When my children were young and I was a stay-at-home mother, I couldn’t wait until the Holidays came around each year. The thrill of deciding upon “just the right gift” for everyone, led to months of work making a variety of gifts. Time spent making gifts was a labor of love and I looked forward to seeing the look in the eyes of the recipients as packages were unwrapped. Decorating the house was something I did with the children because it brought all of us such joy displaying our favorite Christmas items.
For the past many years, the Holidays have been nothing more than a blur. Being a music teacher means preparing students for performances at Christmas concerts, Holiday Parades, and other occasions sharing music with a variety of people. Extra obligations, in addition to working long hours at school, take up most of the personal preparation time required for my own holiday preparations. Most every year I wait until December 22 to begin my preparations because my work life is so invasive of my home life. I am in the process of rethinking the situation.
The first thing to consider is the necessity of sending Christmas Cards. I am always late getting them out; usually after New Years. I should only send cards to those that really know me so they won’t be offended when the card arrives late. Home decorating is a whole other topic. I could be content to have only a tree and the family stockings on display. I’ll have enough trouble keeping three cats out of the tree to forgo taking on any other home decorations. Will my kids miss them? Doubt it! If they do, they can come to visit and decorate to their heart’s content. I’ll provide the hot cocoa and goodies while they provide the man power.
What about gift giving? I think I know the gifts that will make my family happy, so that won’t be so difficult. Home made pickles, jams, breads, and cookies are always items welcomed by everyone else, so I am set! Wow, that makes life a lot easier.
I am resolved to spend my Holiday this year with those I love. I challenge you to find ways to “economize” your preparations so you can carve out time to do what really matters to you. Life is too short to spend Holidays working, being stressed, and feeling exhausted when you are suppose to be sharing the spirit of the season. Try minimizing the details and spend your time sharing the love. It might just become the new “best” tradition.