When In Doubt, Lower Your Expectations

It seems like EVERYONE is talking about scaling back their holiday celebrations this year.  Everywhere I go — blogs, Christmas parties, church, school, people are talking about buying fewer gifts and doing less decorating.  I don’t know if it’s the economy or if we’re all sick of the demands of the holidays and wanted a year off or a combination of both, but everywhere I look the sentiment is the same.  Enough is enough!  And I’m putting my foot down with the best of them.

Even so, I’ve found myself on certain days woefully overwhelmed.  I know why I’m busier this year than I’ve been in years past.  This is the first year I’ve really been working.  I still don’t consider myself a “working mom,” but with a booming design business, countless reviews to write, and 3 blogs to run, I think I work as much as any work-at-home mom possibly could.  Add to that 3 kids in school and all of the paperwork and school parties and performances to balance, a daughter with a Christmas birthday, extra church functions that come with the holidays, and then of course all the holiday parties, and I just want to crawl in bed and sleep until January 2.

But I’m not sure that would go over too well.

So instead, I decided to scale back this year.  And scale back I did.  For one thing, I decided not to have my annual Christmas ladies brunch.  I’m throwing my daughter a birthday party this year, and while two years ago I was actually delirious enough to plan my brunch and her party two days in a row, this year I decided that I’d need a straight jacket if I attempted such a feat again so I just ditched the brunch.  Sorry, ladies.  I love you all and miss you, but something’s gotta give!

We also cut back on our decorating.  I have probably 30 Department 56 Christmas village houses in my attic, and I didn’t bring a single one down this year.  NOT A ONE.  I do rather miss them, but I’m confident that I made a wise decision seeing that we won’t even be spending Christmas here this year.  We also downsized from 2 trees to 1, albeit 1 GIANT tree, but 1 just the same.  I didn’t put nearly the amount of lights outside that I normally do (and some that I did put out aren’t lit because we haven’t gotten around to finding an extension cord.  Pathetic much?  I KNOW.

Besides that, I have only made one batch of my world famous peanut butter balls, rather than the eleventy-five batches that I usually make.  Only my grandfather and the bus driver got homemade peanut butter balls this year.  I smartened up and bought a bunch of those Christmas ornaments filled with Lindt chocolates to give as teacher gifts, and just when I ran out of those, I received in the mail a box of THE most adorable little Snowman Tube Hot Chocolate Mixes that I plan to use for the rest of the teachers/service workers on my list.  They are so cute that I might just order a case of them next year and forgo the homemade treats altogether.

I already posted about how we were more intentional about planning our Christmas shopping this year so our kids won’t end up with more toys than they even care to open on Christmas morning.  And I did almost all of my Christmas shopping online.  Although I love going to the mall at Christmastime, I hate the pressure of shopping with a purpose.  Takes all the fun out of it.

And then there are my poor, pathetic Christmas cards.  Usually I have my cards addressed and stamped by November 1.  I know, it’s a sickness.  This year I put them off until it was too late to order them from anywhere, so I just printed out some Christmas letters with a few pictures of my family (with my Epson Artisan 800 of course!)  I put the last few in the mail today.  Nothing like waiting to the last minute.  But they ARE done and out the door, I am happy to say!

So that’s how I’ve scaled down my holiday preparations this year to keep from being completely overwhelmed.  I’d love to hear how YOU are adapting this year!