Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In the Nick of Time

So despite all my wise words on Monday, I started to go into Christmas meltdown today. I had one errand piled on top of another, this present to buy, that present to buy, a trip to the library with overdue books, a trip to my favorite local bookstore which unfortunately only had a handful of the books on my list, and then to school to pick up Will, and then home to make banana bread for the boys' teachers and wonder when I was ever going to get the rest of the house decorated.

I'm sure you've been there.

In any event, while at the library I picked up a copy of a book called Simplify Your Christmas. After I put the loaves of banana bread in the oven, before I started doing all the cleaning and decorating and card-addressing I needed to do, I sat down and read it.

It's a short book with a message that's plain and clear: Chill out. Drop out. Quit spending so much money and time getting ready for Christmas. Think about what you're doing.

And I thought, You know what, I really don't have to decorate the living room. I just don't.

It helped that I'd gone to my annual bookclub Christmas party over at Liz's house last night. Liz does minimal Christmas decorating--a nice tree, cards on the mantle, a few little lit Christmas village-type houses on the table in the front room. That's it. It was nice.

Now, I've never been one of those people who does five Christmas trees and decorates all the bathrooms. But I always have big decorating dreams and then feel sort of let down when I don't get around to implementing them. But reading Simplify Your Christmas made me wonder if all the decorating is worth it (and when I think about having to put away all those decorations, the answer is definitely no). Why not keep it simple?

So anyway, I'm feeling much less stressed out. Who knows, maybe next year I'll do absolutely nothing for Christmas. Well, except unwrap presents. Lots and lots of presents. Because you know what? Unwrapping presents doesn't stress me out at all.


Tracy said...

Go Frances!!!!

We have a tree. I put up a quilt that my mother made, and some gorgeous little nativity figurines. That's it. I don't write cards anymore and consequently receive very few ~ less clutter is fine by me.

My one disappointment is that my family decided that we should only buy for the kids cos it's cheaper. I'm hoping to convince them that buying for one household with an $80 limit is cheaper. I miss having just one thing to open! I enjoy receiving a gift too. And I've missed buying grown up gifts this year.

Ali said...

Oh, you know there must be something in the air this year - I feel exactly the same.

Here's to making it simpler and enjoying it more.

Tina ♥ said...

Count me in Frances! :)

Angela said...

Thanks for a note of sanity - I was beginning to think I was the only person who put up just ONE tree "what, you haven't got one in your kitchen, Angela?" said one friend "and a tree with lights in the front garden too" said another

Definitely fewer cards going round this year though.
I liked that slogan about being there for people was more important
"Fewer gifts- more presence"

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Thanks, everyone--Isn't it interesting how many of us want to make it simpler ... and then there are those who can't understand why you don't have a tree in your kitchen? Yikes!

Danielle said...

this year my lighted garlands expired to perfectly coincide with my own burn out. I'm relieved, however, my oldest son has noticed that lack of decorations and my usual festive mood.(I'm a December b-day girl, after all. You must embrace that Christmas rules the month.. you must smile graciously at yet another holiday-themed birthday gift. t's a lot of pressure.)

Anyway, we are simple here. Just a tree moved to a new location per the rest of my family's request that I decided to roll with even though I was skeptical (looks great)... I let my almost 6-year old daughter thrust the ornaments on with glee and didn't go behind her "fixing" them. My oldest set up his train around the tree and uses too much smoke that stinks up the house. oh, well. My husband out did himself this year with his original designed and letterpressed printed card.

I agree with Tracy -- please do not exclude the grown ups from gift exchanges. that cuts costs at the expense of the spirit of the season.