Friday, November 16, 2012

the 12 days of [simplifying] Christmas: make good choices

My older children still roll their eyes when I tell them, "Make good choices." It's something they heard often growing up, mostly as they were headed out the door.

I think one of the hardest lessons for me to learn as a young mother, was that I couldn't do it all. I sure gave it my best shot, especially during the holidays. As wonderful as my intentions were, I realized with all my doing, I wasn't being the mom I wanted to be. In all the busy-ness and striving for perfection (yes, I am a recovering perfectionist), I realized I was missing out on far more than I was ever accomplishing. I learned I simply need to make good choices, not all the choices.

With the plethora of amazing and creative ideas on Pinterest and blogs, and in magazines, it's easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of projects and find yourself snowed in under the stress.

The golden question.
What works for me, is to make list of everything I wish I could do, and then look again and ask, "Now what can I realistically do with my time, energy and resources and still enjoy myself?" It's a simple exercise, but it works.

Now I choose just a few things I really want to create, bake or make. After all, there's always next year.

A family favorite--homemade Oreos.

Instead of trying to make a variety of treats for neighbor gifts, gatherings or the office party, choose one favorite to bake for everything. Stock up on the supplies you'll need and you're set when it comes time to whipping up a batch.

For our Christmas dinner, I make some and buy the rest. Our sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce are always homemade, but Costco makes a great pumpkin pie and our local bakery has the best whole wheat rolls in the world.

I don't plan to sew or craft any gifts anymore. No deadlines, no stress. If I do decide to make something, I make sure it's completed before November.

I love a beautiful tree. I would love a "designer tree," but I let it be a work in progress, instead of trying to put it all together at once. Each year I add a few more specially chosen ornaments to my red and white themed tree. I'm still searching for the right garland to make or buy.

Keep activities simple and fun, and get rid of those that just don't work anymore. We've loved our Christmas Eve brunch with all the kids in the past, but now it's just too hard to get them all together. Lynn, Ella and I will keep it going, but we'll do something different with the others. 

Have a great weekend, and make good choices. :)


  1. I would say I stumbled upon your blog today, but I believe God fully intended to get me here. I REALLY REALLY needed to hear the advice! My boys are 8 & 10, and they need me more than the decorations, baking, crafting and "all of it" ! This year I will make that dream list then edit it to what is feasible while allowing me the time and energy to focus on the true meaning of Christmas with my boys! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Gigi, I'm SO glad my thoughts were helpful to you! You are so right about the boys needing you more than the busy-ness of the holidays. I know from experience that simplifying Christmas will make it more more meaningful and enjoyable for your boys AND you. Please let me know how it goes.