This year I was craving a much simpler holiday. With all the changes in the past year I knew there was simply no way I could manage all the hustle and bustle of typical holiday preparations, especially with a newborn that prefers to be awake and held for the better part of the day. I didn't want to look back on our first Christmas as a family of 5 and remember being short tempered and too busy to play because of a self imposed list of demands. I knew something had to change this year, and it was up to me to make it happen. I drastically cut down the amount of decorations we unpacked, said no to a lot of event invitations, and cut my gifting list down by as much as possible hoping everyone would understand. And you know what? Everyone more than understood, and it has felt absolutely wonderful.
I must admit that while it has been wonderful, it has also felt quite strange, but in a very good way. I'll be perfectly honest and admit that neither myself or my husband were quite sure if I could manage to let so much go and really not allow myself to feel stress over the holidays. I think I surprised us both this year. Only a fraction of our holiday decorations were unpacked, and we haven't missed a single thing. There are no pictures of our beautiful Advent spiral being lit because after the first few days it honestly went forgotten most evenings. Many handmade gifts were abandoned in favor of a store-bought (and mostly online shopped) present that I'm sure will still be very loved. The goodies I had intended to bake and deliver to friends and neighbors never happened, and somehow that all seems okay this year. Perhaps we'll bake New Year's treats instead.
What did happen this year is singing Christmas carols while the girls decorated the tree placing their favorite ornaments all in front and leaving the back of the tree mostly bare. Reading our favorite Christmas stories by the light of the tree before bed in the evenings. Afternoons spent coloring, crafting, and simply being together as a family.
These faces here, this is what I want to remember from this holiday season. I want to look back and know that I spent much more time staring at these faces than I did worrying about some list of imaginary requirements. I am thankful for the things that did get completed and happy to let go of the things that didn't. In these last few days before the holidays we'll do some baking together and of course I'll work on a few more gifts if time allows, because those are things that bring us joy. And if nothing more is completed we'll be just as happy with that outcome as well.