I must say this is one of the most enjoyable Christmases I've had in years! Every year, I become stressed trying to get the cards done, and the tree put up, and the shopping finished, and the baking and candy making done, and all the other things we have associated with the Christmas season. I think the most stressful thing about it all is the time it takes to do all these things. By the time I'm through there doesn't seem to be nearly as much time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. So instead of doing most of those things this year I decided to take a break and Country Guy agreed. I didn't spend several days putting up a tree and decorating the house (and I won't have to spend several more taking down the tree and putting away all the decorations after Christmas) because we are not decorating--no tree even! I know that is shocking for many people. Some have even said, "How can you have Christmas without a tree?" To those I am tempted to reply, "How can you have Christmas without an emphasis on Christ?" I have longed for many years to have a simpler Christmas, so I guess this is an experiment--an attempt to figure out what are the necessities and to only do those.
I always enjoy doing our Christmas card, so I consider it one of the necessities. This year I had the perfect space of time at the end of November since the class I was teaching skipped a week of meetings, so I got our card done early. In addition to being an opportunity to wish friends and family a Merry Christmas, I consider it to be a type of journal for the year, adding photos and happenings. I have been doing this for 20 years or so. and therefore have a record of the highlights of each of the years in my files.
I also enjoy baking but it seems I eat way too much of the sweets I make, so this year worked out perfectly. I made over 400 cookies for Our Hometown Christmas last weekend which allowed me to enjoy the baking without eating so many! I usually make a couple of kinds of candy, too, but that will have to wait till next year.
Shopping is probably the most stressful thing for me. I would love to be a great shopper, but I'm not! I dislike shopping for myself or anyone else so you can imagine how difficult and time consuming it is for me to shop for 18 others!! My dream and intention is always to find the perfect gift for each family member but that never happens, so this year we will give them money. We do this every year, but I also try to find something special to wrap up. This year I had a different idea and have followed through with it. Hopefully, it will be meaningful. If not, at least, I didn't waste a lot of time walking around shops to find a great gift.
How are you doing Christmas this year? Are you someone--like my sisters--who love to shop and decorate? Or are you like me and are also longing for a simpler Christmas?
However you celebrate, I pray this season will be a joyful, meaningful celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ for you and your family.