Because this year has taught me so many valuable aspects of a simplified life, I have decided to merge the Great Purge of 2016 into my Christmas celebration.
What once was a month filled with activities and the traditional set-up to the holidays, I have now prefaced with the following questions:
- How can I simplify Christmas?
- What gives me the most joy about Christmas?
- Why is a simpler Christmas important?
To simplify Christmas, I am making the following changes:
Although I love sending cards for various reasons throughout the year, the business of addressing and mailing almost 100 Christmas cards has become overkill. I am simplifying the process.
If you are one of my readers who regularly receives a Christmas card from me – be forewarned. Yes, I still think you are important and a valued person in my life. However, I’m setting a card boundary and you may be deleted from my list.
This year, I am saving time, money and energy. If you really need a greeting, here it is: Merry Christmas!
In the past, I have baked, stirred and frosted special treats for my neighbors, the postman, co-workers and anyone else in my life who did not receive a special store-bought gift.
I no longer need to make treats nor do I need to be tempted by the cookie dough in my large bowl or the smell of rising breads. My kitchen table will not be spread with powdered sugar treats we called People Puppy Chow.
I am relieved, because I usually eat at least half of them. This year I am protecting my heart, my brain and my arteries from excess powdered sugar.
Not even the traditional peppernut recipe will tempt me this year. I am setting a culinary boundary.
If you visit me and expect a Christmas treat, you may be served a rice cake with tuna fish salad on top. Try it! I promise it’s good.
As a Martha Stuart wannabe, my house often sported decorations in every room. When I lived in an old fixer-upper filled with antiques, my house became the neighborhood gathering place for the holidays: the smell of cranberry cider, red and white gingham bows tied to the kitchen cabinet hardware, various trees throughout the house and a gift bag for every visitor.
I still love walking through Pier One, Hallmark stores or Kirkland during this time of the year, but I don’t buy the stuff anymore.
Since the stager opened my eyes to a more simplified décor, I have decided to change my habits.
Compared to other years, the mantel looks sparse. My theme is pine cones which remind me of the New Mexico mountains. Simple yet beautiful – a display of God’s creation accented with little pearl lights.
Many of my decorations I sacked up to give away, and it felt good to share with others the beauty of my past.
My little tree still works with its tiny pre-lit globes. Once it begins to fail, I will throw it away and buy one of those tiny table Christmas trees. No need to vacuum fallen needles or wrestle with smashing the tree into the box on New Year’s Day.
A simpler Christmas helps me focus more on the meaning of the holiday rather than the trappings of it.
The joy of Christmas-giving still belongs with the young, so I will plan gifts for my son, my nephew and my nieces. The rest of us don’t need any more stuff.
The Christmas surprise of 2016 is the joy all this simplifying has brought me. More room in my storage shelves because there’s less stuff to store. More space in each room because each room contains less stuff. More things to give away and hopefully share joy with someone else.
The essential leftovers give me pleasure because I have made the choice to surround myself ONLY with the things that bring me joy. Everything else can be given away or thrown away.
And in the decision to simplify my Christmas, I believe joy will follow me into the new year.
A toast of eggnog to all my followers. Enjoy your version of Christmas and let me know in the comments how you’re celebrating.
©2016 RJ Thesman, Author of the Reverend G Trilogy http://amzn.to/1rXlCyh
I would call my decorating style: sparse. For the past few years we haven’t had a Christmas tree. It has been the hardest part of “sparse” for me. I may get a small table-top tree this year or settle for the branch of good-smelling pine once again. All depends on if I see an appropriate table-top version. Other than that, we only have a nativity and a Christmas wreath.
Simple yet beautiful! It probably makes a difference, too, for people who have grandchildren. I remember being enraptured with my grandparents’ tree – with those old bubble lights.
I, too, am simplifying. The Christmas cards too the form of e-mail greetings (half of which came back for lack of current address). I then sent the greeting on FaceBook. If you missed it, go to my FB page. Even the letter was a one-pager with five pictures. Gee! Just saved 5,000 words there! I still have a real tree and sweep needles. I canceled so many activities because of church play practice so I’ve attended very few Christmas gatherings. Today a critique group canceled because of the weather so I have stuff baked which will go to neighbors instead. Not as far down the road in that department, but I’m getting there–eventually. Merry Christmas to all. May His blessings follow you through the new year.
Thanks, Sally. And doesn’t it feel good to eliminate some of the activities we once thought were essential so we can really concentrate on the meaning of the season. Christmas blessings to you !