This year my family’s holiday celebrations are low key, low effort, and carried out with even lower expectations. You could call it a lazy Christmas, a minimalist approach, or a scaled-back yuletide season.
I am calling it survival, and I’m one hundred percent, guilt-free, okay with it.
The festivities we skip, the traditions (only a few years old anyway) that fall by the wayside, the days we are decidedly not merry … they are all just days, and it’s only this one, decidedly busy, Christmas.
Being 99 weeks pregnant with our third baby, I have to let a lot of things go. Like, most issues of daily life, and every single extra thing that comes up. My energy is intensely prioritized: actual trauma; basic necessities; remembering how to form sentences and when to pick up my 4 year old from preschool; and then celebrating Christmas. On a separate list, there’s prep for baby number three (if you could really call a box of diapers, a car seat, and a clean outfit hanging around somewhere “prep”), plans for where everyone else will be, and some things resembling food stashed away in the pantry and freezer.
Completely maxed out. Sorry Christmas, but it’s just this one year.
Chances are slim that we will get pictures with Santa in matching outfits, if we even make it to see him. With our non-existent budget, there are fewer decorations, fewer outings, and not a single holiday party (family gatherings aside). Our (let’s face it) super fussy kids, have caused us to happily abandon many festive plans because they are JUST NOT WORTH IT.
I even have to skip my favorite tradition: an annual cookie baking extravaganza, followed by delivery of treats to friends and neighbors. But hey – we made some 2-minute-fudge yesterday, and cookies from a mix. My little bakers, whose hearts and sugar obsessed bellies are full, got in their messy mixing and used way too many sprinkles. (Although … if anyone wants to supplement our holiday cookie fix, we don’t turn down donations.)
And it’s all good – really. It’s just one Christmas.
What we have found so far, with a couple weeks left, are a few simple joys.
Since I spend a great deal of time coaxing the kids to let me sit and put my feet up these days, we’ve cuddled on the couch with our favorite Christmas books and movies over and over (and over).
The kids have spent whole days in Santa jammies, listening to holiday music, and making simple construction paper chains (in lieu of Pinterest style daily crafts).
We’ve made special trips out to buy simple gifts for each other, and made inexpensive and low effort homemade gifts.
Energy, time, money and patience have been spent on a few things we can’t live without. The kids require all things possible relating to the Grinch – movies, books, songs, and holiday shirts. I don’t have an ounce of merriment without hanging up my mom’s 12 Days of Christmas decoration and watching our shared favorite movie: Christmas in Connecticut. Kevin cannot go without a tree or hanging lights along the eaves of our cozy home. And Penny doesn’t get into the holiday spirit without stealing a stick of butter from the counter, left out from making (human) treats. All of those bases have been covered, and there’s still some time to spare.
It’s a simple year, all we can manage, and I am surprisingly okay with it. In the grand scheme of family life, it really is just one single Christmas.
Happy holidays to all my friends and readers out there – however much or little you are celebrating! More from this human after the New Year, or when I come up for air after labor and newborn number three.