For years I tried to do it all! About seven years ago I took stock of how much I was doing that really was beyond necessary. Each year since then I have whittled down my TO DO list. It's amazing how people actually didn't even notice that I wasn't doing some things anymore!!! I think I somehow was trying to prove something to myself rather than make things really great for everyone. Once I noticed I was doing that, I became a lot more realistic. I have been much calmer since my revelation seven years ago, and our Christmas is actually better for everyone now.
Instead of lots of gifts, we limit the amount we give one another and instead give to The Salvation Army, the City Mission, and gather things for Goodwill. Instead of doing all the baking myself I enlist everyone in the family, and we make it a Baking Party. We walk to the nursery to cut our tree and walk it back home. To decorate the house I empty out one or two bins a day of Christmas stuff from our crawlspace and decorate a little at a time over the course of a week. I EXPECT my family to help wrap presents instead of doing it all myself. Exercising regularly has given me more energy and more confidence. That confidence has given me the courage to ASK FOR HELP instead of being such a martyr.
I guess it took me a lot of years and a lot of unhappiness with how I was feeling about the holidays to revise my plan. I have not regretted my choices!
This year I decided to donate the money I would spend on cards and stamps and newsletter writing to The Red Cross.
I think that it just takes some thought about ways you can maximize the REAL meaning of the season. I had gotten too caught up in the COMMERCIAL side of the holiday!
Happy Christmas to everyone!