Chill out, it’s Christmastime!

We’re keeping a low profile this holiday season. We planned on it ahead of time, knowing that we were due with our little turkey right around Thanksgiving. But add in multiple extra doctor’s visits for me and baby and unexpected hospital stays for me, and let’s just say, we are all exhausted! I do believe we are on the mend now, but although I’m feeling better, we’ve decided to slow down even more for Christmas than we had originally planned.

On a recent drive back from the hospital (it’s 2 hours each way so we’ve been in the car a lot!), I went through each calendar event on my phone for December, talked with my husband about them all, and deleted most of them. We picked the ones that would be the most meaningful for us, would be easy to navigate with the two littles and my post-surgery limitations, and ones we genuinely look forward to! Shocker, but you don’t have to say yes to those things that you don’t. In fact, it’s way more fun and easier to prioritize the stuff that does matter if it’s not surrounded by a bunch of things that don’t!

One of the “big” things we kept in our schedule was a trip to a local reindeer farm. We have been before and really enjoyed it. It’s small, easily walkable, uncluttered with people due to the required reservations this year, and we get to do all the fun stuff with our little guys! You can pet and feed reindeer, eat Christmas cookies and drink hot cocoa, and of course have a chat with Santa! We figured this would be our “one big trip” this year since we could do all of that in one spot.

We also chose to prioritize Christmas gatherings at each of our parent’s homes, which for us means three calendar events in different locations. But, I was able to connect with everyone early enough to prioritize their events on the calendar, and luckily it all on ended up being on different days and is doable without too much stress/crazy travel requirements! Whew!

Other things my family has chosen to prioritize this year…

  • Putting up some of our decorations, both inside and out. (Emphasis on some).
  • Christmas Eve Church Service at our church (no longer doing multiple services for everyone else)
  • Getting and decorating a small and reasonably-priced real tree locally. (Emphasis on local and reasonable- in the past I’ve forced the family to drive hours for the perfect tree-getting experience, which honestly turned out to be horrible and stressful).
  • Eating lots of Christmas cookies, candy canes, and drinking hot cocoa! (Note that I didn’t say “making” lots of cookies. We don’t have the space or energy for all that this year. And that’s ok! We’ll make some at Grandma’s, but we don’t have to make my entire Pinterest board of recipes. Also, the hot cocoa is a bulk box of good old Swiss Miss, not the fancy cocoa bombs I insisted on getting and spending way too much money on last year. Guess what? Nobody cares.)
  • Watching Christmas movies. At home.
  • Reading Christmas books. At home.
  • Christmas family photos and cards. Yep, I’ll still send out personalized cards, but not as many, not as fancy, and will be ordering them from somewhere I can pickup locally same-day this year. Also, we will do a mini photo session in a studio this year, which is way more affordable and less of a time commitment!
  • Christmas pajamas for a cozy, relaxed Christmas morning at home! The boys got new matching sets, and the rest of us will wear whatever’s comfy for us. (I used to stress out and drive to multiple stores to get everyone matching outfits for Christmas morning. Guess who appreciated that? Yep. Just me.)
  • Gifts. We are doing gifts for our immediate family, and some for our extended families, but we are bringing it down soooo many notches. (We used to spend a small fortune on Christmas! It’s just not necessary to buy expensive gifts to show our love. I’m realizing more and more lately how much the thought really does count! Some of my most appreciated gifts we received recently were homemade meals and snacks, and simply being thought of as we arrived home!)

Things we said no to this year…

  • Parades & Tree lightings (We used to travel to multiple events like this in every surrounding city)
  • Train trip to the city for shopping and various holiday festivities
  • Hosting Christmas brunch for my mom and siblings (I did enjoy this, and might resume another year, but it just isn’t feasible this time)
  • Friend’s parties (this one was a little harder to say no to, but we want to keep our brand new baby away from people and germs as much as possible)
  • Cooking – I’ll be bringing the same simple holiday dishes to each of our family’s gatherings. (Not trying new recipes. Not doing anything fancy.)
  • Making things (I just don’t love being crafty, so I’m not going to keep trying)
  • Baking all the things (I’ll do this again someday)
  • Gifts for everyone we know (I haven’t even finished shopping for my kids as I type this)

What is your Christmastime shaping up to be this year?! Are you keeping it simple? Are you doing all the things? I’m curious to know what changes you’ve made over the years to make things more enjoyable and less stressful!

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