This is Your Permission to Keep it Simple

Advent

It’s a little over a week into December. The holidays are fully upon us. Are you feeling stressed yet?

I hereby give you permission to keep it simple this year by cutting the stress and relaxing.

But, you say you have lots and lots of things to do. Parties to attend. People to shop for. Dozens and dozens of cookies to bake. Gifts to wrap with creative wrapping that rival Martha Stewart.

“How am I supposed to keep it simple, or relax for that matter?” you ask.

Well, it turns out I have a few ideas…

Give Love. The Beatles said it best: Money can’t buy me love. No matter how expensive the item, it will not guarantee the gift recipient will love you more for it. Lexus, with the big red bow on top of the car, I am talking to you. Love is greater, and best of all, it’s free.

Give Time. Your time is also free and greatly appreciated by all who receive it. Help an elderly neighbor shop, cook for someone in need, or take a friends’ kids off their hands for the evening. The simple act of your time shows you care more than any wrapped gift you could buy.

Decorate less. I have a huge collection of Christmas ornaments and decorations. Over the years I have weeded out a lot of stuff but still, I have too much. This year, hubby has had health issues. We probably won’t get the lights up on the house…and that’s okay. Really. There is no such thing as Holiday Light Police.  Every year I dread putting these things away. Decorating less means I have time for more important things…like taking a nap.

Do Less. I give myself (and you) permission to say “no” more often to holiday parties/events. Sorry friends, but it’s for the good of my sanity. If you don’t have the energy to create an Advent calendar, Elf on the Shelf, or decorate gingerbread houses then, to quote another famous song, Let It Go, Let It Go.

Spend Less. Never use credit cards to purchase gifts…EVER! If the money is not in your bank account, don’t buy it. Find a less expensive alternative and sing with me again: Money Can’t Buy Me Love.

Focus on Family. A few of our simple, family traditions include crafting of Christmas ornaments. We pop popcorn and watching The Grinch. And, we stroll the Christmas light displays around town, stopping for hot chocolate or a Caramel Brulée Latte. These are the simple memories that will last a lifetime.

Enjoy the Season. Chances are good that your holiday won’t be Pinterest-perfect. Just go with it. Smile and laugh with your kids and family when things go wrong. Relax. December will come and go, and summer will be here before you know it.

The Reason for the Season: Let’s not forget WHY we celebrate Christmas. I honestly don’t think Jesus would be pleased with all the stress we put on ourselves this time of year. Remember the story of Mary and Martha? “…you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about.” Yeah, that.

I give you permission to keep it simple this holiday season. Can you feel your stress level going down already?

* * * * *

Lisa at Over the Big Moon wrote an amazing post entitled: Why my Husband and I Cancelled Christmas. Not surprisingly, she got some very hateful comments. She got a lot of encouraging comments too, because it turns out she is not alone in this feeling that her kids (and this world) has an entitlement complex. I encourage you to read it with an open mind. Parenting is tough. Not everyone would have the guts to do what she did, but some might. It is working for her family and that is what matters.

 

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