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Simplifying the Holidays

Simplifying the Holidays

By Chris Jordan

‘Tis the season.

I’ll admit it. I struggle with this time of year. Striking a balance has never been easy for me. My list of things that I tell myself I “have” to do contains more things than can possibly be accomplished in 25 days, even if I gave up the rest of my life. Yet I feel enormously guilty for all of the things that get left by the wayside.

Then there is the gift giving. I don’t know if it is just me, but the presents were so much easier to buy when the children were younger. They were less expensive and came in HUGE boxes that filled up underneath the tree, and the entire room, without breaking the bank. Now that the kids are older? The size of the present has decreased proportionally with the price tag of said present.

Why can’t Apple package their products in GIGANTIC-assed boxes? Why? An iTouch isn’t a stocking stuffer. I want it to come in a box the size that the Little Tykes Cozy Coupe comes in. For the uninitiated, that would be approximately a 4ft x 4ft x 4ft box. Is that too much to ask? Is it Apple?

I have been known to go overboard on Christmas presents in the past. Okay, a lot overboard. And if I am going to be all Dr Phil on myself for minute I can trace this back to my own childhood, one in which I really did not get presents past the age of 5 or 6. I never had that excited Christmas morning that my friends had. From my friends I would hear about all the fabulous gifts they got. And it wasn’t necessarily that they got tons of gifts, or really expensive things that stuck with me, it was more the fact that someone cared enough to think about them and get them a gift. That was what I was envious about. Of course then I went and married someone who didn’t believe in gift giving either.

Anyway, enough delving into my tortured crazy inner workings. All of that was just to say that while I can logically trace the roots of my over zealous Christmasness (is so a word), I seem to be unable to stop myself. I always want more. More cookies! More baking! More presents! More holiday music! More candles! More decorations! More photos with Santa! MORE! MORE!! MORE!!! We will squeeze every last drop of Christmas spirit out of this holiday, even if it kills us. Or more specifically, turns me into a shrill harpy, ticking items of an agenda like a drill sergeant, while wearing holiday-themed clothing. (I kid about that last part.)

This year, however, I have to reign it in.

I don’t want to stop the things that we all love, which really are the low-key ones where we spend time together. I want to stop the frenzy that surrounds it all. And I have to cut back on the gift-giving, but at this point I am unsure how to cut back drastically and not have anyone be disappointed. Aside from money issue, I think that having less presents will make them appreciate the ones they do get more. I hope that it will cut down on the amount of unused things that just clutter up the house after the holidays.

Does anyone else have experience doing something similar? I am curious how you went about simplifying the season, not just spending less money, but all aspects of the holiday season.

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About the Author

Chris Jordan

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she wrote about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children. Yes, they...

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she wrote about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children.
Yes, they are all hers.
No she’s not Catholic or Mormon. Though she wouldn’t mind having a sister-wife because holy hell the laundry never stops.
Yes, she finally figured out what causes it. That’s why her youngest is a teen now.
Yes, she has a television.

She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.


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