Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How to Have the Best Christmas Ever Unbusy-Style

I got a book for the DQ about planning Christmas. It's cute. She's going to love it, but I realized while leafing through it, I won't/wouldn't/couldn't do half of that stuff, and I LOVE Christmas. But I love Christmas for the fun, not for the burden. I want an unbusy Christmas!

So my own "how to have the best Christmas ever" would look a little something like this:

1. BUY LESS STUFF!!! Less time spent in stores, less financial stress, and it's better for the environment too. Win, win, win! The present part of Christmas is for kids. (isn't it? I didn't actually have Christmas as a kid, so bear in mind this is just a theory based on adult observation. ;) I love buying presents for the kids in our family (including the DQ, of course!), but us grown we really need more stuff?

2. Say "no". No, to the Christmas party I hate going to. No, to the gift that's going to break the budget. No, to the project that will keep me up until 2:00 am on December 23rd pulling my hair out. No, no, no, no, NO. (yeah baby, being a self preserving Grinch is all a part of the Christmas magic too!)

3. Do more of what we love. My favourite parts of the holiday never seem to fall on Christmas day itself. I love the baking (this year I am going to bake my ass off! I have been dreaming of Panaforte and Linzer cookies all year!). I love all the special family activities with Elliot and Liam...the local Festival of Trees and Lights, belting out songs from Muppet Christmas Carol in the car on the way to Gramma's, packing our little shoeboxes for Samaritan's Purse, snuggling on the couch and watching unapologetically saccharine X-mas shows, playing in the snow, trimming our tree. I love time with my sisters, unwinding with the DH, and surprising someone with an unexpected kindness. This is where I want my energy to go.

4. Plan well and start early to free up more time in December. My boys and husband start their holidays really early this year (the 19th!). I want as much time as possible free for F-U-N then. Not shopping, not wrapping, not cleaning, not running around keeping this or that social obligation, but cookie-chomping, laughing, playing, sparkly-eyed fun.

5. Accept the chiaroscuro. At that inevitable moment when I am frazzled and tired, there's a mountain of dirty dishes or a family squabble...realize that familial friction, chaos and stress are all actually supposed to be a rightful part of the holidays too. It just wouldn't be Festivus without the airing of the grievances and the feats of strength. Take a deep breath and carry on.

And now that I am done unbusy pep talking myself, I need to get off the computer and get going! Number 4 isn't just going to do itself!

Merry unbusy to you all and to all a good night. x0

(36 more sleeps!)


  1. I have all my Christmas shopping done and out of the way. I like to do it before Thanksgiving. Of course, the gift I get for myself I wait and wait until I find the perfect one.

  2. i celebrate christmas by sitting in the front room, fullof candles and little white christmas lights and a mug of chai tea and baileys, which is called 'Tea Love'.

    this year is all about finding the time to reflect and to be creative and to sit down. oh, and have people i enjoy around me. i think i've received enough presents for two lifetimes, thanks to an uber-generous family. this year, it's about stopping time.

  3. Baileys and chai tea? Why, I nevah...but I should!
    Yes, time to stop, and just get all cozy and appreciative. Sounds blissful.

    and @Angie a gift for yourself, sounds like a nice idea. Of course, I tend to maybe gift myself too often throughout the year. I can say no to anything, except books and art supplies, no willpower there. ;)

  4. my favorite part of the holidays is the tree, before we had kids I did multiple themed trees, now we just have one, full of memories, all the ornaments the kids have made over the years all carefully preserved, I used to get mad that my tree had been overrun, but as they get older and leave I find I mind less, funny because pretty soon, they'll be gone again, and I'll have no one to please but myself, and I will still want those handmade crazy ornaments on my tree!

  5. Well, Christmas for me is all about the boozy hot chocolate. Yes. 4 ounces of booze in a big old candy cane striped mug with whipped cream on top. Christmas tunes turned up LOUD--decorating never was so fun.

    And the cards. Oh, how I love making Christmas cards. Sent with Christmas stamps. And festooned with stickers. Love it. Love taking time out to say 'yo, what's up' to people I may not have spoken to all year.

    I'm not a baker, but I sure do enjoy everone else's baking. This Christmas is going to be BARE BONES simple. No other choice. Bring it on!


  6. And btw, LOVE the Christmas pin-up postcard.

  7. @ Deb The little tacky, kid-made ornaments with poms poms and globs of glue and popsicle sticks etc. have also become my absolute favourites! The tree becomes like a family album of sorts over the years. Love it! Liam is already asking when we can put up the tree...

    @K And I LOVE getting your cards! I am not doing the handmade ones this year. It is one of the things getting simplified out to make room for more fun. Last year was the first year that I found it arduous rather than it's gotta go. And a bare bones simple Christmas doesn't sound half bad...sounds restful!

  8. Oh, I cheat with the cards. I go to a 3-hour workshop where the designs are picked and all the stock is cut, and all the supplies are ready at each station. I show up, I make about 15 or 20 cards, I leave. It's the only way to go. Otherwise--I hear ya--the idea of the hand-made cards would have long since been trashed.

  9. My Silver Palate Cookbook has a recipe for Linzer cookies that I am thinking about trying this year. My mom and grandmother made candy for christmas, chocolate & maple fudge, candied nuts, peanut brittle, divinity, and now I make Rocky Road Candy for christmas. I was eyeing your Gingerbread house from last year and decided that it would be more like hard labor for me than fun (yay for choices!).

    We have an amazing thrift store in our town and will do/have done a lot of our shopping there. We buy our Christmas cards, but we send a ton and a few years ago we started saving all of the cards we receive to open and read on Christmas morning. It probably seems a little wacky, but it really moves me to have all that love and attention poured over me on a single morning and every card feels like a gift.

    Hmmm. My comment posts are getting very long. One would think I don't have my own blog ;)


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