Advent begins today and I think about the traditions from the past, and those I want to begin. What I choose to do with my time and energy is a reflection of who I am, the values I hold dear, and the environment I would like to create for my family.
It’s easy to think that how we spend our time, our money, our words aren’t influencing and impacting others. If you’re a parent, even your grown children are influenced and their thoughts are affected by how you choose to spend your time and energy — it’s even more impactful if you’re children are minors still living in your home.
As I think about Christmas, I am filled with the joy of the season, but it can also be a time of stress. This is when I fall back on the traditions, rituals, and planning that has served me well in the past. I also learn from missteps, overachieving disasters, and personal failures (Do I call it a “challenge”? A “learning experience”?) when considering how to grow and change our experiences from year to year.
I find that my best lessons are from my failures, not from well-intentioned advice. However, I won’t be articulating my failures now — especially when I would like to be filled with love and joy; reflection on improvement is saved for January!
My Christmas Plans — Top Ten:
Family First! Living Lightly
It’s easy to get pulled in a million directions, especially at the end of the year. Parties, invitations, celebrations, events, and fun things to do! I inadvertently plan too much and we end up getting sick, tired, and ready for a break. In homage to the ghosts of Christmas Past, I’m planning a lot of Family First and Living Lightly time (as outlined below!).
Address & Send Christmas Cards
I’ve learned from years past that if I want my Christmas Cards and well wishes to get to friends and family, I have to have Christmas Cards on-hand by Thanksgiving. For the last several years, we’ve uploaded our pictures to various photo sites (like Shutterfly) for photo Christmas Cards, but this year we went with the Costco option — choosing the cardstock so our annual Christmas letter could be printed on the back. This not only saves time and trees (not using an extra sheet of paper), but was super convenient. I also picked up our postage at Costco this year, which I’ve never done before. It was convenient, but I do miss having a specific Christmas or holiday theme! I’ve gotten Mother Mary, Eid, Hannuhak, Kwanza, Santa, and several others. Since we collect stamps, it’s fun, but also our fun way of encouraging people to think of all the celebrations going on at this time of year! We have much to be thankful for.
Trim the Tree
This is a big sticking point in our home this year. We usually put our Christmas tree up Thanksgiving weekend, but not this year. The good news is that the floors damaged in the epic Fridge Flood this summer are being repaired and replaced. The good news/bad news is that we’re able to get them replaced next week. It’ll be great to get the work done, but it does keep us from decorating inside the house for Christmas until it’s finished.
Sing Christmas Carols
We love to listen to Christmas CD’s while trimming the tree, and really all year long, but we’re focusing on singing some Christmas Carols together this year! Finding songs, lyrics, music, and the time to practice together is a fun challenge we can all be happy about!
Play an obscene number of board games
Obscene? Yes indeed. We enjoy board games, but often are tempted by the siren song of online or video console games. I want to have No Screen Time blocks to enjoy time together and continue on traditions of Christmas pasts.
We make some sort of ornament every year, as well as do some baking or candy making. I’m building time for this into our schedule this year because sometimes it’s a hasty half hour of crafting and other times it’s making Christmas cookies after Christmas! The boys are excited about this one!
Read Christmas books
So many books, so little time. As the boys grow, we’ve kept a few children’s classics, but are incorporating some new reads for our budding bibliophiles!
Watch Christmas movies
Our children aren’t crazy about the Claymation movies I loved as a child, although I can admit now that they were slightly disturbing, but as it turns out, there are plenty of other disturbing (and not disturbing!) Christmas movies to see. We’re finding new favorites and indulging in our classics as we enjoy movie night.
See live Christmas Theatre performances
Live theatre is an integral part of our lives. As avid readers, seeing an interpretation on the stage is much more impactful to us than movies.
Spend time with friends
This is a concept that I’m crafting from the love of the minimalist movement. We’re thinking about minimizing our impact to increase our time, effort, and interests on people not things.
More to come on this!
What are your plans? Your top ten this Christmas Season? End of year holidays, celebrations, and traditions?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”