Friday, November 25, 2011

My (Slightly) Simpler Christmas Plan

I have been thinking about this so much lately. This idea of a meaningful, quieter and simpler Christmas is something that has eluded me and my family every year. Not that I'm complaining....we are so blessed to have both mine AND Josh's family 15 mins away (including extended family). Our boys enjoy time with their grandparents on a weekly basis and are growing up calling their cousins "best friends." I absolutely LOVE this. It's important to me and I can see how it has enriched our lives in countless ways.

Having said that :) .... one of the challenges of living so close to our families is balancing our holidays between them. Here's how it looks right now:

Thanksgiving: every year we alternate who we spend it with. This year was our year to be with Josh's family. Next year we will be with my family, etc.

Christmas Eve: we arrive at my aunt's house (all extended family on my mom's side come) around 3pm for our yearly tradition of singing, eating, my grandmother reading the Christmas story, opening presents, etc. At around 5:30 we leave and head to Josh's parents' house (30 mins away) for their tradition of Josh's mom fixing a huge dinner and all us kids and grand kids being together and opening presents with each other. This is my most favorite day of the year!

Christmas Day: as soon as we can get up, we head over to my parent's house for a wonderful breakfast and Christmas Morning Cappuccino (I'll have to post the recipe later) and then us kids and grand kids open presents with my parents. At noon we round ourselves up and go to have a big lunch with Josh's extended family. Sometimes (because the morning is so rushed) we go back to my parent's house and spend the rest of the afternoon and evening.

I'm tired from just writing that.

{Now, I'm sure you practical planners out there already have a million solutions as to how we could do this better (and I'm sure they're great!). I have thought through some big changes that would make things easier too, and we will probably have to implement them in the future (esp with a new baby coming), but for this year at least, this is what we're doing.}

So, one of my dilemma's is carving out our own family time in the midst of this craziness. The other (bigger) dilemma is having time to really reflect and celebrate JESUS (you know, the main character in the story) with the boys. The way we're doing it now, I fear, will only leave them with the impression that Christmas is when we see lots of family, eat lots of food and get LOTS of presents.

My "Miracle on Main Street" Plan:

(We live off of Main St. Get it?)

--use Christmas Eve morning to celebrate Jesus' birthday with canned cinnamon rolls and birthday candles. I love the idea of a simple breakfast everyone will love that requires no prep on my part. This plan, however, will require me to be completely ready for the next 48 hours of festivities by the time we wake up.

--implement the Jesse Tree this year which includes a daily bible reading and short devotion. I'm actually thinking of foregoing the traditional tree in favor of just having a table top Jesse Tree. (I really love how Ann did her decorations so beautifully and simply. Raffia bows with paper snowflakes and popcorn and cranberry garland. Sigh.)

--doing a major pre-Christmas purge. Since we are preparing to fit 5 people into a small house this is a necessity anyway but especially essential when I know that we will be schlepping lots of new gifts home. My plan is to attack the boys toys hard in the next few weeks and pare down to only their very favorites. I plan to donate what we don't keep. Fingers crossed there.

--plan, plan, plan ahead. Have I mentioned that my brother is getting married on December 17th and the boys and I are in it? Yeah... So, I hope to finish up ALL Christmas shopping this week, send out Christmas cards in the next couple of weeks, bake and freeze goodies.... and basically just stay as ahead of the game as I can.

Oh, wouldn't it be wonderful to look back at this season and remember more sweet moments than hectic ones? To really sink into the fact that Jesus came quietly? And that there was no endless flood of people or special deals or tons of merchandise being lugged from house to house? And that Him coming means so much more -- the difference of life and death for us?

I usually look back and am grateful that it's over. I just don't think that was what the Father had in mind for His Son's birthday.

And I really do think it's going to take a miracle to have a peaceful heart in the midst of this season (especially if my little plan doesn't work), but... given His track record... I'm pretty sure He can handle it. :)

Praying for a peaceful heart for you too, friend.

(found here)

{If you're trying for a simpler Christmas this year, I'd love to hear your suggestions}


Kelly said...

I'm purging this month, too. It's really necessary, and I'm hoping to make some money by selling some of the stuff.

We simplified our shopping for our immediate family this year by purchasing one BIG gift for all the kids and then getting them each something smaller. With those gifts, and the Christmas eve pajamas, and stocking stuffers, and stuff from our family...they get plenty.

Josh and Dana said...

Yes! I feel like our kids get SO much. We only buy them a few things, and some years we didn't at all. I like your idea of one big thing and a few smaller things. Happy purging!

Mom said...

I like how you have given such deep and careful thinking to these details. It blesses me.