This morning you woke up again in reality. The company is gone. The dishes might be done but the rest of the house looks like more people than normal were taking up space that is not usually occupied. Leftovers fill the fridge as you bask simultaneously in the thought of not cooking this week and having to eat the same thing every day for a week. The big kids are back at school. The little kids are wanting snacks and treats as they’ve grown surpringly used to eating too much in only one weekend. Those who work are off to work.
And the haze sets in. It’s like a holiday hangover. So many things to do to clean up from the last holiday. So many things to do to prepare for the next one. December is always so full of meetings and get-togethers. Some silly people decide it’s a good time to move. You turn another year older and celebrate. You try to pin down in-laws and out-of-town relatives for travel plans. Christmas pageant practices begin. Stores are crowded. Kids get extra junk food. It’s a whirlwhind. And then all of the sudden, it’s over. Another year, another holiday season, gone in an instant.
As wives, each year, we go through an exercise in respect and submission at the holidays. Do you feel it? Do you sense that it’s extra difficult? Extra tense as you juggle everything?
And at the same time, I’d be willing to bet that what you want is a simpler, less stressful holiday, while maintaing tradition and seeing family, but also focusing on the true meaning of the season – that God sent His perfect baby boy to live among us, to love us, and then to be sacrificed for sins He had never committed, then to raise from the dead and welcome us into life with Him in heaven forever.
So today, the dare is simple: Let’s share and encourage each other. What do you do to keep the holidays simple? What do you do to not be stressed? How do you grow traditions in your own family, while respecting the families both you and your husband come from?
To make things simpler, I let go of those expectations I placed on myself. Things I “had” to do because my mom had or someone always did. I don’t have the need to look the best to others. I need only look my best to God and my hubby!
I am blessed to have married into a family that doesn’t exchange Christmas presents. We all gather together and have annual family game day instead. UNO, settlers, gingerbread house making, laughter, and priceless memories. Most of us have worked in industries that are impacted by the holidays. We got tired of the consumerism so we have kept clear of it. It’s amazing how less stressful Christmas is now. The kids don’t miss it either.
We do as much ahead as we can – from baking and meals to wrapping. Then for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we spend it as a family. The three of us. We don’t do much except treasure our time together. Meals are oven ready finger food. Desserts are easy to grab. The Christmas Eve tradition of building a couple of Lego sets for our son s a great time to spend time talking quietly, reflecting on the season and loving on each other.
Three Christmases ago we were not part of a family trip that took place over the holidays. It was the first time we’d ever had Christmas as just ‘us’. It was amazing. So low stress. So much fun. No rushing. No ‘When are you going to be getting here?’. Since then we’ve made those two days ours, Boxing Day (in Canada and the UK) is also a Holiday and we spend it with the in-laws and seeing friends.
Another tradition we have is Ukrainian Christmas (in January on the Orthodox Calendar) where we celebrate our culture, and food and some family time together.
Our trick has been to get done things by early December and to enjoy things together. If it is stressing someone out we look at why and what we can do to release the stress. It hasn’t been 100% popular with some family but it works for us so well, and we NEED it!
We love and respect his family, mine is a non-issue by their choice, and they love and respect us.
This year, we did not travel for Thanksgiving and will not be travelling for Christmas. The latter is dictated by the youngest child departing the day after Christmas for a marching band trip to the Outback Bowl parade and game in Florida. The first was a conscious choice. All of our family lives out of state – 9 hours in one direction, 17 in the other! We’ve traveled in both directions at different times and it always seems to create extra chaos.
The other “simpler” move was NOT to hold our annual Holiday Open House for hubby’s congregation. I love doing it but a holiday show being directed by yours truly has “busied up” the weekend’s significantly so no Open House this year!
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