Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Confessions and Letting Things Go

      You may or may not have noticed this if you have read this here blog much, but I can be sort of an over-achiever type.  I have been wired like this for as long as I can remember.  And, in Christmas time, this can come out in full-force.  I also can have a mentality that if I "can" do something, that means I "should" do it.  Exhibit A.  I can make the girls cute Christmasy shirts, therefore, I should, even though the past several weeks have been crazy and most of the better events to wear these shirts to have come and gone.  I saw this cute shirt on Pinterest and thought, I can make that.  (as I just looked at the tutorial, I realized I was doing it all wrong, which I why these shirts never came into being for me).  So, I started in on the shirts the other night and realized that it was harder than it should have been, and I was tired, and I just wanted to lay on the couch, not make a shirt.


      I ended up going to Gymboree and getting a few Christmasy clothes for the girls to wear for the next couple of weeks that were deeply discounted.  And cute.  And perfectly fine, though not handmade.  And I realized, I have a problem.  I wanted those handmade shirts for me - the girls do not care one lick, unless I tell them to.  Why am I stressing over something that does not matter?  How did I become consumed with hand making a Christmas tree shirt that will not help us prepare our hearts any better for the coming holiday?
      This is an easy trap for me to fall into.  Teacher gifts are another example - I had all of these ideas, spurred on by Pinterest (hmm. . . sensing a theme with this.  must use pinterest wisely.) this year, and I knew that I could make something super cute.  I ended up doing CFA coupons, because that is practical, I have them on-hand, and everyone usually likes them.  With all of the party mayhem, there was not time or energy to make anything else, though I kept thinking that I should, even this morning.
      All of this thinking and internal debating has got me wondering, "Why do I do any of it?"  What is the point?  What is this season really about?  I know what I want it to be about.  I want to be preparing our hearts to celebrate the coming of Christ into this world.  The miracle that is God made flesh.  The Holy Night when our Savior came down.  It is unbelievably miraculous, and I want to be rejoicing in that truth this season, not debating with myself on whether or not I should make poppyseed bread for my neighbors on top of all of the cookies I am giving them from our cookie exchange.  (I opted not to, for the record, because I am trying to simplify.  It goes against the grain.)
      And, I haven't even addressed presents.  My gift list is not even that long, but it still feels a bit burdensome at times.  I am not really a gift-giver - it is probably at the bottom of my love language list, so I always feel that I am stretching to figure out what someone might want or need.  We have decided that going forward, we are going to adopt this 4 present principle with the girls - Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read.  I have seen it on several blogs and also on Pinterest (there's a positive for pinterest in this post!), and I like that it keeps things simple and it helps keep expectations low.  I don't want it to be about the presents for our children.  (I feel that both my parents and John's parents deserve a shout-out here, because our Christmases were never all about the presents, and I am so thankful for that example!)
      There are so many fantastically fun traditions that I love this time of year.  I love the lights, the music, and the magic of it all.  I want to make fun crafts with my kids, because that is how I celebrate things.  But, I don't want to force it.  And, I want to be flexible.  And, I need to let things go.  My girls will not have handmade shirts this year, and that does not take one iota away from what the real deal is.  Maybe next year, I will make a detailed list of the things I will do, as well as the things I will not do.  That might help me from getting bogged down in what "could" be.  I want to enjoy and savor what is, and I want our family to be able to spend time rejoicing in the fact that our Savior came when we needed him most.  He came to save us - it is the most beautiful story of all.
      Merry Christmas.  I am trying to keep things a little tiny bit simpler here.  Let me know if you have any suggestions on simplification.  (Though, I might add, life with toddlers is not exactly peaceful or simple, no matter what my plans for it may be.)