I just can't even believe what a great week this has turned out to be! Being the week before Christmas I expected it to be crazy busy, full of stress and rushing to get everything done... I am not saying I haven't had my moments, but for the most part ; awesome.
To get to this reduced stress state I cut out somethings I would normally do...
*I did not MAKE any of our gifts (with the exception of quick blankets for the Ross kids as requested by their mama). I always have lofty ideas of making all these great things and end up working so hard the week before Christmas to complete everything... just ask Kenny- he has been known to cut, glue and clip quilts late at night, days before Christmas.
* We did LESS Decorating. Kenny and his friend Matt used to love to put up Christmas lights together, but since Matt moved out of state Kenny just doesn't have the same passion for it... I used to try to push for lights to be put up - I mean how can you not put up lights??? You know what? If you do or don't put up lights actually doesn't matter even in the slightest and if the people inside the home are more content without them than it is worth NOT putting them up. Also, we did less decorating inside the house... in years past I was pretty overboard with decorating the house and now have a huge tree and about 15 totes of decorations. I already mentioned about our tree here. This change brought me great joy and we have been enjoying the lovely scented tree for weeks now.
* I didn't SEND Christmas cards. Seems like a cardinal sin right? Actually with communication the way it is today you really don't HAVE to send out paper cards... Although this saved us a bundle of money and time I will add this back to my MUST DO list for next year. We have received lots of fun cards in the mail with letters and pictures of our friends and family. I SO enjoy getting these and wish I would have sent them out this year... note to self I will do this next year!
* I didn't give gifts to EVERYONE in our office. Every year since I started working at EMC (7 years ago) I have made a gift for almost everyone in the office. I have made those plastic canvas ornaments, towels, coasters, muffins, candies etc. Although, this is a tradition I love... it makes me a little crazy. There are over 70 people in our office....
* I didn't force my family to ATTEND every holiday event known to man and be out every night of the week... This is pretty self explanatory!
* I didn't try to BUY gifts for every person I know... I love to give gifts, but narrowing down the gift list really helped out this year!
Of course all these things helped, but more importantly the support of my loving, patient and kind husband is what helps the most... he shopped, wrapped, mailed etc all right beside me! We still did of fun activities and attended a few parties, but we gave ourselves the breathing room to ENJOY the season!
These things worked this year, but next year it might be different... my big problem is I always want to do EVERYTHING... which doesn't usually bring peace or joy... and I sometimes don't even enjoy all the activities because it is just too much. Finding a focus and deciding what is important is the best way to reduce your holiday stress!