Sunday, December 23, 2007

feeling better

I have to admit I've been feeling a little scroogey this year. All the work of that Christmas party at church had something to do with it and then I got behind in all of my Christmas stuff.

Ever year I say I'm going to simplify. So, why don't I?

Here are some of the things I do for Christmas:
*decorate the house.
*make calendars to give my family and J's.
*extreme baking to give teachers at school, primary teachers, mail carrier, neighbors, friends, and anyone else I can think of.
*Christmas letter and cards sent out to 80-100 families. (Some were just sent yesterday, but if you don't get one this year, I'm so sorry!! We ran short.)
*make some of the gifts I give.
*help with the kids' "winter parties" at school.
*make loads of tamales. This year I said I would only make a few, but it took most of one day.
*the shopping, of course. The hardest thing is filling those blasted stockings.
*this year we've opened and read Christmas books for about two weeks leading up to Christmas.
*gingerbread creations.

I don't simplify, I only add more "traditions." Someone stop me! Most of these things I really enjoy doing, just not all squished into a two week period that also includes concerts, plays, and parties.

Next year I'm going to set some goals. I'll have the calendar, letter, and cards all done before Dec. 1. Maybe I can do most of the shopping before then too. This year J and I finally got to attend a performance of The Messiah and I want to do that again next year. (There were three other events scheduled for us that night. We had to skip them.) This year we wanted to go to Heart of the Beast's "Las Posadas" but didn't get to because J had too much work. This is another December challenge for us: It's always J's busiest, most stressful month for work. Another reason we should be simplifying.

So. I am feeling better. I'm beginning to feel that I can relax a little and enjoy. For some reason, the simple act of putting this new vinyl tablecloth on my kitchen table made me insanely happy. I love how it looks with the flowers.

Here is A Brief History of Christmas that puts it all into perspective. The modern way of celebrating with Santa and all that is pretty recent, while "Saturnalia" dates back to Roman times. I like Saturnalia! Now I know why I get so stressed out--I'm trying to celebrate two holidays at the same time. But really, I like that about Christmas. I think the pagan and the holy compliment each other.


Mama Ava said...

Here's an idea:

*We decorate over a weekend as a family thing to get ready all together

*Georgie and Lidia are more than able to make calendars, I bet!

*Either extreme baking or handmade gifts have to go. We stopped giving gifts to so many people because it got so overwhelming!

Mark's parents collect and read Christmas cards and send out Easter updates.

*I do all my Christmas shopping by November and the stockings at the end. Every time I go to Target I buy something for Toys for Tots as an ongoing reminder about others' needs. I buy easy things for stockings--funny bandaids, little nail polishes and huge bags of candy that I can split between all the kids.

The feeling of obligation is one of the things I disliked the most about Christmas. It's worse than commercialism (although I suppose the 2 are related). That I have to do SOMETHING for EVERYONE. It takes so much of the joy out of things!

Gabriela said...

Hey! Thanks for the link in your last post about Brazil and the church-I didn't know that had happened (they probably announced it in church in Portugues and it went right over my head).

With all of my Christmas stuff I take the normal stuff I have to do anyway-decorating and stuff-and turn it into an "activity". If we have a day where we have a class party or ward party-that's our "activity" for the day.

I think your ward party would have knocked the Christmas Spirit right out of me!

This year I just don't have it in me to bake tons of stuff-so we did two types of cookies and I'm calling it good. (It's just too dang hot here to be in the kitchen). I want Christmas to be fun and memorable for my kids-without killing myself in the process!

Calandria said...

Thank you for your comments, Mama Ava and Gabriela. It was great to read about how you make Christmas work for you. I think my biggest problem this year was not that I did too much, but rather the sense of obligation. You're right, Mama Ava--it definitely takes the joy out of things!

ave said...

I fully intended to do visiting teacher plates, and failed. JW made chocolates yesterday, 3 hours worth! We did lemon, irish cream, peanut butter, and peppermint flavored. I think that next year you should boycott the ward thing, it was probably the cause of the most stress.