Welcome to December! All of a sudden, its below freezing and its “finally” snowing here in Chicago after a warm and rainy fall. Decorative lights are up everywhere, stores are playing “Jingle Bell Rock”, and the streets are bustling with holiday shoppers. Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Every year I try to reduce my stress and just enjoy the season. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Around Thanksgiving, I mentally make myself a game plan for what I want my Christmas to look like.
Will I put up a tree? (Yes, a small Charlie Brown tree.) Am I sending out cards? (Yes, and I’m making them this year!) Will I make cookies, fruit cake, and peanut brittle? (Definitely a yes to the peanut brittle!) Should I have a party? (Nah, I just HAD a big party a few months ago…) What kind of presents do I want to give to my family this year? (Possible themes: handmade, local, sustainable, gift cards, charitable, practical, etc.)
For the past few years, my husband and I have opted to “Adopt A Family” in lieu of giving one another gifts. We just don’t need anything and it takes the pressure off finding that special gift for each other.
We do stuff each other’s stockings with fun mementos and that mandatory pair of new socks. It’s still fun to have something to open Christmas morning! Our birthdays are in February and March so there is plenty of time to give gifts. Plus then I don’t feel so guilty picking up a few sale items here and there for myself while out shopping, wink-wink.
My girlfriends and I have decided to go out to a nice holiday dinner and drinks together instead of a gift exchange. I think we end up spending less than buying every friend a present. I also appreciate not ending up with another scented lotion to add to the collection. Again, more fun, less stress!
I’m trying to center my holidays around sharing quality time with friends and family, giving back to my community, creating a comfortable festive space to retreat to, and just basking in the spirit of the season. I’m trying to avoid so much of the commercialism although a little does sneak in. Forgive me for I can’t resist purchasing a new holiday scented candle!
But instead of buying egg nog, I’ll make homemade Irish Cream. In lieu of purchasing bags of candy, I’ll make my peanut brittle. And instead of spending money on disposable trinkets, I’ll spend time with those I care about. And we’ll call it Christmas!