More so in the past decade, than ever before. Why? Because I choose to celebrate it simply. Most of the time I celebrate it quietly at home. I even wrote a blog about Christmas For One five years ago that remains relevant today. Sometimes I do visit friends or go out of town, but mostly I stick close to home and enjoy the life I've built for myself. It's a simple life and I have simple tastes. In general, I'm a pretty low maintenance gal and I like my Christmases that way.
There was a time when Christmas meant a lot of hassle, trips to the mall, days of cooking, spending more than I should, and running around until I slumped onto the sofa in exhaustion. It was a time of year I didn't look forward to at all, knowing that by New Years I'd be an empty shell emotionally and physically. When I was a kid, Christmas was the time of year when family fights and hurt feelings increased. Usually because of the built-up stress and extra work.
Simplifying Christmas brought back the joy of Christmas.
Although originally a religious holiday, for me, Christmas is a time of remembering my loved ones, giving thanks for my life, and the people in it, and for celebrating good cheer towards others. Something we should do every day, but Christmas seems to bring it out more.
But back to my simplification process:
I don't start celebrating until December. This is a major part of simplification. This doesn't mean I don't buy gifts along the way when I find something fun and on sale, but I do not buy into Christmas beginning in October (or even earlier) and there are no decorations or music or holiday movies or shows in my home until December 1st. Christmas Creep doesn't exist in my life and I despise it in stores and commercials.
No crazy shopping. Come on, folks, this has really gotten out of hand with Black Friday and people camping out in front of stores! I buy few gifts now. Years ago my family decided (wisely) to pick names for the adults and we each buy for all the kids (of which there are only 4). I also buy for my couple of BFFs, but those are also simple, heartfelt gifts. There is no last minute shopping and buying something just to have something to give. And I stick within my set budget.
I no longer send out Christmas cards. This started when a couple of years in a row I was on book deadline and got all frustrated and upset because I didn't have time to both write and do cards. At that time, my Christmas card list topped 150. After two years of not sending them out, I stopped and never looked back. I've noticed that fewer people are sending cards now. Even at the office, we're getting fewer cards and gifts from clients and vendors.
To party or not to party. I usually get invited to 4-6 holiday parties a year. That's a lot crammed into just a few weeks, and there is no way I can attend them all. This year, for various reasons, I only attended one, my law firm's party. Most years, I manage to make three. I enjoy parties, but again, not when they are going to either stress me out or help me spread germs instead of holiday cheer. I also attend one Christmas program, play, or musical event. This year, I skipped that altogether because my calendar didn't allow it.
Decorations are simple. I used to decorate my home extensively. Now it's a few decorations, a wreath, table cloth, some candles, and a floral arrangement or two to make it feel homey. Again, this started, like the cards, when I had to choose between decorations or hitting a writing deadline. Now I prefer the simplicity.
I know simplification is not for everyone, but it works for me.
Christmas should be a time of peace and remembrance, of celebrating family and friends, not a time for fighting for parking spaces, running up credit card debt, and breaking-point stress.
Christmas is about peace on earth and good will toward mankind.
And there is nothing Bah Humbug about that.
Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas
filled with love, peace, and happiness.
|Pablo Picasso's Dove With Flowers|