It’s December 16th, and it looks like we will not be sending Christmas cards out for the 2nd year in a row.
Last year, for the first time, I didn’t really enjoy Christmas. Despite all of the decor, advertisements, advent and music that now leads up to the holiday, it just seemed like it was here and gone before we knew it. We seem to be following the same pattern again this year. For all of the talk about establishing family traditions, it seems like the only traditions we are able to follow are those to which we are obligated. None of them are bad, mind you, but added together they all tend to overwhelm us with a sense of obligation and stress that I can’t recall ever allowing myself to experience in the past. Our traditions, as of late, have been basketball practice, cheer practice, girl scouts, piano lessons, school programs, gift exchanges, school Christmas parties, office lunches, school board Christmas parties, last minute shopping, first minute shopping, and planning our travel. Yesterday, we did five (5) advents for our little calendar with the family. Why five? Because that’s how far behind we were! For four days, we were not able to spare five minutes with the family to sit down and talk about the meaning of Christmas, though we give so much lip service to the importance of that very thing.
I’m grateful that we have things to do this season. I know that there are folks who spend the holidays alone, and in that sense we are truly blessed to be included in so much Christmas fanfare. However, there comes a time when you just feel yourself saying “enough – it’s time to simplify”. After all, the first Christmas was a pretty simple affair. So, one of the ways we’ve tried to simplify this year is to allow ourselves to dismiss the Christmas card obligation altogether. I tend to believe that true friends and family will not be offended. After all, I’m not collecting all of the ones I receive and checking it against my “true friends” spreadsheet (that comes during gift time! Just kidding.).
Here’s hoping that you can simplify your Christmas, as well. Thank God for the only gift that really matters, and have a hot cocoa on me.