to write about this season in a more positive light #thankyajesus.
I typically throw parties, but it just wasn't on the to do list this year therefore it didn't happen. I could be upset about that and of course I missed having my family and friends in my home, but at the end of the day, no one remembers the parties that I've had in the past or cares that I didn't have them this year, and I'll probably have them next. Are you a parent? Maybe you just simply don't have time for elf on the shelf? Who cares? That did not exist when I was a kid, and I loved Christmas regardless. Please don't feel the pressure to do that. It's another created thing for consumerism.
I know that we know it but when we stop and think about it, this holiday has been made into one big spending affair. Don't fall into the traps that they want you to fall into just to make all of these stores money. As I always say, experiences > material items. This year our family finally decided that we weren't going to do elaborate gifts for one another (it seriously got CRAZY up in there), but that we were going to shop for some needy families instead. We all agreed that all of the girls would go shopping to pick out the things so that we could spend time together. I LOVE THAT SO MUCH MORE!
I know that I'll be one of those "weird" parents (and I know I'm doing the thing where I'm speaking of things I'll do before I actually have children) but I just don't see the need to get them 487 gifts. I think that a few is wonderful and it allows you to really think about them, get to know them and what they love, and then get them something they will adore. How special! I want to DO things with my kids. I want to take them to see lights, and I want to take them camping in the mountains while we talk about the true meaning of the season and how Jesus was born and what a celebration that is. I want to have an overabundance of joy different than usual, but I think that we don't allow ourselves to sink into that.
We worry about the family drama that's going on. We worry about how we are going to get to all sides of the family and make everyone happy. We worry that our cookies will be the ones that people want to eat at the cookie party and if no one touches ours then we leave disappointed. We put SO MUCH PRESSURE on ourselves when if we think about what Jesus would want, he would look at us and say "Children, please REST! Celebrate my birth but not in this way. Think of me. Talk about me. Why are you buying gifts for your 2nd cousin twice removed and it's a Starbucks gift card because you can't think of anything else but turns out 2nd cousin doesn't even like coffee?" WHY OH WHY DO WE DO THIS?! haha! We spend SO much of our money just built on these expectations of what Christmas should look like when in reality we ALL have it wrong. We ALL were conditioned into all of this because stores wanted to make money and that has snowballed through the years.
I think that it takes a conscious decision from each person and each family to decide what is right for them. I think that it takes effort because the natural thing to do is to stress and worry and spend spend spend, but when we allow ourselves to truly relax, and we make the decision to not let it get to us, everything changes. That's what has happened to me this year and I just adore it, and never want it to end. I come in the door, and I plug my tree in and I'm just like "AH!" I honestly have bought a lot of gift cards this year and that's totally not my style. I stress myself out to find the perfect gift for each person because it BOTHERS ME that if I'm spending money on someone, I better know them enough that I know what to get them, and if I don't, then why am I spending this money? So, I let that stress me out. I WANT to be thoughtful for my children to only have a few gifts and get to know them, but there are some people that I just am expected to purchase for and I'll not fight that and just give them a gift card because #aintnobodygottimeforthat. It's just not worth the stress.
So while last year I was stressing and feeling inadequate, this year I'm feeling on top of the world and very jubilee. haha! Stick with me for a few more years as I start having kids and we can tally up what my emotions are each year. I told Tanner at work yesterday how I was in the BEST MOOD but that my emotions were like the winds and he never knew what he'd get by the time I got home! ;) hahaha! What a time to be a woman right!?
Okay, now quit your stressing and go love on your tribe. That's all we really actually want.