Keeping our holiday cheer

I talked about some of my December goals recently and my desire to keep my focus on the fun of Christmas and not the chaos and commercialism.

And a week into December, it’s going well. This is the most Christmas-centric I’ve been since I was in high school and I am loving it.  Time with my boys at night reading the Christmas story or the Night Before Christmas.  Playing with their kid nativity set.  Doing crafts and projects together – we’ve decorated gingerbread houses and painted ornaments.

I have big plans for some hot cocoa with my favorite crazies this week and I can’t wait.

Here are a few of the things I’ve been doing to keep my Christmas spirit:

1. Planning in advance.  I don’t want to get stuck with the last minute crowds that fill the stores the week before Christmas.  I’ve been careful about getting my shopping done early and sticking to my list without a lot of my usual “extra splurges”. It helped that I knocked out about 50% of our Christmas list in a few hours already and keeping a really tight budget on gifts means there is less to buy – YAYYY!

2. Thinking like a kid.  Sometimes it’s easy to focus on creating some new Christmas décor or making sure my color scheme is great, but this year, I’ve tried to just think like a kid.  They don’t care about much except for the experience they are in at that moment, so we’ve been living in the now.  It doesn’t matter that the silver balls I bought don’t match the other silver ornaments I have.  I’ve played more impromptu games (hello 3 rounds of the Matching Game in a row!!) in December than I have in the past 6 months!

3. Remembering that a Christmas activity can be a small thing.  Sometimes with my go-big or go-home personality, I can get sidetracked into making everything a big thing.  Many of our Christmas activities require short 20 minute windows.  Taking a detour on the way home so the kids can check out Christmas lights in a nearby neighborhood.  Reading the story of Mary and Joseph in their kids bible. Taking some time in the morning to find “Pea” (their EOTS) and say ‘good morning’.  Impromptu dance parties to some YouTube Christmas channels.  Not everything needs to be a 2 hour affair and while we do have some of those projects on our December calendar, we’ve spread them out.

4. Enjoy it!  Yes, painting our star ornaments was messy and took some time to clean up, but the kids LOVED that activity.  Seeing my tree with 60 ornaments clumped in one section brought a huge smile to my face.  (It’s not every day you see one tree branch with 16 silver icicles on it!) We only have a few weeks of this holiday fun each year and I know that in the scope of things we really only have a few years of this Christmas magic before my kids are more Grinch than Buddy the Elf when it comes to their holiday excitement.

I am loving this time with my boys and the excitement that sparkles in their eyes each time we spread some holiday cheer!

How do you keep the holiday magic alive without overwhelming yourself this time of year?

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