Never do I feel more like a grown-up than at Christmas.
I mean, what would I give to feel even a taste of that uncontainable excitement I felt as a kid? You too?
Last year, after the holidays were over, when the wrapping paper strung around the living room had been cleaned up and our tree broken down and tucked back into its box, I sat down and wrote out what I wanted to do THIS year to help me recapture at least some of that beautiful childhood magic.
I hope these tips help all of us find a little more wonder (and considerably less stress!) this season—
A lot of our holiday to-do’s can’t be avoided. My goal this year is to have the shopping and wrapping and prepping essentially finished by the end of the first week of December.
Advanced preparation = more room for the good stuff. 🙂
Reframe How You Look at Your To-Do’s
Things that feel like have-to’s often end up bringing joy. For instance, buying a list of gifts may feel like a chore on the front end, but when you see the receiver’s eyes light up, you realize it wasn’t a chore at all.
Look at your to-do list and think about it a little more deeply.
Think about how blessed you are that you have the means (even if your budget feels tight) to give people you love something they’ll enjoy.
Think about how planning a meal for twenty means you have family and friends who love you and want to spend time in your home.
Think about how packing for a road trip to see your parents means you will get to be a daughter again… and that your children will get to feel their grandparents’ love.
Maybe our holiday to-do lists are really just a matter of perspective.
Simplify—To Eliminate Guilt
At the end of last year, I felt guilty about how haphazardly I’d carried out our advent calendar. But when I thought about it, I realized…
We made gingerbread and peppermint ice cream. We drove around looking at Christmas lights and visited the Oakland (LDS) temple. We drank wassail and read our Christmas storybooks under the tree.
Our traditions may not have corresponded neatly to the days I’d planned for them within our calendar, but we got them in.
Sometimes we just need to let go of the perfect picture we have in our heads.
How else can you simplify your holiday season? Expecting less of yourself will leave so much more room for reclaiming the magic this year.
Take Some Time to *REMEMBER*
What do you remember about your childhood Christmases?
I remember the heat of a small house filled with people. Cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters. My mom’s famous cheeseball. Grandma’s almond punch.
I remember opening one gift on Christmas Eve—the Christmas pjs we eagerly anticipated.
I remember the red glow of our outdoor Christmas lights. The big, chunky bulbs of previous decades—not the small, sparkling ones we see today.
I remember lying in the dark with my eyes wide open, talking with my sister about what Santa might bring us.
Just remembering helps me feel the warmth of the season.
Slow Down Enough to See It in Your Children’s Eyes
Last year we took photos by the tree right before we tucked the kids in on Christmas Eve. They were wiry and hyper and could not for the life of them stay still enough to get an un-blurry picture.
I was admittedly more focused on catching a decent shot and then sending them off to their rooms than I was focused on admiring and embracing their enthusiasm.
This year will be different.
Let’s pause in the middle of the merrymaking to really see it through our kids’ eyes. No one can teach us how to feel it like they can.
So, friends, what are YOU doing (or not doing) to reclaim some of the childlike wonder of the season?