Simple Christmas Magic – For Moms
There’s so much focus in the world and across the Pinternet on making Christmas magical for kids, but I know Christmas can be magical for us moms too. We can feel peace and joy at Christmas. There is no age limit to happy, simple Christmas magic. It just takes a little planning.
I’ll admit it. I’ve got the itch. It’s only mid-November and I am physically restraining myself from busting into full DEFCON 5 Buddy the Elf mode. I need a little Christmas. Right this very minute! And yet I show restraint. A little Bing Crosby here. A sip of eggnog there. I’m holding on by a thread.
But before we rush headlong into the holiday, let’s take a few minutes to ensure it’s a month worth celebrating. Here are a few questions to ask ourselves in preparation for a magical Christmas.
What Do You Want Out of Your Magical Christmas?
Years from now when you look back at Christmas Season 2017, what do you want to remember? Do you want to attend every local Christmas event? Do you want to spend time reading Christmas books with your kids? How about the energy in your home? Do you want it to be rushed and stressed or peaceful and joyful?
Take the time now to close your eyes and picture a perfect Christmas with your available resources. What does that look like to you?
How Do You Want to Feel?
In my wise old age (nearing 40 y’all!) I’ve realized that I care more about how Christmas feels and less about how it looks or what activities and ornaments it’s full of. Each morning, make a decision about how you want to feel. Relaxed? Joyful? Peaceful? Loving? Write that word in big letters across your calendar or make it the lock screen on your phone.
Then think about what you have planned that day? Will those activities add to or take away from the feeling you seek? If they’ll take away from it, see if there’s a way to remove them from your life.
What is the “Why” Behind Your Traditions?
Why do you celebrate the way do you? Make a list of all the traditions you use to celebrate Christmas. How do they contribute to that perfect Christmas you visualized above? Do you need to do all of them or could you settle into the ones that mean the most?
For several years our family has gone to Snowflake Lane, a huge lights and music parade at a local mall. I have loved this tradition. The colors and sounds of Christmas surround you, and when the fake snow falls, it feels like pure magic. I always cry. However, the past few years have been different. The crowds have gotten insane and they’ve started to stage the show in a way that it’s REALLY hard to see what’s going on. You fight for a parking spot. You fight for a place to stand. Kids whine because it’s cold and wet and they can’t see. And then you go home, fighting traffic all the way.
Last year, as I went to schedule Snowflake Lane on the calendar, I thought, “Is this really adding to our Christmas?” I decided it wasn’t and we cut it out. I was surprised by how hard it was to stop doing this activity we DO EVERY YEAR! Because IT’S TRADITION! However, it ended up being such a relief to have the night in, watch a Christmas movie and cuddle by our own fire.
IT’S TRADITION isn’t necessarily a good enough reason to keep doing things that stress you out. Ask yourself, “Why?” and make some hard choices this year.
Simplify Christmas by Asking – Is This Essential?
If your schedule is already full, adding a major celebration and all its trappings can send you on a one-way train to Crazy Town. For the month of December, cut out anything non-essential from your calendar.
Rather than trying elaborate new dinner recipes, make a list of your 20 easiest meals, possibly including meals found in the frozen foods section of Costco.
Maybe don’t dust this month.
Do you need to visit the foot doctor in December? Probably not. Go see him in January when you’re not baking 200 gingerbread humans for the 2nd grade holiday party.
Are You Remembering Self-Care?
As busy as you are and as much as you want to remove non-essentials, you’ll fare better if you choose to maintain your self-care routines. Sure. Skip non-essentials. But, exercising and eating well should probably stay in the essentials column.
You know that list of basics that help you get through the day. Keep those. You’ll need your strength and mood up if you want to feel a little Christmas magic.
Could You Hygge a Bit More?
Last month I blogged about my current obsession with hygge. Of course you get hygge when you spend meaningful time with family, which is what the season is all about. But what could you add to your personal routine each day to add a little coziness?
Light a specific candle that smells like Christmas. Grab a cozy Christmas blanket each morning as you get out of bed. Wear a snuggly hat all month. Step up your hot chocolate game with a little Tickettyboo or Williams Sonoma drinking chocolate. Choose one or two things you can do daily to ground yourself and signal to your brain that something special is in the air.
What is One Thing You Can Do Just for You?
Christmas is about giving and loving and sharing. How about giving to and loving yourself. Choose one thing that will restore you and fill your need for creativity this month. Choose something fun, without a deadline, something just for you.
Read a Christmas novel. Dust off an instrument you used to play. Crochet something.
Are You Christmas Competing?
It’s embarrassing to admit, but sometimes I catch myself trying to win Christmas. I want to give the best neighbor gifts, the ones that will get reposted on Facebook. I want to find the most thoughtful gifts, not just to be thoughtful, but also so I can be the champion gift giver.
“Kathryn always gives the most perfect gifts!”
If you’re making choices about how to stage your Christmas card or decorate your house or bake your goodies based on competing with others, stop it! You don’t have to make the best treats unless making great treats is something that brings you joy, regardless of what anyone else is doing.
Don’t compete. Celebrate. Don’t try to win. Just love.
Are You Giving or Just Gifting?
When it comes down to it, Christmas can be full of noise. But when you get to the bottom of it, Christmas is about the world’s most wonderful gift, someone who gave of himself freely. Whether you’re a believer or not, He’s a great example. He spent time with people. He loved them. Jesus lived and he loved and he gave constantly, even though he had almost no worldly possessions.
The best way to make Christmas magical is to put more effort into truly giving and less effort into gifting. For me, this means making treats with my 8-year-old rather than making treats that look amazingly perfect. It means spending time with my family, rather than at the mall or online finding gifts to shower them with. Maybe I can spend an afternoon having a loving conversation with a neighbor, rather than spending that time making elaborate trays of cookies for all of them.
Whatever you do this Christmas, do it on purpose! You can’t create Christmas magic but you can plan an environment where it’s possible that it will find you. Good luck!
For more ways to bring the true meaning of Christmas back into the season, try some of these great ideas:
A Sweet Christmas Tradition: Building Baby Jesus a Manger of Kindness
25 Days of Christ – A New Christmas Tradition
Ideas to Simplify Christmas – It’s Never Too Late
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