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And so, it begins

Thanksgiving has passed, the turkey’s put away,  and the last of the pie is gone.

I bought my first Christmas present yesterday and, for some reason, that felt like a milestone.  I’ve never started gift shopping so ~gasp~ late.

The only person that I have to ship to is Mom; with her in Canada and me here in MI, I need to “get it in gear” or her package won’t arrive on time.  That’s what yesterday’s gift was all about and it was done … online.  *Smile*

This year has been a whirlwind and I am in the center of it.  Yep, somehow, the Holidays snuck up on me.

Was it because Thanksgiving came early here in the U.S. (always the 3rd Thursday of the month, this year it “fell” sooner than later)?

Was it because I’m working two jobs and balancing that workload with the strains of oldest boy’s divorce, Mom’s health challenges, and our youngest boy’s transition to college?

Was it because we stopped hosting the fun-filled Family Christmas party?  Was doing that party what kept me organized and ahead of task, all these years?

Thinking about the Holiday and all the stress I’ve piled on myself in years past, I realized just how wonderful this Thanksgiving was.  It was calm, it was quiet, it was fun.  I wasn’t rushed, stressed or over-tired.  We had delicious food, enjoyable company and the energy to play games afterwards.

That’s what I want for Christmas, I’ve decided.

I told the boys yesterday that this is the year the Christmas of their childhood..grows up.  This year, they’re getting a few things they need and some money.  This year, I’m not standing in line for anyone.  This year, the cash they get can buy their wants .. or a tank of gas.  This year, we will have the grand kids I’m sure, but likely not on Christmas day, and that’s OK with me. Whenever we have them will be relaxed, cozy and fun.

This year, I’m giving myself permission to let Christmas not be what it always was.

How about you?  Anything about the Holidays that you want to shake up?

But I’m not quite ready to decorate … David Eppelheimer antique Christmas ornaments and tree lights. (Press Photo/Adam Bird)

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Categories: Faith, Family, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Opinion, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

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28 thoughts on “And so, it begins

  1. You threw me a curve, MJ. When you said you’d never started Christmas shopping this….(I thought you were going to write EARLY) late. It’s still early for me, but I don’t have many presents to buy.
    Let’s see: what am I shaking up?? Might not put up the tree this year (I know: bah humbug, right?). But that decision hasn’t been made yet. I’m looking for a quiet, easy, comfy Christmas too. I love your ideas!
    Have a good week, MJ

    • It hit me that I 1) don’t have that many to buy for anymore and 2) we no longer coordinate/host the Christmas party. I stopped baking for oodles of people … and once I realized that the “list” wasn’t quite so daunting, I took a deep breath instead 🙂

      Tree or no tree — I hope you enjoy your Holiday, too!
      MJ

  2. So happy to hear you had a relaxed Thanksgiving. We did, as well. Sara and I have decided to scale back this Christmas–not always easy for me. I like to do it big, usually. But we’ve decided not to that this year, and I’m okay with that. And good for you that you usually get your shopping done early. Afraid, I don’t do so well with that. Have a wonderful week, my friend.
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    • I’m with you, Kathy, it’s hard to scale back b/c I do enjoy the decorating & such but sometimes it’s necessary for our well-being to just step back. Cheers! MJ

  3. I like your idea of holidays: chilled out, light on fuss.

  4. Having time to step back and enjoy it all is what I think we all strive for. It’s just too easy to get caught up in trying to make it spectacular for everyone else. Every year I try to enjoy Christmas and family to the fullest, yet it all seems to pass by too quickly. This year, I’ll (again) be trying to take it all in and not feel as if it was a blur when it’s all over and done with.

    • Not to be sexist, but I suspect that there are less men who feel this way … feeling the need in “making it spectacular” for “everyone else.” Sure doesn’t happen at my house! Bests, MJ

  5. We decided the tree will go up later rather than sooner after enjoying a weekend of just being together. Shopping online certainly helps, doesn’t it? It’s nice to bask in “That’s done.”

    • Good for you! I appreciate the convenience of online shopping but also don’t mind stepping out into a store at lunch time, here and there anyways. Lately there has been no time for that. I think that’s why I’m feeling the pinch .. I can sense it closing in on me!
      MJ

  6. MJ we started the shake up last year and it continues moving forward….Thanksgiving hike instead of comatose turkey sloth, and Christmas is going to be different this year, but the pieces of that puzzle are still not wholly solid, I’ll keep you posted though!
    *anna

    • The “turkey sloth” made me choke on my coffee, Anna! Funny stuff 🙂

      You know what, you’re on your way and intention is 1/2 of the struggle isn’t it? MJ

      • Half…the other half is managing the expectations of the broader fam. My mom has always hosted and is loathe to give it up, however her recent health issues may in fact trump her desire for ‘same ol’ same’…

      • sometimes fate deals us a hand that turns in our favor, I hope that’s how it plays out for you; you can “help” her out 🙂
        MJ

  7. For the first time in 30 years I won’t put up a 9′ tree, but will have a small tree on a table in foyer and decorate on a smaller scale. My annual Xmas lunch with girlfriends will be at a lovely tearoom instead of my home which I have hosted the last 12 years. And instead of gabbing for 6 hours we will eat and then do some window shopping but very little buying as most of us have embraced online shopping. Xmas afternoon will be spent enjoying a Xmas musical matinee with adult family members, followed by a wonderful dinner that someone else has prepared. So while my traditions have changed this year they have not been eliminated, but merey revised to eliminate the stress and emphasize and enjoy the wonderment of the holiday season!

    • Oooh .. I like how you’re thinking this through. You’re still enjoying the traditions that you’ve had, but in a way now that makes sense for you. When I look back at Christmases past, it’s no wonder that I slept half of my vacation! I told my sister that I no longer cook Christmas dinner, only a big brunch, and when I whispered to her “the world didn’t end” she shrieked with laughter, knowing exactly what I meant.

      Rock on, Claire!
      MJ

  8. Relax. Have some egg nog.

    • Yep, last night my Grand-daughter and I put up a little plug in Frosty the Snowman. We sat in the glow of that twinkling little guy and I delighted in her giggles and smiles. Perfection!
      MJ

  9. cooper

    Bravo. The holidays are only as stressful as we make them. So kewl that you are slowing down. Enjoy….

  10. I like your phrase “the Christmas of their childhood grows up.” That’s a challenge, to know when it’s right to make that transition. Distance, and not being able to be with our kids every Christmas has done most of the work for us…but I still feel a lingering wish/need to make the holiday amazing when we’re together…But the reality is that just being together and celebrating without all the stress is better than all the frills. Why did it take so long to learn this?! ~ Sheila

    • Well, for me, it took so long to learn it b/c I was the one who couldn’t let it go! We had a perfectly good day on Thanksgiving … no presents at all! Just being together, playing games, laughing, big fun. 🙂 MJ

  11. I’m still not quite ready to decorate. I’m holding out until December, which is only a mere three days away!

  12. Last year we decided not to put up a tree (we do all work, my son and my Mom come for one night) and then we do clean up, etc. But the whining from those two was so bad my resolve is slipping this year.

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