Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas: Simplified

When my kids were little I killed myself over 3 or 4 days turning our house into some kind of weird 90s Victorian fantasy. It was so much work that I secretly began to silently dread Christmas. Then I began to resent it and all the extra work it meant for me.  Out loud. Where people could hear my actual words. (Cue music from The Grinch) I complained about the decorating, shopping, cooking, cleaning, traffic, lines, and any thing else that was irritating me at the time. Then a few years ago we planned a cruise that left on Christmas Day (insert John Grisham quotes from Skipping Christmas--Christmas With the Kranks, for you non-readers).

The cruise was the present. There was no shopping or wrapping. I set up the tree and my daughter and I literally threw Mardi-Gras beads at it to decorate it. Our cruise left from New Orleans and it seemed apropos. We drove by the mall and laughed at people stuck driving in circles looking for parking places. We scoffed at commercials. We relaxed.

The cruise was fantastic and we completely rethought our Christmas priorities. The next couple of years we continued the tradition but there was a kind of Christmas creep. We took a cruise and decorated the tree. Then we did all of that and bought gifts. Eventually we were doing a stressful Christmas and planning for a vacation, boarding dogs, packing, shlepping gifts.

Time to press the reset button. This year--no cruise. And a pared down holiday. Our son has been gone for 3 months and the only thing I want is to see him drinking cocoa by the fire. Or for him to scare his safety conscious sister with tales of his southwestern adventures. I can't think of a single thing I want or need. My husband and I aren't exchanging gifts.

This has been one of those tough years that shakes your priorities into shape. Even the gift giving I will be doing has a different focus I'll be sharing with you after the holiday. The next few posts will be about decorating and preparing for Christmas.

They'll be about making the house beautiful and festive for nearly free and making the money spent on gifts mean more than just adding to some corporation's bottom line.

If you are exhausted and ready to dial the Christmas chaos back a notch, then stick around.

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