Does your list look this?
- Cookie exchange – 13 dozen
- Craft store boxes for ladies exchange
- Candy canes/classroom – 29
- Teacher presents – 5
- Greeting cards – 25
- 6 stocking stuffers – (don’t forget the razors this year)
- Host – Lions Club party
- Hang outdoor lights
- Decorate outdoor tree
- Gift exchange – $25 or less
- Concerts – December 3, 10, 12, 14, 19, 21, 22
- Tree decor – $350
- Host – Association holiday bazaar
- Clearance tub sale – 12/27
- Christmas Eve party @ Jamie’s house
- Grandma Jean’s gift
This isn’t exactly a long list, right? Perhaps not for some. Although I would question this list for even the most organized. For others though, this is an example of why the holidays become a dread instead of a joy. Because with 10 extra nights out in the month, 12 extra gifts to wrap, 25 cards to write, a tree, house, mantel and hall to decorate, and two extra parties to host, there isn’t much comfort and joy to be had. It’s all been squeezed out and there’s no more room for baby Jesus at the Inn.
So how do we manage all of the demands we’ve placed on ourselves and which ones do we let go of? I mean we want to appreciate our child’s teachers, and the Association party just won’t be the same without our help, and we can’t forget Grandma Jean or the lovely dance recital our neighbor invited us to, and…..
The answer to this question will vary greatly depending on you and your needs. But the answer begins with asking yourself, “Why”?
Why am I baking 13 dozen cookies for the party?
Is the party really something I love? Do I love baking cookies? Do I enjoy the people at this party enough to bake this many cookies?
If your answer is a resounding “yes,” and this both gives you great joy and you like why you’ve chosen this then by all means keep this activity as something necessary this season. But if it isn’t, then it’s time to cut it off your list.
The same goes for tree decorating, hosting parties, giving presents, and buying candy canes.
Friend, it may be too late to back out of some commitments now and if that is the case I hope you will at least make note of what you can actually let go of for next year but if you have not yet made a commitment to some activities then please do yourself a loving favor and check some things off your list.
And I know it can be so difficult to let go of our stuff, our ideas, our traditions, our _____________ but let me share with you a wonderful memory from last year that we created because we let go of what we’ve always done.
We had a very busy year with transitions in our household, as our oldest son was far away in college and not going to arrive home until December 23rd. He was possibly going to miss our outing of getting a tree and decorating it. We decided to wait for him before we decorated which meant we wouldn’t have our tree for the usual 3 weeks we had it in previous years.
Additionally, because of the busyness we had during the year, we felt a traditional tree was going to feel more like a burden than a joy so we switched gears… let’s get the tree that needs the most love. It could be a symbol of our Christmas and what our hearts were being drawn to so, as I went shopping for our tree… I searched for the little tree that needed the most love. There weren’t many to choose from. Yet, as I glanced at the three or four still available, there she stood…… sort of. Actually, she was bent and leaning like the leaning tower. We started calling our tree, “the leaning tower of Christmas”. It was a point of humor but everyone got into the spirit of that little tree last year.
On December 23rd, the afternoon our son arrived home from college, we all sported our Christmas pajama bottoms, hopped into our van, and headed to the dollar store where each of us bought three ornaments and once home, placed them all on our little leaning tree. There was such laughter and light-heartedness in those moments and the joy that filled the room was truly better than some of our past years of decorating much larger and more perfectly-shaped trees.
Our take-away from last year is that we let go of what we did before and created a much more pleasurable and loving experience. Now, it’s your turn….
Check the list twice…
What can you let go of that will allow you to create something a little different or a little more enjoyable?
Challenge #3 is for tomorrow and it’s going to be good….