I knew what I wanted this Christmas season to be like. Time at home, time outdoors, time together. Creating, learning, hiking, relaxing and loving. I have experienced many stressful Decembers, last year was one of those. We were involved in a community giving project, which although very meaningful for us was quite taxing on our family.
I knew I didn't want to do that again. On that note, if someone knows how to give meaningfully to their community while homeschooling, hiking on weekends and cooking 3 meals a day - I'd love to hear how to do it. I also knew I didn't want to spend the month shopping, feeling forever behind on tasks & preparations, overeating (well maybe just a wee bit) and otherwise stressing.
Now here I am, 7 days till Christmas, and I can honestly say this has been the best pre-Christmas season I've ever had, or at least that I can remember. Just ask Damien, I've expressed my feelings to him often in this way, "I'm just enjoying this month so much".
I seriously scaled back my expectations for this time leading up to Christmas. And although I thought I was preparing myself for the un-perfect month, in truth I was preparing myself for the perfect month (as many of you pointed out in your comments on that post). Letting go of things that are very good (a family Christmas letter & photo come to mind) but just couldn't be accomplished without stress felt so wonderful. I love writing an update letter and have done so each year but you know what? I can send a letter just as easily in January or February.
Dropping this one thing, and a few others, have freed up this month to do the things we value as a family. Like sledding on a frigid but beautiful afternoon at the farm.
Our time at the farm yesterday was wonderful. No rushing, except to the CSA room to warm our toes. No shopping, except bartering for dried gourds to make fairy homes. No stress, except coming home and realizing oh yeah, we do still need to make supper and clean up.
I feel like I've already had Christmas morning with a month of doing exactly what we wanted to do as a family. I feel so blessed. Tomorrow we leave for our holiday trip to Nova Scotia and Quebec. (I'm taking a little break from packing to share these thoughts.) And Christmas begins in earnest. I'm so excited. Spending days with my best girlfriend (my mom), eating my mom's cooking, sitting by my parent's fireplace, hanging out with my brother and his family, playing games, watching movies, staying up late and sleeping in.
I hope to chronicle our adventures on this space with photos and a few words. But if I don't get around to doing so as much as I'd like I'm not going to stress about it, because that would be simply un-Christmaslike.