Ten Things We Don’t Do To Celebrate Christmas
I have been feeling the pressure for a while now.
It was subtle at first. Like a vague feeling of stress, mixed with the whisper that I am forgetting something.
Then, as the holiday season progressed, it grew.
The shopping, the wrapping, the traditions, the parties – the holiday season is in full force.
This morning, I woke up feeling tired, anxious and like a Christmas failure.
Not because my children aren’t enjoying the season – nope. In fact, this has been one of the best ever for my oldest son. He is choosing to participate more and more in traditions and celebrations that, only a few years ago, would’ve been totally out of the question.
Not because my husband is unhappy. He loves our low key, only do the things that make sense for our family approach.
No, this one is all me. The feeling that I am somehow not doing it right. That as a mom, I need to be offering more, showing them more, celebrating more, creating more, doing more. How did I get here?
How did celebrating Baby Jesus turn into a comparison game that I can never win?
Thankfully, after a couple of cups of coffee, my head cleared a bit, the anxiety lifted and I began to relax. Another cup of coffee later, and I actually began to embrace all the things we are not doing this year to celebrate.
The truth is, we have to be intentional. We have to use our time well. We have to be about only the most important things to celebrate as a family. Doing this means there will be a lot of things NOT on the list .
Here are 10 things we don’t do to celebrate Christmas:
Send out Christmas cards or God forbid, Christmas letters.
Schedule photography sessions for family portraits for said Christmas cards.
Decorate the inside of the house with anything other than the tree itself, some random candles , and every single snow globe, nutcracker, and previous years’ Santa pictures (The boys literally scatter them throughout the house like a strange scavenger hunt and then I go through and try to group them in ways that look like we are actually sane.).
Shop at the mall. Not even one time.
Cut down our own tree.
Make Christmas Dinner (In fact we declared our new Christmas Eve traditional meal to be spaghetti last year because it’s the only thing everyone eats with any real confidence anyway.).
Feel guilty about the advent calendar that we only get to it once every 4-6 days. (I also refuse to feel guilty about the beautiful devotional that I bought to read with my boys every single night, but actually have only read to them twice while my little one bounced on the trampoline, and my oldest talked over me about chameleons.).
Crafts of any kind. Even the gingerbread house that always fails and caves in after four hours of labor is no longer on the list .
Wear Christmas themed or even red clothing, jewelry or accessories.
Try to surprise our boys with their gifts .
This is our list. It is what works for our family. You may do every single one of these things and love them. I love that for you. I think you should!
But for our little family of four, with all our beautiful messiness, this is how we are able to enjoy the season.
We celebrate more often and more joyfully, by saying no to anything that doesn’t bring us joy.
If you love it, and your family loves it, then by all means, leave it on the list . But if you, like me, are struggling to let go of the pressure to make the holidays bigger and better, please let me encourage you – saying no can be freeing.
Saying no always means I can then say yes to the things that matter to my family.
It means I can breathe a little, relax, and enjoy the traditions we do embrace.
It means I have time to reflect on why we are celebrating Christmas in the first place.
It’s working for me and for my loved ones. It may work for you.
So go ahead, make your list.
What will you NOT do to celebrate the holidays this year?
This post originally appeared here on Not The Former Things In 2014.
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.
Hah! We did 14 days of the Advent Calendar in one reading! And missed last night and will miss tonight. Whatever!
14 days in one reading is impressive!!! 🙂 Merry Christmas.
It’s RARE that I laugh out loud whilst reading a blog but I’ve got to say your description of reading to your boys while once bounces on the trampoline & the other talks about chameleons made me do it just now!
My two would be doing something like practising ballet moves & while my son would be telling me (for the bazillonth time) about how many chickens he wants to add to his flock in the spring.
Thanks for making me remember that Christmas should be a lot more fun & a much less work!
Happy Holidays! OH & I must subscribe right now – because anyone who writes like this will be fun to follow!
Yay for laughing out loud. I firmly believe we all need more of it. 🙂
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Thank you for saying it like it is. And don’t get me started on the fact that every single thing we do for Christmas is a pagan tradition 🙂
We would do more justice to our Christian believes celebrating jewis holidays, after all those were really stablished by our father. But don’t get me wrong, we love the music, the family together, giving, etc.
By the way, chicken and rice is what we eat with lots of confidence over here, lol.
I love your blog! I just read the post traumatic stress article- very interesting and so true! I am Mom to a 13 yr old girl with autism and can relate to everything- the destruction of walls, sensory meltdowns, anger, frustration and feelings of loneliness. Thank you so much for writing these – and of course the list of things you don’t do for Christmas- we too, have found as a family it’s just easier to stick to routines and have to say no to things we don’t think will be practical for us. It’s nice to hear we’re not alone- I just subscribed– thanks! Darcy
Thank you so much, Darcy. Welcome. I am glad you are here. 🙂
Love this and breathing easier already!
I hope you have a great Christmas, Gail!
Yes! No mall shopping, ever! One thing we did this year that was great was take a day for me to take each child separately to Target or Toys-R-Us to pick it gifts for their siblings and a friend, and just let them look and be themselves and just have one to keep track of.
And wet did it early enough that if we didn’t find anything, there was still Amazon!
This is my family too.
Number 7 had me rolling on the floor laughing! Oh and the advent calendar of shame. That is my family. My beloved nativity currently has Lego airplanes landing on it. Because boys! It is what it is. Love your blog.
Thank you for your honesty. I sometimes feel the guilt for not doing all the things other families seem to be doing. There are unlimited things available to do, but we need to drop the comparison and just do what’s right for our family. We do so much better staying home and trying to keep things peaceful. God bless you and your family this Christmas.
This year I decided to not take the kids to see Santa. My youngest always refuses to have his picture taken with him anyway, the picture never turns out very well, and to get one of the not so great pictures you have to shell out at least $25 for ONE picture. No thanks! I’ve had a couple seconds of feeling guilty over it, but they haven’t said a word about not going. It feels pretty good to let that go!
Beautifully written! We had a mild Christmas this year as well. I didn’t break my neck, did most shopping on Amazon, no Christmas cards either and avoided walmart like the plague! I am truely thankful this year, its been a hard year, but not without growth. We are learning to just let some things go, because for our almost 21 yr old with autism, we are just worn out from the fight. Praying peace over your family. I’m glad to hear your son is home from the hospital and doing well. God bless you and as always, thank you for writing from your heart. ❤️
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