Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Christmas Grace & Resolution

Well, December has come and gone and I’m still catching my breath. I came to the realization this year that I put a lot of pressure on myself, especially around the holidays, and so want everything – the house, décor, food, Lil O’s first Christmas, party apparel, and so on – to be perfect. Clearly that’s not possible and I struggled all month to let things go and have grace with myself. Sometimes I did well, other times not so much. It was a narrow miss, but I did manage to avoid the dreaded “mom meltdown” that one friend confessed has become an annual Christmas tradition in her home. Sadly, I avoided the meltdown by not doing a lot of traditional things such as going out to see lights, taking an official family Christmas photo or sending out Christmas cards. Sigh, maybe next year.

To prove we still had a wonderful holiday, though, I’m peppering this post with images of our family’s Christmas joy from this past December. Think of it as your belated Christmas card. ;)


And, to help streamline the holiday season next year, especially all that comes with Christmas, below are some ideas I’ve heard from others and hope to implement, plus a few that worked well this year. Since it’s now January, I’m thinking of this as a sort of resolution and way to make next December less hectic and more enjoyable.

Early Brainstorming and Listing: An area where I fell behind this year was pulling together or even brainstorming wish lists and gift giving ideas early. I was down to the wire trying to think of a gift for Husby and my old-fashioned email wish list nearly caused a miscommunication among different family branches leading to the dreaded double gift. Next year all wish lists will be shared via Amazon, where I can post content from all over the web and it’s treated like a registry, making it near-impossible for family to unknowingly purchase the same toy for Lil’ O. Though, double toys, just mean a bigger stash at G’ma and G’dad’s place.

Online Shopping: Nearly all of our shopping is done online. It’s so much easier to browse and find good deals from my home without the headache of mall parking and traffic. Plus, free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime is simply amazing. Even last-minute gifts easily come in time and that quick shipping is free. Glorious.

The Rule of Three (Gifts): Jesus received all of three gifts, not a heaping pile of toys under the Christmas tree. To help keep Christmas gifting in check and teach the Christmas story, a family at our church gives their kiddos one gift from Santa – whatever they ask for while on Santa’s lap – and an additional three gifts from them, representing the three gifts Jesus received from the wise men. I love the idea that this can help kids (and parents) reflect on the Christmas story and keep us as parents from going overboard. We stayed in check this year since we knew Lil’ O wouldn’t know the difference and would be overwhelmed by it all, but I’ll be coming back to this one next year.

Wardrobe Refresh: Instead of rushing out to the chaotic mall to get new clothes for holiday parties, I really tried this year to refresh what’s already in my closet with new accessories. Especially since a fun new accessory can much more easily be purchased online (no dressing room needed!), this saved a lot of time and headache. This strategy worked especially well this year as I’m rediscovering my pre-maternity wardrobe. Hopefully avoiding last-minute party apparel shopping can become a new tradition.

Christmas Cards: We’re now into January and resolutions that we’ll hopefully keep. Next Christmas I resolve to get a family photo I’m proud of and send Christmas photo cards. And, if there’s no family photo, then a great shot of Lil’ O will do. Regardless, I’ve come to the realization that pictures are the way to go and what folks are most interested in receiving. In tandem with this resolution, I further aim to request addresses early, maybe mid-November, so when I finally sit down to address envelopes I’m not stumped and frustrated.

Do you have additional ideas or tips that help you streamline the hustle and bustle of the holidays? I’d love to hear them and learn! Please leave a comment and share.


  1. I love the rule of three gifts! Thanks for sharing that. Don't worry about not getting all of the "traditional" holiday stuff done - your family had a wonderful Christmas, and that's what matters most. :) Lil O is so cute - I love the pic of him with the big box!

    1. Thanks and yay! Glad you like the rule of three. Hope it works with your coming little one. :)

  2. Aww I wrote a big long comment this morning at 4am that never showed up. Next year I am definitely skipping wrapping and shipping all the gifts myself - online shopping with gift wrap here I come! We also skipped watching the LOTR trilogy, but that's probably not what you meant exactly? ;-)

    1. Sad! But, that does seem to happen with 4am comments/posts. We at one time dreamed of a marathon of the Harry Potter movies, but we kissed that pipe dream goodbye once we learned I was prego. Oh well. ;)

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks! My favorite part is the moose head and antlers at the feet. Buying clothes for Lil' O is so much fun!