Saturday, December 14, 2013

What Not to Do This Christmas

Lately I've been seeing all kinds of cute Christmas bucket lists floating around out there.  You know, the ones that list all the things you should do this Christmas season like drive around to look at lights, make sugar cookies, go caroling, etc.  They are fun ideas.  And most of them come in convenient printable format so you can print them out and hang them on your fridge and remember, all season long, just how much you meant to do but haven't been able to squeeze into your schedule between the school Christmas concert, work Christmas party, shopping, decorating, wrapping, and otherwise going crazy.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with these lists.  I may have even pinned a couple of them on Pinterest.  I love the idea of setting goals about what you want to do this Christmas to remind you to savor the season, but I've also seen more than a couple of people sharing "Do Less This Christmas" articles via social media and I have a sneaky feeling that some of us are tired of feeling like we need to do more things that just don't really matter in an already crazy busy time of year.  So, friends, I'm here to help.  Just in case you need someone to give you permission to do less, I'm giving you permission to cut out some of the busy-ness this year.  Instead of a Christmas "To Do" list, I have put together a Christmas "Don't List" of some of the things you just don't really need to worry about in the remaining eleven days till Christmas.

*As a disclaimer, I haven nothing against any of these activities individually.  If you have a long standing tradition of doing anything on this list, please don't drop it on my account (unless you really want to).  I'm just giving you a list of things you could potentially edit out of the Christmas hustle and bustle.  And I'm offering it in convenient printable format so you can hang it on your fridge and be grateful for all the things you don't have to do.

Printable Version

1. Don't Make Sugar Cookies:  Seriously, is there anyone that sits back after Christmas is over and thinks, "I really wish I had eaten more sugar this year?"  You'll probably get more sweets than you know what to do with as neighbor gifts, anyway, so why make more yourself?  This is especially one to cut if you are already building a gingerbread house.  Both are sugary, messy, time consuming activities, so why do both?  Make a gingerbread house (if you want to) and save the decorating sugar cookies for Valentine's.

2. Don't Make Reindeer Food:  I'm not sure when Santa's reindeer started needing magical oats mixed with glitter sprinkled on the lawn to eat, but you can skip this one.  Last night my kids and I visited Santa and he asked us to leave a carrot or apple to feed to his reindeer.  That's all.  And if the Big Man says that's enough, that's good enough for me.

3. Don't Go Caroling to Your Neighbors:  I love singing.  I also love Christmas carols.  I am generally a pretty cheesy, sappy person.  But even I feel awkward when a group of carolers comes to my house and stands on my doorstep singing to me.  I'm always unsure what I'm supposed to do.  Sing along?  Invite them in for cocoa?  Pay them?  So instead I stand there in the doorway freezing while they sing to me.  If you really want to go caroling, skip the neighbors and go to a care or assisted living center instead.  I know from experience it's hard to find a more appreciative, sweet, lonely audience.  And you can be inside while you sing. 

4. Don't Go Ice Skating:  The same goes for sledding, making snow angels, having a snowball fight, or any other snowy, wintry activity.  If you want to go or your kids have been begging you to do one of these with them, go for it.  But don't try to squeeze it in just because you think you need it to have a merry Christmas.  Remember January and February?  Those horribly dull, depressing wintry months?  These activities were created to help us get through them.  Pull them out next month when you need a pick-me-up.

5. Don't Stress About Gift Wrapping:  I know presents can be beautiful all color coordinated and tied in pretty bows, but like it is with books and people, it's what's on the inside that counts.  Will your presents still look presentable under the tree if they're wrapped in basic wrapping paper with nary a bow in sight?  Absolutely.

6. Don't Make a Popcorn or Cranberry Garland for the Tree:  Do you really want to end the night with popcorn bits all over the floor and sore fingers? 

Alright, I'll stop now lest I sound even more Grinch-like than I already do.  I really do love Christmas and all the Christmas activities you can do this time of the year, just don't go so overboard that you stress yourself out, okay?  If you find yourself getting so caught up in doing stuff that you find yourself snapping at your kids or fighting with your spouse, do this: drop everything and go snuggle and read a Christmas book or watch a Christmas movie, and remember that all it took to make the first Christmas meaningful, holy, and the most wonderful event the world had ever experienced, was a very important baby who came to a simple stable.

Wishing you joy, peace, and love this Christmas!