Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The Holidays (Or Horror Days)
My neighbor just told me that she is finished with all of her Christmas shopping.......and it is all wrapped. Okay, so I hate her. Seriously, totally dislike her. Why would she tell me this? I guess if I had accomplished this, I would probably keep it to myself to avoid the house being egged.
Are any of you out there dreading the holidays? When the kids were small, I was overwhelmed with it all. We used to send out over 350 Christmas cards. That is not a typo. Talk about going crazy. I always refer to my "Delusions of Grandeur." We all have those moments. I think we bring it on ourselves with phrases like; "Christmas cookies must be made from scratch." I am going to make a list that will make your life easier. Kind of a point/counter-point. Let's start.
Point: Christmas Cookies should only be made from scratch.
Counter Point: Your kids really only want to decorate the cookies, so buy the tube and roll it out or buy them pre-made and just decorate.
Point: I am going to make a gingerbread house from scratch and decorate it with home-made frosting.
Counter Point: But the box or pre-assembled, again, all the kids want to do is decorate. If the kids are really small, this should only take about ten full minutes of their time before they are bored.
Point: I will hand write all my Christmas cards and send a family photo.
Counter Point: I will buy the cards from Costco with the pictures already on them, get my Christmas letter copied at Kinkos and use the address labels from last year that I printed and never sent out.
Point: My child must have the "must have" toy this year.
Counter Point: The kids will probably play with the box longer than they play with the toy, OR the toy will take you four hours to set up, and the kids will knock it down to play with the three dollar plastic bowling set that you got as an afterthought.
Point: We should all dress up for Christmas/Thanksgiving, we all need new outfits, we should have matching pajamas for the photos, etc. etc. etc.
Counter Point: In less time than it takes for them to get dressed in their "good" outfits, they will stain, rip, destroy, or pop off a button. I say pajamas or sweats all day. Suggest this to your family, they will love to have a "casual" holiday.
Do you have a point/counter-point? I feel I could go on forever about this. The real answer to all of this is to simplify. I have truly simplified my holidays. We used to go out to four to ten holiday "have to be there" parties every December. I spent at least $500.00 that month on babysitters. We have frittered that down to one or two. The kids are happier and so are we. Simplify. The holidays are about spending time with the people who matter. So do it. Choose to have a family cookie decorating night (simplify with the tube stuff, trust me). Choose to donate what you would have spent on babysitters on the homeless or get one more angel off the tree at the mall. Take your kids along with you and let them choose a child their own age. This is a valuable lesson for them and for us.
As our family get together this year, we are wrapping presents for the needy at the Kiwanis Club my brother-in-law is a part of. Then we are having potluck at my sister-in-law's house. Simple and giving.
In these present economic times, we should simplify not only for our sanity but to save money. I am not trying to be preachy, I have gone into debt many a year for the "perfect" Christmas. I have just learned that the kids can be just as happy with less gifts and more time. It only took us seven or eight years to figure that one out.
God Bless you and yours.