I made a promise to myself to keep it simple this holiday season. I honestly have had to keep saying this mantra quietly to myself for the past month. I, and all of us, have a tendency to think we can do it all. I’ve also been trying to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Being thankful and giving, spending quality time with our families and friends, giving to those in need, creating memories that put awe and a twinkle in our little one’s eyes, making time to kiss under the mistletoe.
For me, its balancing working all the way up to Christmas, decorating the house, doing the majority of the shopping for the kids and our multiple holiday meals, hosting Christmas and making everything from scratch.
So, this year I’ve decided I am cutting a few things out. All in an effort to have more quality time with my family, rather than feeling completely overwhelmed. This year, I’m buying, and not baking pies. I usually bake my pies a week or two before Christmas and then freeze them. Instead, I did absolutely nothing this past Sunday – just hung with the family and layed around the house. It was glorious and not a pie was made. I was able to support a small black-owned bakery in Altadena called Dutch Oven Bakery. They don’t have a website, but just call to see what they have and call to place your order during the busy holiday season.
This year, we’re not going to make it to formally sit on Santa Claus’ lap at the mall (we usually go see Black Santa). Both Ellington and Sienna kicked and fought not to sit on two Santa Claus’ laps already this month – first at the Christmas tree lot and then when Santa and his sleigh drove down our street. I have a feeling they won’t ‘miss this activity that, to me, seems so fun! So, let this be something we cut out this year.
This year, I also decided to cut down our Christmas menu. I suppose we don’t need three main dishes, 6 side dishes, 10 appetizers and 3 desserts. I’m also allowing my mom and sister to help rather than doing the majority of the heavy lifting myself. Mom is helping with the prime rib and my sister Jackie is making truffle macaroni and cheese.
The item I felt the most guilty about cutting out, but had to do it for my own sanity, is mailing out Christmas cards. I also had to come to terms with the fact that, in the grand scheme of things, this is not that important. It’s certainly not the reason for the season so it shouldn’t be a source of stress. We usually cobble together photos of the kids from the year and use them for our Christmas cards, but this year I had the grand idea (NOT!) of waiting until Evan got here from New Jersey for his Christmas break to take photos of the kids for the card. It then became difficult to get the kids on the same time schedule, in between Christmas prep, so I just gave up. I told Lateef that I was resigned to not sending out cards this year, but if he wanted to do it, he could organize the kids for photos. He finally did it on Christmas eve. So, this year, if we find the time to finish them, we are going to email out New Years cards (email, I know, so informal). Whatever I need for my sanity!
I’m feeling good I’m feeling great. So much less stress, less being crazy about all the elaborate planning. Going with the flow this year and not stressing, even if its not all picture perfect. Focusing on family and friends and ME!