So today I am linking up with Erika and Shay for their Workin’ It Wednesdays Link-up. These posts are all about how we “work it” in different areas. They do them once a month so I thought I’d join in this month.
Today it’s all about planning for the holidays.
So I’ve got to admit, after reading Shay and Erika’s posts, I realize I am so unprepared! These girls are on it. They have this planning for the holidays thing down.
Can I just be honest for a second here? Everyone talks about Christmas being the most wonderful time of year and how much they love it. For me, Christmas is a time of high stress and anxiety. Something happens when all of the Halloween decorations get put on clearance at the stores and Christmas throws up everywhere. I begin to stress.
So I’m doing a little soul-searching this morning. Here me out for a second. Growing up, my family wasn’t really into Christmas. I mean, being a preacher’s daughter, we celebrated Jesus’ birth, but we didn’t go all out into all things Christmas. We didn’t put up a tree, didn’t do any type of Christmas baking, we might have watched a couple of Christmas movies here and there. Christmas for us was a couple of Christmas Hymns from the Hymnal on Sundays in December and then a Christmas dinner with our church. That was it. No presents, no decorating, nothing.
Growing up, I really didn’t think anything about it. I do remember one year we had a Secret Santa and we begged mom for a tree, but that was about as “Christmas” as we got around our house.
My Christmas knowledge came from Joseph and his family. My senior year I experienced Christmas at his Nana’s house. So as we grew up and got married, I chose to celebrate Christmas like everyone around me did. I guess we can call it Americanized Christmas ha!
As the internet boomed and social media and blogging became popular, I began to see how the rest of the world celebrated Christmas and all of the traditions they had. It looked so wonderful, but Joseph and I were living paycheck to paycheck and well, all of that cost money. We could barely afford Christmas gifts for ourselves and our two kids, much less Christmas gifts for anyone else. We didn’t really have extra money for baking ingredients, Christmas crafts, Christmas decor and Christmas events. There were weeks when we had ONE DOLLAR before our next paycheck.
So Christmas became a time of stress, anxiety and worry. I became very bitter and angry because we couldn’t afford to do much. It became a season of reminder of what I didn’t have and what everyone else had. And to make it easier for me, I convinced myself that Christmas wasn’t that great and everyone who decorated with more than one tree was crazy ha!
But, I missed the point y’all. Christmas isn’t about the stuff or the traditions. It’s about Jesus. And to be honest, that is easier said than believed. Because in a materialistic world with everyone’s life in our faces, it makes it hard to stay focused on the reason for the season.
I know now why Christmas is hard for me. I’ve been celebrating the wrong things. I’ve been measuring up our Christmas to those around me instead of focusing on what God has blessed us with.
Throughout the years, I’ve gotten better. I’ve put up more than one Christmas tree and have worked hard to get in the Christmas Spirit. God has worked in my life and I’ve fought hard to be content. To be happy with us. To be ok with what we have and not worry so much about what everyone else has.
Even now that things are better financially, the anxiety and the stress still come every Christmas Season. I think it’s because I am still trying to measure up. And it is so frustrating.
So this year, I am fighting the negative feelings, the reminders that I have to measure up to everyone else and I am going to enjoy this Christmas Season. I am going to do all the Christmas things and continue in the traditions that our little family has started because I want my kids to have great memories of this time. I want to instil in them the true reason we celebrate.
So here is my plan for the holidays..
1.Make Lists for Everything
I’ve said it before. I am a list girl. Why I don’t use this during the Christmas season, I don’t know. But I am starting a list for everything. Gifts for Joseph, kids, family and friends. Parties I am planning or co-hosting. Lists of baking ideas and crafts for the kids.
2. Continue With Our Traditions and Add a Couple of More
We have a couple of traditions already, but I’m going to really incorporate them and add new ones to our list.
We are decorating early this year because Joseph and I are leaving for our anniversary trip after Thanksgiving. I am going to plan a night of decorating with cookies, chocolate milk and the movie Elf. We do this already, but have slacked some the last couple of years.
Pajama Christmas Night. I am going to have all of us dress in Christmas Pajamas, go out for hot chocolate, coffee and donuts and we are going to ride around looking at Christmas lights and listen to Christmas music. This is an idea Shay shared and I am going to add it to our traditions.
I am going to bake. Gasp! Yes, I am baking this season. And I will use those goodies as gifts for teachers, friends and those around me. Here are a couple of Christmas recipes from Shay.
North Pole Breakfast. Our elf, Fritz normally visits us on December 1st or around that time. I am coordinating with Santa and I am going to do a Christmas themed breakfast with all of our Christmas dishes and maybe Mimosas for the adults!
Christmas Music. Sounds simple, but y’all. I don’t listen to Christmas music. Again, I think I’ve programmed my mind and heart to be a Grinch so this year I am listening to Christmas music.
3. Serve and Give
The years we spent living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to give our children Christmas gifts have made me appreciate all that God has blessed us with. I want to pay it forward. But I also want my kids to be involved. Operations Christmas is a great way. Our church has already started talking about it so I am looking forward to doing this with the kids.
4. Enjoy the Season. No Stress.
I am going to fight hard to not stress about the material things. I’m going to be intentional this season and remind myself each day of why we celebrate. Not only do we celebrate the birth of Jesus, but it’s also a time to spend with our loved ones and to serve and love those around us. This season is going to be different.
So there it is. My plan for the holidays. Anyone else struggle with the material side of Christmas? What kind of traditions do you have as a family? Please share, I’d love ideas!
I hope you all don’t think I’m a horrible person ha! I just wanted to be transparent and real this morning. Maybe I’m not alone in this. Maybe I am. But I am working on it!
Y’all have a wonderful Wednesday!!!