A Simplified—Not Skipped—Christmas

  • A Simplified—Not Skipped—Christmas
A Simplified—Not Skipped—Christmas

Every year my husband and I have the same conversation revolving around Christmas. His job keeps him away over the holiday and I want him to come home. He says the money’s too good and he doesn’t like holidays anyway. I pout a bit but the discussion ends.

Because when I stop and think about it, I’m not so keen on holidays either. For me the Christmas season is sapped of joy. Instead of singing carols and celebrating beneath a warm hearth my experience is more frantic. Each year I race around attempting to appear at every holiday function in order to fulfil my perceived obligations. I go from store to house and back again. On dark icy roads. Alone. And I’ve had enough. I long for a simple Christmas. I crave a minimalist Christmas.

This year I’ve found my thoughts drifting to the true meaning of Christmas and what it has become for me. When did I buy in to the tradition, consumerism, and stress of the season? When did I take on this secular viewpoint and forget to make celebrating Christ the reason I even bothered with it at all? And when did everything become so complicated?

Christmas should be simple but there’s such a hype about it I’m exhausted before December hits. This year I want to avoid being stuck in a loop of stress and a bad attitude. I want to skip Christmas.

I pitched the idea to my husband who then suggested we get away—since it’s easier to skip a holiday when you’re out of cell range. After a bit of juggling we found a way to make it work and began planning.

As soon as we decided to skip Christmas the burden of the season lifted from my shoulders. While I know 99 per cent of this stress is self-induced, it still took physically leaving to get me to shake it. For this year at least I won’t be shopping, cooking, hosting, cleaning, visiting, or anything else I associate with Christmas.

The closer our trip gets the more I’m discovering it’s not Christmas I needed to escape but the cycle I seem to be caught in. I need to re-focus and I’m not sure how to do it in my current context.

Maybe this year will be a simple Christmas. I will have nothing else to think about but Christ and the real reason we celebrate. And then next year I can come into Christmas with a positive attitude, and an absence of self-focus. Maybe by then I’ll be back on track.

Are You Looking For Ways to Have a Simiplified Christmas?

Here are a few suggestions.

  • Take an afternoon you would otherwise be shopping and visit a hospital or care home
  • Speaking of shopping, what about avoiding those crowded malls and buying online?
  • Clean out your closet. Seriously! Chances are, you’ll find gifts you meant to give out last year at the bottom or the top
  • Get a silly Christmas sweater and inspire laughter wherever you go
  • Instead of purchasing decorations, look in your back yard for pine cones, branches, etc. to spruce your place up. I’ve had great success with gold spray paint, pine cones, and a little ribbon
  • Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or gift drive
  • Do you really need to send Christmas cards? What about an e-card instead?
  • If you go overboard on gifts try the four gift Christmas rule: Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read
  • Don’t spend money you don’t have
  • Quit trying to do everything. Say “no”
  • Plan your month out on a calendar so you don’t double-book
  • Focus on your faith and your family
  • Shift your focus from what you don’t have and instead on the real reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place