Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Let's Not Panic About Christmas

MomQueenElizabeth, ready for Christmas
I can tell you the exact moment when I started to panic about Christmas this year. I even blogged about it. It was December 4, and I had suddenly realized that I had done nothing at all to get ready for Christmas, and that I was leaving on a four-day vacation the following day.

Woe! I cried to myself, and to you. Woe! Woe! Woe! Christmas is ruined!

Okay, before you read even one more word, I want you to click over to Swistle and read her Soothing Holiday Words post. I'll wait right here.

All done? Isn't that completely great? She nailed down what I've been feeling recently: Christmas expectations are not assigned to me by others, they are self-imposed, so I can remove those expectations as I see fit.

On the way back from our vacation in Smoke Sin City I mentally categorized what is important to me about this season and what is not important, just so I could gauge how panicked I should be this week. I was ruthless in putting holiday-related expectations into those two categories. I discovered that both lists are comfortingly short.

These things are important: Spending time with my family and friends, having a Christmas tree and stockings out, baking peppernuts, having a present under the tree for each member of my family, listening to my favorite seasonal music, taking time to savor the moments.

These things are not important: Everything else. That includes baking and making candy, having a perfect Christmas morning with all of the traditions observed, finding the PERFECT present for each and every person, and shopping in actual stores.

So I started checking items off my list.

Tree up? Check. Two hours on Sunday night and it was done.

Presents for each member of the family? Check. Ordered last night, and blessings of the season to you,

Listening to my favorite seasonal music? Check. On it even as I sit here.

Peppernuts? In progress, and will be done by the weekend. 

That leaves only spending time with my family and friends, and by paring down my "important things" list, I've left myself TWELVE WHOLE DAYS for this most important thing, and that will give me time to savor the moments as the Boys drift in and out of the House on the Corner over the next few weeks.

Oh, I'll probably do a few more things, maybe get our Christmas cards out before the end of the year, knit a few more inches onto my mother-in-law's gift, possibly even rig up that card-holder I bought the supplies for and didn't finish. Or maybe not. No one will be disappointed (or surprised) if I do none of those things, and I will be happier and less irritable and more fun to be around. 

I feel like the elf who saved Christmas.


  1. And I brought the ornament bin up and let nature take its course in the form of the children: the tree is now dripping messily with ornaments, and I didn't have to do it!

  2. Love this post! I have "allowed" my four kiddos to do more of the things that I always wanted done perfectly so I did them myself and I have to say...the tree is beautiful and they are enjoying it more too. Apparently all those things I thought HAD to be done weren't really important to anybody except me, lol

  3. This seems to be the theme for the year for many people, myself included. Isn't it awesome! Enjoy your "good enough" Christmas!