Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Simplifying the Holidays

My one craft for the season: clothespin wreath card holder
When it comes to Christmas, I'm ambitious. Well, in my head, anyway. I start daydreaming of Pinterest-worthy mantel vignettes, beautifully decorated sugar cookies, a heap of home-made gifts, hosting several events for friends & family... then I remember I have two small children. & we don't even have a fireplace, let alone a mantel.

So this year, I'm calling it "simplifying" rather than "laziness", "I didn't have the time to finish half the gifts I started working on" & "oops, I forgot about baking anything". Rather than have soaring ambitions inspired by online galleries of professionally decorated homes, I'm going to aim lower. Here's how I simplified:

  1. Use last year's advent calendar. I think this was the only big DIY project I completed (by the skin of my teeth--I was sewing the numbers onto the baubles the morning of, half the time). It should be noted that the advent calendar is just a large tree-shaped felt board, with a bunch of felt numbers that look like tree baubles. No chocolates or toys or activities to organize. Just iron the thing & hand my kid a number each morning to stick up.
  2. Try for one craft. I love making things, but who has the time now? I picked something that can be done in small chunks of time while Bronte is napping & Linnaeus is occupied. I managed to actually complete a clothespin wreath which holds our Christmas cards. I have started another one, but it's pretty simple. If I finish that too, then I'll feel like I'm really winning Christmas!
  3. Get my shopping done early. I'm still doing as much shopping as last year, I just got the bulk of it done earlier, so I had more time to relax most of December. Well, as much time as any stay-at-home-parent with two small children gets to relax. I should also mention here that I only really give gifts to children--except for my husband. Not my parents, sisters, friends, etc. We started doing this a few years ago, donating money to charities (SPCA & Amnesty International currently) instead.
  4. Cut back on the Christmas cards. I did still write out about 15 of them, but mostly just to family. I'll probably hand-deliver at least a third of those because they're for people who live in our neighbourhood. For everyone else, I think I'll send out a greeting via email.
  5. Not overdoing the socializing. Oli's going to his work Christmas dinner & I'm going to one for the Board & staff of the Mount Pleasant Family Centre. We'll go to my sister's for a big dinner on the 25th & that's it for big social events. We will probably try to get to a few of the Christmassy attractions on my December bucket list, weather/naptime permitting, but I'm not going to stress if we miss a few of them this year.

I could probably think of one or two more things, but there's a toddler climbing on me, so I'll sign off now. What about you? How to you make your life easier during the holiday madness than is December?

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