Keeping Christmas Merry & Bright

Keep Christmas Merry & Bright

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s full of expectation and hope. As we approach Thanksgiving, we’re seeing more and more signs of Christmas. Lights on the trees, wreaths on the doors, and exciting reminders that December 25 is quicky approaching.

If I’m being honest, my favorite thing about Christmas is the anticipation of it. In fact, I go into a little bit of a post-Christmas funk on Christmas Day. I don’t even wait for the day to end before my funk begins, but I just get so sad that Christmas is over before it’s even over. I love the anticipation of Christmas that we get to experience in November and December.

But I wanted to toss out a gentle little reminder today. And it’s as much of a reminder for me as it is for you. And some of you may not even need it. But it’s the pep talk I need.

As you’re scrolling through Pinterest and you see that Christmas Bucket List that excites you? Go ahead and pin it, but don’t hold yourself or your family to someone else’s bucket list standard. Who says you even need a bucket list?

As you’re scrolling through Instagram and seeing what someone else’s Elf on the Shelf did last night, try to remember that your children probably have no idea what that person’s elf did and your children probably don’t care. If the Elf is your thing, then go all out and do it how you want to do it. If you’ve not introduced an Elf to your kids and don’t plan to, don’t feel guilty about it or feel critical about the Elf.

If you have a themed tree or you have a tree full of handmade ornaments, enjoy the tree that you have and the love and fun that went into putting it up.

If you haven’t hung your curtains or finished decorating your house, go ahead and open your doors and invite your friends in. Cook or order pizza and let go of perfection.

If you don’t want to print those printables or work on all of those handmade crafts, don’t do those things.

When I think of Christmas and how to be intentional, I just want my kids to enjoy it. I want a quiet December that’s free from obligation and full of love. And if I get myself hung up on a bucket list or having the perfect home, my kids won’t enjoy it. They’ll remember that their Christmas included a stressed-out mommy. And I know that my attitude toward the season and how we prepare for Christmas will affect how they feel about it most of all.

So we’re going to pop some popcorn and watch some Christmas movies. We may string the popcorn and hang it on the tree, but we may just eat it and not worry about that bucket list item. We may make some salt dough ornaments, but if we never get around to it, I may just do it in January to save for next Christmas.

We’re going to wrap some gifts for Angel Tree kiddos and we’re going to shop for our family members. If we don’t get the top item from the many gift guides, that’s okay.

If our biggest Christmas tradition ends up being sipping hot chocolate in our jammies and driving around looking at lights, my kids will remember that and the time we spent together.

So, this Christmas, I’m committing to being there for my family. I’m committing to not comparing our traditions to other families’ traditions. I’m committing to opening my doors to friends and family whether I’m “ready” for them or not. And I’m committing to slowing down and keeping the calendar clear so that our family is actually together this Christmas.

I know that a stressed-out mommy can steal the joy from my kids’ Christmas, and I’m committing to going with the flow this year. I’m choosing purpose over perfection.

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  1. says

    Beautifully written! We just moved into our new house and my goal is to focus on just sitting back and enjoying the season instead of making it a Pinterest worthy Christmas 🙂 Thanks for sharing your heart!

  2. says

    I could feel myself relaxing while reading this post – as if I just let out a big breath of air I’d been holding for too long. I love the holiday season and everything about it so much! But don’t love the pressure I always put on myself to make it perfect every year. Thank you for reminding me that perfect doesn’t equal happy. And I’d rather have happy any day (be it Pinterest worthy or not! )

  3. Jessica Hudson says

    Thanks for this…I needed it. With baby #3 arriving so soon, I’ve been so caught up in the rush of getting everything ready and making sure that I’m ahead of the game with Christmas stuff. I need to just sit back and enjoy it all and know that it may not be even close to perfect this year, but that’s ok.

  4. says

    So very well said Erin! I think this is the best post I’ve read in a long, long time. Thank you for writing and sharing it with everyone! Lately I’ve really been feeling the pressure within the blog world for the perfect Christmas cards, decor, crafts and gifts. I needed this little pep talk/reminder!

  5. says

    This is so true. I remember dreading the time to decorate for Christmas, because my mom got all stressed and made us climb in the attack and drag everything down. I hated it. I have since learned to start my own traditions with my kids and love it again. I definitely want to leave them with happy memories of family time and not a stressed out mom!

  6. Lisa says

    Thank you, Erin! I had to share this with my friends on Facebook. I struggle with this on a daily basis. I’m going to be reading your post over and over throughout the next several weeks!

  7. says

    Great post Erin! The older I get the easier it is to go with the flow and be flexible but it is so easy to want to have everything just right and participate in every party and every craft that I find. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. says

    I get post Christmas funk as well. January is soooo long, cold, and grey! I’m made a point the past three years to continue celebrating Christmas for the full 12 days. The tree doesn’t always make it but the spirit and other decorations do! We have friends that always have an epiphany party. These are all great reminders – but don’t feel like it all ends on the 25th!

  9. Pam M says

    I love this post. One of my main memories of Christmas as a kid is my mom being angry and stressed out over cooking, cleaning, decorating, and other preparations (every year!!) and it really did put a damper on things. We didn’t even have all the pressure of Pinterest, Elf on a Shelf, etc. back in the 80s! It was not so fun, and I know that my mom would be sad and sorry if she were aware that this is what my siblings and I remember above all else. You are very wise to be intentional about NOT creating this situation. Enjoy this time!

  10. says

    I love this – thank you. I was just saying similar to my husband the other day. I want to be truly present this holiday season. I want my kids to look back and remember the time I sat and watched a Christmas movie with them, or we jumped in the car to look at the lights, not a stressed and frazzled mom.

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