On Saturday I opened my new "Savannah Holly" candle a friend had given me, set my teapot on the festive hotpad one of my Knitting Girls made, cut a slice of leftover cake and sat down to organize our Christmas plans.
Sometimes I find the month of December to loom in front of me like a very tall mountain on which there is no stopping until I reach the top. Of course it is a very lovely view from the top, but nonetheless, sometimes I am scared to begin.
The demands of five kids, homeschool, (doctor's appointments!), and life in general make it difficult to find time to fit the holidays in! But, now that I've had some time to put pen to paper I'm feeling much better and more prepared to begin the climb.
I made a "December Bucket List" of the things that are important to me during the holidays: reading Christmas books, baking cookies, shopping with Andrew, making a few presents, etc. I also scheduled time for these activities on the calendar -- plus time to do my Christmas morning baking a week or two ahead of time.
I decided last year that card sending would have to be put on hold until the children were older. It was creating too much stress in November and December despite the fact that I loved doing it. I will still send a handful to those who don't have internet connection, etc.
We still keep the tradition of baking cookies for our neighbors. The list for that is long but I will try to keep our cookie list pared down and I have scheduled several days to bake.
There are no expectations from afar of presents to be sent, which greatly de-stresses my preparation. We have also opted for a very simple gift exchange with my sisters which also helps.
I do need to get the house decorated at some point here.....I prefer to wait until December 1 but then the calendar seems quite full. Maybe I can get up the energy to pull it out in the next few days.
I did read through Crystal Paine's latest ebook on Celebrating and Savoring a Simple Christmas. I found it reassuring. While I am already planning to do much of what she said, I felt encouraged to be on the right track and found she had many online resources to help me if I needed them.
I'll be planning our December schoolwork this weekend and I plan to schedule strategic days off now and then to help relieve the stress. I also hope to take off the two weeks at Christmas and New Year and get some household chores done as well as some relaxing -- and perhaps a few social events I can't squeeze into the time before Christmas.
Probably the biggest thing that will help me get through December is if I just relax and let things go that need to be let go and remember that my kids are happy when I'm happy and not stressed. So we will see what December brings....I know there will be some special memories to enjoy!
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