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I have found myself dreading certain aspects of Christmas the past couple of years. I’m not a grinch about all of Christmas. Just the decorating and the stress of trying to manage all the get togethers.

The decorating became overwhelming for me. It seems like every year I received some sort of decoration as a gift. Usually in a dirty santa game. Please don’t misunderstand me. It’s not that I didn’t like the decorations I received or did not appreciate the thought behind any of the gifts. I did. But the sheer number of Christmas decorations and ornaments that we’ve received over the years has overwhelmed me. I mean do I really need 8 large boxes of decorations? My house is not very big. The only way possible to use every decoration or ornament we’ve ever received would be to decorate every solitary surface and put up 3 trees!

Someone told me I should enjoy the memories we make of us decorating the tree. The only memory I would be making would be of me decorating the tree. My dear husband always put the live tree we would buy in the stand and get it set up, but then everything else was left to me. Sure our son would help hang the ornaments, but after hanging a handful he was ready to move on to something else. Leaving just me hanging ornaments and putting out decorations for hours. It’s just not something I enjoy.

It also felt like we had some sort of Christmas party to go to every week. Sometimes more than one. Trying to manage those as well as coordinate family gatherings stressed me out. Granted I know this is not caused by anyone or anything other than my own quirkiness.

I love buying gifts for everyone. I love coming up with something I can make our two nieces each year. I love seeing our son open his gifts and stack them in his neat little pile (he’s like his daddy) after he opens them. I enjoy spending time with our families and celebrating our nieces birthday on December 23rd when we have Christmas with my husband’s family. I have a photo of our niece sitting with her birthday cake each year for the past six or seven years. It’s one of my favorite memories each year.

And of course I want to focus on the true meaning of Christmas and the significance it holds in my faith.

But the decorating and running from this to that adds nothing to Christmas for me.

So last year I decided to simplify. I had a small three foot artificial tree in college that we still have. We sat it up on a small table in front of the window and put lights on it and a star on the top. We hung the stockings on the mantle and pulled all of Squirt’s nutcrackers out and put them on the hearth like we always do. We love his nutcrackers and there is a special story as to why he collects them now. They make me smile each time I pass or look at our hearth during the holidays.

That was all the decorating we did. We scaled back on parties also. Other than our family gatherings, I went to one party and we went to one as a family. We also went to our Christmas Eve service at church.

I wasn’t overwhelmed with too much extra stuff sitting out around our home and we weren’t exhausted from being on the go the entire month.

And you know what? It was perfect. I enjoyed Christmas.

Do you find yourself becoming distressed during the holidays due to the overwhelming amount of stuff or activities?

And just for a laugh I saw this on Facebook a few days ago and it pretty much sums up how I feel about all this Christmas before Thanksgiving.

Life: Unmasked

  • Hazel I. Moon - November 8, 2011 - 11:06 am

    I have a problem with decorating too. My children usually do it for me at Thanksgiving – – at least they put up the tree. Gifts now I have a big problem selecting gifts. Sizes, desire and so on, so I often just give a cash gift or a gift card.ReplyCancel

  • Whitney Hamm - November 8, 2011 - 4:19 pm

    I’m with you. I think I want to simplify this year too. We won’t even be here for the whole week of Christmas, so why put up a million decorations for no one to see but Ben and I. I imagine Prince and Chip won’t mind. Once I start pulling things out I do enjoy the ornaments we collected over our lifetime from mom and some of the decorations I have like my little red ceramic house that mom made that use to be hers. My biggest pet peeve is anything Christmas before Thanksgiving. The stores had their Christmas stuff out before Halloween this year. Ugh!!!ReplyCancel

  • Mom - November 8, 2011 - 5:33 pm

    I’m afraid you take after your Mother. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.

    As long as you all have fun and always remember what Christmas is about is all that matters.

    We love you!
    Mom and DadReplyCancel

  • May - November 9, 2011 - 11:40 am

    It took me a long time to realize the best Christmas seasons have no script. Some years time and energy allow me to go all out. Some years I need to scale back. It is like a crash course in learning to ignore the “shoulds”!ReplyCancel

  • floyd - November 10, 2011 - 11:52 am

    I’m somewhat of a Scrooge all year, but at Christmas time I do my duty. I didn’t use to. There were years that I refused to hang lights, using the logic that I’d just have to take them down in a month. I groaned about hauling in the tree. I don’t do that anymore. The years I get with my kids I cherish. The big girls don’t have boyfriends and to be honest I really enjoy that part. I know it won’t last long.

    I’m with you, I don’t care about the busy and commercial stuff, it’s all about God and family…ReplyCancel