Hope Keeps It Simple

Because this year has taught me more about a simplified life, I have decided to merge this premise into my holidays celebrations. What used to be a November and December filled with activities and the traditional holiday set-ups, I have now prefaced with the following questions:white-stocking

  • How can I simplify the holidays?
  • What gives me the most joy about Thanksgiving and Christmas?
  • Why is a simpler celebration important?

So, I am making the following changes:

Christmas Cards

Although I love to send greeting cards throughout the year, the business of addressing and mailing almost 100 Christmas cards has become overkill. I hereby simplify the process.

If you are a reader 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. A few people may receive a card, but even those will be rare. This year, I am saving time, money and energy.

If you really need a greeting, here it is: Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

Holiday Treats

In the past, I have baked and frosted special treats for my neighbors, the postman, people at work and anyone else in my life who did not receive a store-bought gift.

The temptation of cookie dough in my large pottery bowl and the smell of rising breads no longer attract me. This year, my kitchen table will not be spread with powdered sugar treats aka People Puppy Chow. My body will thank me, because I usually eat half of them. I vow to protect my heart, my brain and my arteries from excess powdered sugar. Not even the traditional peppernut recipe tempts me.

I am setting a culinary boundary.

Holiday Decorations

My house has often sported decorations in every room. Walking through Pier One, Hallmark stores or Kirkland during this time of the year gives me joy.

But since a stager opened my eyes to a more simplified décor, I have decided to change my habits.

Compared to other years, the mantel will seem 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 former decorations, I will give away. It feels good to share with someone else the beauty of my past. My little tree with its tiny pre-lit globes still works. When it fails, 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 have fun planning gifts for my son. The rest of us don’t need any more stuff.

The holiday surprise of 2017 has been the joy all this simplifying brings. More room on my storage shelves with less stuff to store. More space in each room. More things to give away and share with someone else.

When I surround myself ONLY with the things that bring me joy, the essential leftovers offer pleasure. And in the choice to simplify my holidays, joy follows into the new year.

A toast of eggnog to all my followers. Enjoy your version of the holidays and let me know in the comments how you will celebrate.

©2017 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved

If you’d like to share a Christmas gift with me, check out my Author Page on Amazon. The purchase of a book or a written review is always appreciated.

0 thoughts on “Hope Keeps It Simple”

  1. I too am keeping it simple. Just a nativity set and a table top tree with lights. Some greenery in a vase on the mantel. The rest I have given away or will be giving away. Only a couple cards this year, but not sending out any others. Most people seem to have stopped sending them anyway. I stopped making treats a couple years ago. I agree with you Rebecca, simple is better and on the true meaning of Christmas.

  2. Just a small comment on simplifying decorations: We have a Nativity Set collect of more than 50 sets. As I contemplated not putting out every single set, my husband was carrying up the boxes from the basement. Today my children and grandchildren will help put them out, I will be amazed at how varied the sets are and how different cultures see the Christ Child, and I will be glad that I didn’t simplify this part of Christmas. I will be glad that we purchased a new set this year.
    But, I bring this up, not only to laugh at myself and my “simplifying” attempt, but to acknowledge that we need to keep those traditions that are the most meaningful to us.
    This year’s new Nativity Set is from Kenya and carved in stone. We purchased it at the Mennonite Relief Sale in Enid. (Home of author, RJ Thesman.) The purchase price will help an artist in Kenya earn a sustainable income.

  3. I agree with you, Ginger. Some traditions must be kept, and I would love to see the Kenyan nativity. I remember when I brought one of my international students to see your nativities and how they blessed her.

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