quaking aspen, previously

though I hate to admit it…

Posted on: November 12, 2008

…the holidays are indeed fast approaching. Part of me wants to refrain from Christmas music, etc, until after Thanksgiving. But just after T-day is my son’s birthday, and then Christmas right after that. And particularly if I want to try to do anything homemade, I need prep time.

Here’s a great (and long) post about simplifying the holidays by Ali Edwards. I’ll add my own thoughts and things I particularly liked from that post here.

This idea is a good one for gifts:

  1. Something to read
  2. Something they need
  3. Something they want
  4. Something to wear

My personal holiday tradition theory is that you need to do the things that give you joy. If it’s a huge hassle, do it less or not at all. Like Christmas cards – why not do them every other year, if it’s a big production? Or figure out why exactly you want to do it, and gear it more in that direction. For example, if you want to do cards because they help you stay in touch with people, then maybe just a letter would be better. On the other hand if you like to make your own cards, or get crafty with it, or design or whatever, then give yourself more time for that aspect. (And, dare I suggest, don’t feel obliged to give a handmade card to every person you know. Just some, especially those you know will appreciate them. If you send a store bought card to some people, they’ll never know, as long as you don’t tell them.) Another fabulous option is digital/photo cards, like from Costco (complete with envelopes the proper size!).

Here are the things I like to do –

  • I’m a Christmas tree ornament junkie. The last couple of years my husband has put up most of our other decorations, but I like to do the tree ornaments. (Ooo, speaking of which, I think our little fiber optic tree has died – 6 years, $10, I’m sure it did its best.) And I like us to each have a new ornament for the year. Sometimes I make them, sometimes I buy them, I don’t mind too much which. This year I may try making them with the kids – maybe those button snowmen.
  • I’m not big into baking, but I like to do at least one batch of cookies, gingerbread or sugar. Sometimes I like to try a new recipe – but like, once. I’m thinking I may try to make divinity this year. We’ll see. I do like to make this for Christmas morning – you can make it the day before and bake it that morning, and it’s warm and tasty.
  • I have a “Holidays Folder” – just a binder that I put a picture on the front of, but it makes me really happy. I just need to remember to get it out, and actually make notes in it. Having a central place for things like gift lists, or address lists for cards, or even just tips/schedule for making Thanksgiving dinner (“Start the turkey first; next prepare the green bean casserole for baking, pies the day before” etc.) is very helpful.
  • I love music and favorite movies for evoking memories and mood. Also I must go Christmas caroling.

Here’s another idea from the Ali E. post, from one of her readers, that I like:

This might sound odd, but one of my favorite simplifying tips around the holidays is to do something for someone else that takes away from the flurry of it all. Last year, using Making Memories cool 1-25 sheet of holiday paper, I made two sets of simple cards numbered 1-25. Every day for the 25 days of Dec. my parents and my mother-in-law received in the mail a little holiday note. I’d include pictures of the kids, or the decor in the house, or a drawing from one of the kids. And I’d include a little note about something I remember from being a kid at Christmas. My parents would nearly fight each other to get to open them each day and they made a beautiful display of them on their patio doors. My mother-in-law passed away this Fall and as we were going through her things we came across a special box with all 25 cards and their related contents. My sister-in-law said she was so thankful I’d done that because it made her Mom so happy to look forward to it each day. And when she would visit she could see her excitement in sharing them with her. That activity really helps me focus my attention away from the shopping, planning, etc. and on the importance of giving.

It doesn’t have to be this exactly, but something simple like this that you actually enjoy doing, and that focuses on the person you are giving it to – that’s the awesomeness. And also I think something very simple that can be looked forward to – I think that helps too. Anticipation is good.

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1 Response to "though I hate to admit it…"

Great post…I’m totally stealing some of these ideas! 🙂

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