AND THE WINNER OF THE CHRISTMAS SOCKS AND AVEDA FOOT LOTION IS—–
Rebecca West!!!! Congratulations! Send me your mailing address. Here’s to keeping your dogs toasty this winter!
about the comment technical difficulty, the cooment feature is now up. If you sent me an email, I have it. I have your facebook comments too. You’re all entered! If you haven’t yet entered and you’d like to comment here to enter, you’re now able to. Otherwise, you can continue to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanksgiving was a good one, yes? You counted your blessings, ate lots of turkey and dressing, visited with family, and watched football games.
Now the page turns….drum roll please.….AND
Here comes the holiday season! It sure didn’t sneak up on us this year, did it? I’ve been seeing Christmas decorations in stores since before Halloween. Sigh.
(note: I write about Christmas because that’s the winter holiday I celebrate—and that is the one that has become the most complicated—but this applies to all the winter holidays that are celebrated.)
The Holiday Season. Decorations. Inside and Outside. Twinklely lights. Eggnog. Trees. Wreaths. Garland. Presents. Parties. Baking. Shopping.
And, um, chaos?
Do you welcome the Holiday Season? Or are you dreading it just a little? Perhaps you are already exhausted just thinking about everything you need to accomplish to create the “perfect” holiday for your family and friends. Maybe you’ve already begun feeling ragged and worn.
BUT. That’s not the real spirit of Christmas, is it???
What if I told you that you can find the real spirit of Christmas again? What if I told you that you could release some of the complications and madness that the season has become for so many of us?
Okay, find yourself a Christmas RAG. Find a scrap of fabric, any fabric. Cut it into a little square and hang it on your refrigerator, your bathroom mirror, your bedside table, anywhere that you’ll see it every day and remember. This Christmas RAG is your reminder to be simple and free this Christmas. I hung mine in my kitchen sink window.
Here’s mine, just happens to be Christmas colors, but it could be anything. (this was a dinner napkin which became a scrap when it was chewed by one of our dogs, LOL.)
When you see your RAG, think about the little exercise you are about to do. This exercise will help you experience a slower, simpler, merrier, and “funner” holiday season this year:
R step 1 Resign
A step 2 Assess
G step 3 Get rid of
R. First, My Sweets, you must RESIGN as manager of Christmas. “I hereby resign as chairperson of decorations, entertainment, baking, and everything else Christmas.” Let it go. You don’t have to control this. There are so many other people involved in your holiday traditions and celebrations. You don’t have to do everything and be involved in everything. RELEASE the need to create holiday perfection this year. Honestly, it’s not up to you. We moms and grandmas and sisters and daughters think it is up to us to do it all, but it’s not. We must learn to delegate some and let go of some.
Your mantra could be something like, “This year, I’m letting Christmas be Christmas.” Wow, right? THIS year. YOU. Are LETTING. Christmas BE Christmas. Does it freak you out just a little to even say that?
Just let it be. What it is. It is an incredible time of year. It is a grand celebration. Why complicate it and muddy the waters?
A. Second, My Sweets, you need to ASSESS what you do and why you do it. Take a thoughtful look at your holiday routines, traditions, activities. Learn to be selective.
Let’s make some lists to help us focus. What do you love, love, love about the holiday season? Name 3 things, your favorites. Those are definite keepers.
Now, what do you not love about your holiday season? Name 3 things. 3 things that are too hard, frustrate you, make you tired, etc. Those are the ones you’re going to work on lessening or eliminating.
Maybe you have responsibilities at church that you no longer enjoy. Let someone else take the reins. Maybe you have family members that you can’t enjoy being around. Well, limit your time with them. Maybe you have a few traditions that are just too much. Recast them in a way that they are more manageable. Or eliminate them altogether.
Ask your family what they think. You might be running yourself into the ground trying to do things that are not that important to the rest of your family.
I have a friend who did this exercise. When she asked her family about a labor-intensive tradition she always did, the cookie exchange she hosted each year for the whole neighborhood, she learned that her family didn’t have strong feelings about that. In fact, they didn’t get much out of it. Her kids told her that they’d rather have a smaller cookie baking event for just their extended family. That saved a lot of work and expense for her.
I have another friend who puts up a tree in every room of her house, including a special and unique one for each of her three children’s’ rooms. So much work for her. But this is a tradition that the kids love. Their special trees in their rooms make them feel Christmasy and special. They enjoy looking at the lights as they fell to sleep each night (she has them on a timer). That tradition was a lot of work for her, but a keeper.
Some people are no longer sending out holiday cards.
Keep assessing as you do what you do this Christmas. Look to your own traditions. Maybe you have some traditions that are no longer serving you. Maybe they are wearing you out. Could you let those go? Or lighten them some? Think before you just do things the way you’ve always done them. If you’re tired during this season, do something about it.
G. And finally, My Sweets, get rid of what you need to. You’ll know what you need to get rid of when you think about it. Simply pausing to consider, like you did in step 2, ASSESS, is the key to making mindful decisions. So, you’ll know what to do. Maybe think about all the glittery, expensive, frivolous, superficial, gaudy, all the GEWGAW that Christmas has become. When you see your little RAG, be reminded to return to the simpler things. Take the holiday back to a time when you enjoyed it.
What I long for this Christmas…..For it to just be simple.
That’s one of my favorite words and feelings: simple, simplicity. It’s the opposite of drama, confusion, too much, overindulgence.
A secret to a simple life and a simple holiday is this one word: less.
Yes, repeat after me, “less.” Let “less” be your mantra.
“I will buy less, run around less, bake less, decorate less, party less, spend less.”
But do make time to do some worthwhile volunteer work. This is enrich you and the people you serve. Another friend’s family decided to visit the animal shelter every year at Christmastime. They make homemade treats for the animals and blankets that they bought. Fewer presents for each other, more blankets for the animals. You can always bring LIGHT into your life by being a helper.
Focus on the good, the simple, the enjoyment. Get rid of the other. Spend time with people who think you’re fabulous and funny. Spend less time with those who suck your joy or put pressure on you.
Can we reclaim the joy and true spirit of Christmas? Can we simplify things enough that Christmas is fun for us and everyone else? Can we focus on the important stuff?
YES. WE CAN.
For me, I want to spend more time:
Gazing into the fire. (Like Jimmy, one of of many Cats.)
Sitting by the creek. (Like me in my new MUCK boots. My last ones made it for over 5 years. These have a fuzzy lining. So warm!)
Riding through pastures in the back of pick-up trucks. (Like me with this group of fun people. We were like the car full of clowns, just kept packing in one more….)
Walking through the woods. Like Hoshi, one of our many Cats.
Connecting with friends, two legged and four. Like me and my friend, Jesse. He knows all my secrets. And puts up with my perkiness.
Appreciating the wonder of nature all around us. (check out this gigantic pine cone. Have never seen one quite this large before. that’s my hand!)
Visiting with God. (no photo available)
Visiting with Angels. (no photo available)
Now, have you thought of a way you can simplify Christmas this year? Please share with us!
And if you do, if you leave a comment between now and next Wednesday at midnight, I’ll place your name in a big bowl. I’ll draw a name out and the winner will get a very simple gift. A pair my very favorite warm, snuggly, thick Christmas socks and some delightful Aveda foot lotion. Your “dogs” (that’s southern for “feet.”) will be happy. Make sure to come back here to this post on The City Farmgirl Blog on Thursday to check to see if you are the winner.
Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life. Savor the moment. Savor the season. Slow down enough to savor
Wishing you a slow and meaningful holiday.
Lots of love, The City Farmgirl in the Country, Rebekah
My Magical Merlin says,
God Bless Us, One and All….