On my way home from work Friday night, a bit of panic set in. I realized that Christmas is thirteen days away, but what I didn't realize is that MY Christmas (Christmas with my kids) is actually only 8 days away. (When you have an empty nest, then more family members, you have to get creative with the timing of your gatherings!) Anyway, at this time of year, 5 days less is HUGE! So, I took a detour, and instead of heading home, I headed out to get some shopping done. But, when I got to the VERY crowded stores, my Christmas spirit fizzled. So frustrating. So, I headed back home, took a bath and settled in with my computer to get some shopping done my favorite way- on my couch, with a cup of tea and a Christmas movie on TV (The Santa Clause). Talk about stress free shopping! I love it! Online shopping (and Amazon Prime Two Day Shipping) is definitely one of the upsides of the online world we live in now. Especially for people, like me, who absolutely hate to shop.
Online shopping is just one of the ways I'm trying to keep it simple (while still trying to enjoy every minute of this season. It is, and always has been, my favorite time of the year). Here are a few more:
1) Switching it up from NPR to Christmas music in the car. Instead of hearing about riots, racism and war, I get to hear about peace on earth, joy to the world and silent nights. Much better to get into the holiday spirit, don't you think? Along with my old favorites like Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, I've discovered a couple of new favorites: Winter Song by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson and for some reason I'm really noticing John Lennon's So This is Christmas, even though it been around for years.
2) Watching my old standard Christmas movies: One Magic Christmas (first watched with Sister when she was four years old and watched every year since), The Santa Clause (one of Eddie's favorites), Christmas Vacation ( as Little Man would say, "Classic!"), Prancer (LOVE Sam Elliot reciting Yes, Virginia), Saturday Night Live Christmas (yeah, I know it's not a movie, but we always have to get our Schweddy Balls fix!) and, of course, It's a Wonderful Life ( M's and my Christmas Eve tradition, every year since we've been married).
3) Less baking. For the past few years I've gradually scaled back on my baking and now just make an Albers family tradition-Apricot Pastry. The kids have kept up their dad's tradition of taking them to several of his mom's friends on Christmas Eve, so making them is well worth the effort. For all of the other baking that I used to do... well, I just don't do it anymore. I'm not ashamed to admit that bakery cookies are my new standard.
4) Putting up a smaller tree. Last year, I thought going the artificial tree route was a good way to simplify. It just wasn't for us, though. This year, since we have a small place, we have a small (live) tree. And I love it. Easier to put up, less space needed, less ornaments needed, less lights needed,etc.
5) Reducing the decorating. When the kids were little, I wanted the whole house to be a magical place, so I put up a lot of decorations. Then, over the past few years, little by little, I've cut back. And since I've been in downsize and simplify mode, I've given away a lot of decorations. Now, I feel like I don't have enough! Since Peanut is getting to the age of really noticing and realizing more, I want my house to be that magical place again. Oh, my. Now I have a situation. If I want more decorations I either have to buy more or make more. Hmmmm...Oh, well. I'm sure I'll figure out the right balance, eventually. Pinterest helps :)
6) Trying to really focus on the joy of giving. Since joining the Art Abandonment group, I've secretly abandoned 12 pieces of art so far this month. It feels so good to do this. As far as buying for the people that I know- I'm really trying to be thoughtful and consider how this will affect the person that I'm giving it to. Will it just be another burden of another thing in their life? If so, I won't buy it.
Well, this has become one long winded post! So, I'll leave you with a video of another one of my all time favorite Christmas songs, Little Drummer Boy by Bob Seger (who I got to see in concert last night and it was AWESOME!).
Have a great week! Juli