We all want to enjoy the holidays. We want to create memories for our kids and count our blessings and experience the magic of the season. But when you have a new baby in the house, or any kids for that matter, Christmas can get overwhelming and you end up making memories that you hope your family can just forget. So if you have ever found yourself yelling at the top of your lungs during the family cookie-making night or crying alone in your car in the Target parking lot, these next steps are for you.
1. Stop Sending Christmas Cards
Really. It is ok to stop. You’ve already posted 538 photos of your kids on Facebook this year so your friends and family don’t actually need one more perfect family photo just because it is December 25th. Give yourself permission to send no cards this year.
When I first got married I sent cards out to my family, my husband’s family, neighbors, and every person we ever went to church with. As we moved and gained new friends, I saw my list grow into the hundreds. And then one year we had a new baby, and money was a little tight, and I just said No. I can’t spend the money and the time sitting alone writing out all these cards. I have a baby to cuddle and too much on my plate, so not this year. And so I didn’t send out one holiday card. And you know what, I wasn’t blacklisted. My friends and family still sent us cards.
Let me warn you though, if you take a year off of the obligatory Christmas card, you may actually enjoy it. You will breathe a sigh of relief that you can take that chore off of the list. You will walk through the mall and see the insane line-up of families in Picture People dressed in matching red velvet holding their crying babies and just smile as you hold your little ones and walk right on by. And then next year, or the next, or in 5 years, when you are feeling ready, you may enjoy Christmas card night again. You will pick up your family photo cards or glittery Hallmark ones, crank up the Perry Como, and continue writing out greetings for all those on your list.
2. Don’t Look at Pinterest. Or YouTube. Or even one Tasty video.
If you are watching those videos and thinking about making 30 slow cooker meals in 2 hours or cupcake toppers that look like dancing reindeer, please take a moment to think this through. I now ask myself these questions before tackling any crazy holiday project or creation.
“Is my husband able to pick up these supplies easily at Walmart?”
“Can my older kids do this project with minimal supervision?”
“Is this really necessary?”
And if we’re honest, none of it is necessary. We can totally rock Christmas like its 1976 and not do one Pinterest project. We can eat store bought sugar cookies and 2 ingredient fudge for dessert. When you have a new baby or little ones in the house, I hope you will see that you can make your own traditions or change old ones to fit your family’s needs.
The past two years I let my 10 year old handle the fancy projects. SHE made those cute green Christmas tree cupcake toppers. And SHE turned our plain white fridge into the perfect construction paper snowman for our church Christmas party. I delegated those projects and it felt good. And that way, I could focus on the real necessities of the season like cleaning toilets and vacuuming the cereal out of the couch.
3. Stop the Silly Shopping.
If you have a new baby in your family, chances are your friends and family are planning to shower your little one with first Christmas gifts. Hopefully they throw a few practical ones in there too like diapers and baby socks with grippy bottoms. And maybe you don’t have to do as much shopping for your kids as you think you do.
My children’s grandparents live far away and generally send money so I can buy their gifts for them. One year I realized that their grandparent’s money bought everything on their lists. They didn’t really NEED anything else from us. So I filled their stockings with chocolate and Chapstick and new electric toothbrushes and called it a day.
Maybe the idea of the 4 Christmas Gifts has been around for a long time, but this is the first year I ran across a blog about it. As I read what Money Saving Sisters said about their new gift-giving tradition, the idea of a more intentional Christmas with less frantic shopping was really appealing to me and may resonate with you also.
Whatever holiday traditions and projects you decide to include this year, I hope you enjoy the season and make the memories that seem most meaningful to you and your family. And give yourself permission to do things a little different this year if it helps you survive the festivities and move into the new year with actual peace and joy.