It’s that time of year again……

old fashioned christmasWell, here we are again, it’s early December and it’s time for visions of sugarplums to dance in our heads…. or maybe not.   I don’t know about you, I can only speak for myself, but I’m pretty sure a lot of folks can relate – those sugarplums are NOT dancing in my head like they used to. I don’t want this to be a huge downer of a post, so if it is (to you), I apologize in advance.  So here goes….  I used to absolutely LOVE Christmas.  I loved everything whatsoever that went along with it.   I was a younger woman then, and full of energy. Before the days of computers and printers, I would simply take a piece of paper and draw a bunch of squares to make my own personal December calendar.  In each square, I’d notate which days were work days, which days we had “events” to attend, and then I’d fill the squares with tasks.  Shopping (there was no online shopping in those days), wrapping, card writing and addressing, and baking….. oh the baking!  I’d choose a cookie or candy for every free day.  If you threw in all my regular responsibilities as a wife, a mom, and a nurse, you’d see how full my days were.  The laundry, cooking, and dishes still needed to be done.  Somehow I pretty much did manage to “do it all”.  I’m quite sure neither my kids or my husband had any idea what it took to “make Christmas happen“.  What they WOULD have noticed however, would have been if it HADN’T happened.  I was young then, and thankfully full of energy.  I do distinctly recall though, that by the time New Years rolled around, I was SO GLAD it was all over.  I was exhausted. Not to say I wouldn’t pick up right where I left off and do it all again the next year…  These days things are different.  We all live through our own personal seasons of life and now all that folderol simply isn’t necessary anymore.  I used to really enjoy sitting at the kitchen table with the cards and paper spread out before me, Christmas music playing in the back ground, and doing those cards.  I still kind of enjoy it, but not like I used to. I guess I’ll blame social media for that.  We see each other regularly on Facebook, or Twitter, by text, or in emails with plenty of photo attachments.  All the news that I used to long to hear about friends and family, is now pretty much already out there.  People I send cards to also know MY comings and goings through social media… so why bother? Oh I know that’s a jaded approach.  I will still bother, mostly because it’s a tradition I like to hang on to.  But I’ve sure cut it back from years gone by.  Plus, the price of postage is ridiculous these days and that makes me think twice or three times about sending greetings either in or out of the country. We have friends and family in the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia – I adore all these people, but I won’t send each one a card like I used to.  To Canada (which is literally a stone’s throw from here!) it’s $1.10 per card.  Insane.

Many years ago, when I was just a kid, I used to feel bad about how stressed my Mom would get around the holidays. It took me becoming a mom and a full grown adult to really understand her.  She would really wig-out over preparing the big holiday dinners, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I think the dark cloud of those dinners hanging over her head put a huge damper on how well she was able to enjoy  what should be the happiest time of the year.  Looking back, I wish I had encouraged her to skip the dinners that stressed her so.  We could go OUT for a meal {gasp!} or maybe visit someone ELSE’s home for the big get-together.  I think Mom would have enjoyed this time of year so much more, if she could have let go of those holiday dinners that she oh-so-stressed over preparing.  So, I’ve tried to learn from her mistake.  I’m cutting back on the cards.  I’m cutting back on the decor (it’s fun to put up but a royal pain to take down and put away!!!).  I’m certainly cutting back on the sweets and cookies.  We’re not hosting a Christmas party this year.  We’re cutting back on the gift-giving as well – which in turn cuts back on time shopping and wrapping!  These things make me feel so much more calm!!!  Unlike my dear Mother, I don’t stress over holiday dinners.  I still love preparing a great meal for friends or family.  I love the gatherings, I love the carols, I love just being together.  So it’s not like all of the trappings of Christmas are lost, they’re just somewhat subdued, which is really an okay thing. For me, I think it’s a great opportunity to focus a bit more on the real reason for the season, Jesus.

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