I was with a group of friends earlier this week and one of the gals asked me, “So, are you all ready for Christmas?”
She was referring to whether or not I have all our presents purchased and wrapped and whether the myriad of other Christmas details were taken care of.
I wasn’t sure how to answer that question. You see, we simplified Christmas so much this year that it almost feels like we cancelled Christmas.
Only we didn’t.
We just decided that the past few months have been full enough that instead of trying to pack our December full, we’d instead leave it really, really empty.
Our extended families had already asked if we could cut back and really simplify when it came to gifts this year and we’d already decided that we were going to keep our kids’ gifts super simple, too.
Then, we decided to just let the kids choose which Christmas decorations they wanted to put up. They opted for their little pink Christmas tree — which they had fun decorating themselves.
Next, we decided that we’d skip sending Christmas cards. And pretty soon, after we’d crossed off or nixed most of the usual Christmas obligations or activities we’d opted to do in the past, we were left with a wide open December.
And it has been bliss. Bliss, I tell you.
We’ve hung out as a family more. We’ve read together more. We’ve snuggled together and watched Christmas movies together. We’ve listened to a lot of Christmas music. We’ve gone to bed early. We’ve slept in. And we’ve not felt rushed or stressed or exhausted or frantic.
For the most part, December has been one of the calmest and quietest months we’ve had in ages. And it’s freed up much-needed space to just breathe, listen, love, rest, and enjoy being together.
Do I think families who have opted for lots of beautiful decorations, lots of Christmas shopping, and lots of festive activities are doing it wrong? Not in the least.
We’ve had years in the past where the Christmas season has been bustling with a lot of fun and where I found so much fulfillment in spending hours and hours picking out the perfect gifts to bless others. I don’t regret those years or those memories one bit.
But I also don’t regret having a quiet and simple Christmas this year. Sometimes, your soul just needs to take a step back and breathe.