A special thank you to Shutterfly for the beautiful Christmas cards featured in this post. As always all opinions are my own.
When did Christmas get so darn stressful? It wasn’t too long ago that the only responsibilities I had around Christmas time were singing carols about Jesus, kicking back in my mom’s car to gaze out the window at all the gorgeous lights, and opening a pile of gifts on Christmas. Life was simple. Now Christmas chaotically brings a smorgasbord of activities and obligations: from family pictures to last minute shopping and 5,427,981 parties to attend, I literally never stop moving (except when I’m sleeping… or do I?). The point is, we are all way too busy being busy. Coming up from the suffocating tinsel and wrapping paper for an occasional breath of air is a necessity! So here are a few ways I’m learning to simplify this crazy time of year.
- I have learned the power of “no.” In fact, why don’t we all practice this powerful word together. NO. N-O. Noooo. Doesn’t that feel liberating?! Take a look at that Christmas to do list. I know that there is something you can cross off that list permanently without too much of a fuss. Who really cares if you don’t create Pinterest-worthy, made-from-scratch, peppermint bark cookies in the shape of reindeer and elves. The round pre-cut doughy ones will do just fine (and personally, I think they taste better anyway). I’d rather spend my time somewhere outside of the kitchen. If you absolutely love baking, then find something else you dread and just say no!
- I am simplifying my gift-giving. Do you feel it… that pressure to plan, create, and spend hours piecing together the perfect, sentimental gifts, not for your children or other family members, but for teachers, bosses, and employees? As a parent of three children, teacher gifts have become so stressful. Here’s a little secret: you don’t have to make a complicated, whimsically witty present for those worn out teachers. Just give them a gift card to their favorite spa, restaurant, or store and call it a day. Let’s get real. What would you prefer: another handmade ornament or a day being pampered at the spa? And if your budget does not allow for the amount needed for a gift card, then find out what your teacher loves and go simple. She loves coffee? Get a bag of flavorful coffee beans and call it a day. Another way I’m simplifying gift-giving this year is creating Christmas cards online. Gone are the days of store bought packs of cards with Christmas trees or nativity scenes on the front. Taking the time to write a personalized greeting and sign each one might be special (I get that), but online photo cards are so much easier and way more fun to receive! This year I ordered my own cards from Shutterfly. It was hassle free and saved me from a hand cramp (holla!). I simply uploaded my pictures, entered a personalized greeting, made sure the shipping address and billing information were correct and placed my order. Easy peasy, and just days later, I received my gorgeous, high-quality cards. Shutterfly even has other personalized gifts such as coffee mugs, calendars, ornaments, and more. Yay!
- Pray more while you do less. It’s so easy to forget why Christmas is celebrated in the first place. I have been guilty of getting so consumed with holiday festivities that I forget to spend time with God. Yep. The preacher’s wife even admits to this. I recently have had to purposefully make myself stop running for a few minutes just to spend time praying… and you know what, it makes such a difference. I can literally feel my tense muscles loosen up, and suddenly I am much more patient with my children and not as worried about my to do list. It’s a miracle (quite literally)! Overall, if you want to de-stress and more readily enjoy the season, then keep the meaning of Christmas at the forefront of your mind. That makes all the difference!