Today’s post is by Tricia of Raising Humans. Tricia shares ideas for simple, sane, and satisfying celebrations throughout the year – ways to acknowledge milestones and recognize accomplishments without going overboard. You can check out her other posts here.
Do you feel it? The chill in the air. The sugar-induced spirit of holiday celebration? The overwhelming temptation to buy brown sugar and glitter by the boatloads?
Halloween and Thanksgiving are over and so the winter holiday season is officially upon us. From here, straight on through to the end of the year, life seems to become a blur of celebrations with one holiday/party/fete after another. This season, more than any other during the year, is when celebrations seem to take on a life of their own and all simple and sane plans fly right out the window.
But even during the holidays, simple celebrating is possible. And a little bit can go a long way, even (I say especially) during this time of year.
Here are a few things to keep in mind this holiday season to keep your celebrating simple and sane.
Start small. But prepare for growth.
Ever notice how holiday plans tend to grow over the course of the season? Sort of like a snowball rolling down a hill, picking up speed and girth as it barrels towards your comfortable routines and expectations. Ok, that’s a little dramatic. But every year I set up a holiday schedule that feels rather comfortable—plans relatively spaced out, ideas for activities and celebrations that seem easily attainable—but before I know it the entire season is bulging at the seams. The invites for parties and get togethers start arriving, I start to panic that the gifts I had planned to buy just aren’t enough, or I happen upon a great holiday idea on a friend’s blog and suddenly I’m cramming in extra trips to the craft store and staying up into the wee hours, learning how to make paper snowflakes. Some of this can be helped (and we’ll talk about that too) but sometimes we just want to get swept away with the tinsel and lights and can’t remember how to say ‘No.’ And that’s ok too.
So start small. Don’t cram your calendar and wish list full of every party, event, and plan as the season starts. Leave a little breathing room, a little space for plans to grow. Make sure you have time to accept that last minute invitation for hot cocoa and holiday movies with friends. Even (especially!) during the holidays, the best moments are often the ones that happen simply and spontaneously.
Create a vision for what you want your holidays to be this year.
Before we get too far into December, take a few minutes to think through what you want out of the holidays this year for you and your family. Are there traditions that you’ve let lapse in the past that you really want to get back to? Is there a certain aspect of your history or culture that you want to focus on? What do you want to feel when you look back on this season of your family’s life? Jot down just a few notes about what your perfect holiday season would look like. And then make decisions based on that. Every invite, every outing, and every craft idea you come across on Pinterest and feel compelled to try should be evaluated based on your holiday vision. Not only will having such a vision in mind help you make these decisions, it will remind you that you have decisions to make. Not everything that comes your way during these months has to be a ‘Yes!’
Think back on your own childhood holidays.
Having trouble creating a vision for your holiday season? Go back to the holidays of your own childhood. What celebrations stand out for you? What traditions have a special place in your heart? What holiday memories and do you want to pass on to your kids? The world is a very different place today than it was when we were kids and that can make holiday planning so much more difficult. There is so much more available to us and other family’s holiday traditions are so much more more transparent, which leads to over-sharing and comparing. Every year, I find myself tempted to incorporate some complete strangers’ holiday traditions into my own family’s life. Sometimes these work but often, they fall flat, never quite achieving the picture I had set in my mind. But I’ve never gone wrong when I reach back and incorporate the things that mean something to me.
Go for joy.
When all else fails, just go for joy. Go for the things that make you happy, the ones that fill you with that sparkly, holiday spirit. Don’t go simple if you and your family really love to live it up during every moment of the season. Don’t go overboard if what you really crave as the year winds down is some peace. Just do what brings joy to you and the people you love. It’s as simple as that!