Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I want to be present for Christmas

It is the third week in November and Christmas is right around the corner. And I want to make changes this Christmas. Not just talk about it like I have done before but actually do it and because it is the third week in November, I'm going to HAVE to. I am starting to get anxious about what all has to be done before Christmas and this is the year I am going to have to let it go. Christmas is crazy, but I make it crazier. As the head decorator, school and office party attender, buyer of presents for family, friends, teachers, speech therapist, and anyone who comes in contact in a meaningful way with my children, it can be overwhelming. One can go crazy with the holidays and this IS the year that I will scale back.

I am not going to be able to do it ALL at this point. And by all, I mean in a perfectionistic way. Gift cards will have to suffice. I will not spend eons of time thinking of the perfect gift to give. Presents are nice to receive but my focus this year will be looking someone in the eye, or writing a sincere word to someone who means something to my life or my kids' lives and letting them know how I appreciate them.

We have taken family pictures and Christmas cards have been ordered and that is one of my favorite things to do. I will work on a Christmas letter which I enjoy writing. (could you guess??) I want to enjoy decorating the tree and putting up stockings with my children with our favorite Christmas tunes blaring. I want to enjoy putting up our outside decorations as a family. We have added additional lighted
yard decorations every year (not quite the Griswolds yet!) but the girls love them and I in turn love to watch their eyes light up. Having a child in your life at Christmas is so fantastic. We can read the bible story of Jesus' birth and put up our Nativity sets and leave the wise men far away to represent the actual 2 years that it took for them to get to the scene. I heard a radio program talk about this particular subject of cutting back and it mentioned that kids love stories and making activities revolving around stories are ideal to make Christmas meaningful for children. (and adults!) I have a tradition of buying Christmas ornaments from the places we have vacationed or visited and as we put them on the tree, we talk about those special times. It's not about the presents...

In the past, each of these tasks is on a huge mental list and after each one is accomplished there is a check mark and a sigh of relief. One more thing out of the way. And in the past gift giving is frenzied and anxiety provoking. I have very few ideas of what to give the children this year, they have a lot. They still want more but I know what they REALLY want and need is hands on time spent with their family, George and I being present with them and playing. They will only be little for a short time span and Riley is becoming a young lady in front of our eyes.

I have signed up for a six session advent study on Wednesday mornings at our church which sounds ludicrous to the old me of perfectionism and of little time but I am going to embrace this study and it's meaning. I am going to have to let go as time is running out. I know it is not going to be easy. I am going to have anxiety at certain times and I will have to breathe through it. And I'm going to get off the computer now and make a grand list because the list will help me get a grip and keep it simple and then I will be able to be present. It can be done and NOW is the time to start the transition to a simpler Christmas.

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