Posted by: angelnorman | November 19, 2007

Simplify and glorify– that’s my new motto.

I just finished my first ever shawl. Important lessons have been learned.

1. Never ever take on a project you can’t finish in a reasonable amount of time.
2. Blocking will not add that many inches so you may as well finish the thing properly or else it’ll end up too short (and yes, it really did! I have no idea how to make it still cute… blegh.)
3. Challenging yourself is very good, and you should be proud of what you did regardless of mistakes made and lessons not yet learned (for instance lesson #2). All in all, the love you put into it is all that matters. Right? Yeah. Okay.

We’ll see how it turns out when the blocking’s all done and the piece is dry. Hmph.

***

I’m feeling the pressure this year of a commercialized Christmas. How easy it would be to just be DONE with it all, to spend several hundred dollars on whatever’s on sale, and to just wrap it and have it all under the tree before December 1st. However, I find that this only works for a little while. Usually when I accomplish the monumental task of spending every last extra dime on the latest gifts for everyone, I feel empty. Wasteful. Impersonal. I don’t like feeling Christmas rush by as quickly as paper flies on Christmas morning. I want more meaning, more sentiment I guess. I want magic. Excitement. To be in awe of every aspect of Christmas, and to think of the gifts only as a bonus to an already awesome day.

That’s why I feel a little rejuvenated by reading stuff like this, Easy Tips to Create a Simpler, More Meaningful Holiday. I especially love the ideas of keeping things serene, not getting caught up in phone calls and such, and encouraging your children to care more for others and then for themselves. I will be doing all this and then some. I think another way to get kids involved would be to do some sort of secret Santa thing with the kids… how cool would that be? Maybe Nick’s little buddies will randomly find goodies on their doorsteps or candy canes from their doorknobs this year… I think the excitement of sneaking around and leaving presents for others would be so fun for Nick. He likes sneaky… he’s just like me, after all.

My plan of Christmas simplification is really, well, quite simple. Ha. We’re paring it down this year to roughly 3 gifts max for each other. That means that Nick is getting his race track from St. Nick, an extra car for his track from his dad and I, and some clothes that he needs,  some of which I am making, and that is it here at our house. He’ll go on to get plenty of other junk, so I am going to just get him the one or two toys and call it a day. No more overwhelming him with lots of toys. I’d rather him have one thing so that he can appreciate it and enjoy it and not be super crazed when it comes time to opening a ton of gifts. We will also have simple stockings with oranges, apples, candies, and homemade cookies. I’ve decided all this just today and already I feel so relieved! So ready to celebrate!

I refuse to blow my budget, and not only that but my entire appreciation of the holiday, on the fuss and fillers. You know what I mean? Fillers are there to simply fill in the gaps of what we feel is missing from our holidays. The truth is that it’s meaning that’s missing, but we don’t know how to buy meaning so we make up for it with useless crap no one really needs. I always feel guilty for the fillers… I know I totally go out of my way to fill in whatever emptiness I’m feeling about the holidays with random stuff, junk really, like that. For instance last year I got Nick a kitchen. It was his biggest gift, and it should have been enough by itself. But in my head, spending only $40 on Nick made no sense… I felt like I had to get him more. So on the side, he also got food, a microwave, a chef’s hat, and a ton of other goodies. Now, those were all very inexpensive things- I maybe spent a total of $80 on Nick last year- but the poor kid was so overwhelmed by all the items that he couldn’t even focus his excitement. Within an hour of opening the gifts, he was back to playing with the stuff he already had.

And all because I felt like Christmas needed to be more than what it was. Pfft.

Really, I think we all just need to focus back on the real spirit of Christmas… and remember our Original Gift and how we should be thankful for His presence in our lives. I think that all meaning gets lost when we forget to remember that Jesus is the true gift, and that our Heavenly Father just wants us to know how much He loves us. He didn’t send His only Son so that we could get all stressed with shopping lists and financial woes. He did it because He loves us and He wants us to exchange some of that love with each other. And that’s another one on my list– putting Christ back into Christmas.

So if you’re looking to join me in making your holiday one that is more memorable and meaningful, religious beliefs aside, then here are some other good links to get you thinking. I hope they help you have the best Christmas EVER. 😀

Four Steps to a More Meaningful, Less Commercialized Holiday
81 Ideas to Spend Time with Your Family at Christmas
The Family Time Calendar @ IVillage

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