Monday, November 28, 2016

Christmas Countdown-Will it Give Me Joy Edition Part 1

Rush, rush. Busy, busy. For those that celebrate Christmas, and I find even with some of my friend and acquaintances that do not, the weeks leading up to Christmas is a chaotic whirlwind of planning, doing, going, buying, and crashing. I love everything, secular and nonsecular, related to Christmas from the cheesy store decorations, to music on the radio, to driving past twinkling lights each night on my way hone from work. I do not like stress, and wonder why for so many years, I let it rule my December. Last year was pretty good, up until the day itself. Wishing to keep the streak going, I dub this post, Christmas Countdown-Will it bring me joy edition, part one-activities.

I'm keeping activities to a minimum but for the next three weekends, I've got  one something to look forward to each Saturday. If I feel like doing more, great, but if not, I'll be satisfied. This coming Saturday our local library is hosting a gingerbread house contest. DD2 will work at the kids event, and I will wander the exhibit, hopefully getting a few photos. I am not one for patience with  putzy cookie decorations, but love the way people can be so creative. 

The following week will be the trek to the county fairgrounds with any of my sisters, their kids and grand kids who want to come along. Each year the pioneer village is decked out in  old time Christmas decorations. We like to go late afternoon so we can walk the whole village in daylight, but then see the transformation as the lights come on when the sun goes down. My sister will bring her thermos of cider and schnapps, and I'll do hot chocolate. We usually get a little snack at the general store, proceeds going to the historical society.  December 17th is DD2's school holiday concert and this is the event of the season. They do two sell out performances (the school auditorium holds over 2,000 seats). People travel for this event-it really is spectacular if you are a fan of chorale music. She also has an orchestra concert leading up to Christmas break. 

I enjoy church during advent season. There will be a few impromptu gatherings with friends, I hope, but nothing that requires much effort like Friday wine club and meeting a couple former coworkers for happy hour. I plan to turn over my kitchen to DD and friends to do some baking and crafting either next Saturday afternoon after the library or one of the Sunday's. I'll lay way back, sipping coffee, cocoa, wine, and ciders with a few other moms, for a low stress get together, maybe ending with a few take and bake pizzas. Basically, trying to keep December much the same as the rest of the year, but with a bit more sparkle. My motto for this year is if it brings joy, feel free to participate. If not, a simple no thank  you to an invitation or a strike though on a to do list items shall suffice. We'll see how my resolve is as the weeks go on. I sometimes have the FOMO, fear of missing out, bug, when I hear and read others celebrations. I know too much just makes me cranky and not fully appreciate the season. How is your December shaking out?



10 comments:

  1. I love the idea of having "JOY" be your goal this December. I think I'll join you in that! One thing I do is plan my minimal shopping early on weekday mornings in order to avoid the crowds as they definitely impinge on my joy! Plus many of my gifts come from the kitchen - Sugared Pecan, Granola, and Cashew Brittle. That way I can be very JOYFUL in the kitchen, with my own iTunes Christmas playlist and a bottle of Bailey's!
    Cheers!!

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    1. I love nothing more than staying home for a full day, music on, puttering to my hearts content. The month of joy shall commence.

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  2. I love this post.

    Yes yes and yes to saying yes to the joyful things and no to the other things. I have extracted myself from a few things I usually, and I've just said "no thanks, not this year" and not tried to give more of an explanation. It's so freeing!

    I know people always say that Christmas should be as you want it to be, but I'm not in that position in my family, I'm not one of the ones with the power to shape things, I've tried to do it my way in the past and it lead to a whole year of grief! (not to mention the references back to that year every year since by certain people, who knew that giving money to charity was such a bad thing?).

    Yes I'm a grump but I'm doing my best, my view of the season and that of the people around me differs greatly, and there's no real way to reconcile that, but at the moment I'm really looking forward to everything December has to hold.

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    1. I'll never understand why people feel a need to impose their personal preferences on others. I won't even get into the over the top Christmas day my in-laws orchestrate, when I'd love a simple day at home with just my own family. I'd even settle for easing into a simplified smaller gathering, maybe the weekend before or after with them, or if it has to be Christmas day, half as long. My niece is getting married this summer, and with her spreading herself thinner with another family, maybe that will be the impetus for reducing the expectations that my in-laws are the center of the Christmas universe.

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  3. I don't like Xmas so I don't bother with it. Fair play to those who believe in god or hate work and enjoy having time off but I'm in neither of those camps.
    I love dressing up, drinking, nights out on the town and giving presents but don't subscribe to having to do it for Xmas just because we're expected to. xxx

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    1. I admit I am a bit of a holiday traditionalist, but so much stems from living in the same area with most of the family. We just went with the tide, so now I'm trying to pick my participation, but not succumbing to others expectations is hard to shift. I am adamant that my kids never feel any pressure from me, which hopefully let's them establish their own ways of celebrating or not, as works for them. (which led to a big blow-up last year when my son was verbally attacked for ignoring family at holidays)I can see that once all three are good and launched, we truly will do more on our own terms.

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  4. I'm looking forward to afternoons of Christmas music whilst I craft the final gifts.
    I think I must be fortunate in that we have Christmas on our terms. I only did what other people wanted for one Christmas. It was K's first Christmas in 1988. We spent some time in the morning with my parents, went home to cook and eat lunch, then went to J's mother's where too many people were squashed into too small a space, and where it was noisy and boozy. I was adamant that it would never happen again, and it didn't. If people didn't like it, then it was tough. It was our Christmas too, and we'd spent it pleasing other people, so we vowed, never again. J's family have Christmas in an entirely different way, so we have never got involved in it at all since then; in fact they are so very different to us that we rarely see any of them, which suits us very well. That just leaves our daughters, son-in-law and my Mum. We are all on the same page where Christmas is concerned - we're all happy with whatever any of us chooses to do. The girls know that there is no expectation for us to even see them at Christmas if they want to be elsewhere, be that staying at home, going to other family members, or going overseas.

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    1. A Christmas I aspire to have! Baby steps each year, I hope. I'm trying to think when my husbands extended family (aunts and cousins) stopped getting together. I think about 12 years ago after his grandparents passed away, but still even for a decade before, those were casual, just a short weekend party potluck style in a community space.I actually enjoyed them and am hoping both sides soon will release the hold on the two days themselves and all the expectations that come with them. You're always a voice of reason, calm, and reflection, Scarlet.

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  5. Happy Joy Filled Christmas! I am all for celebrating the joy filled events, and letting the rest go!

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    1. Anne, I dub you the queen of joy. You a such a good example of doing hwat makes you and your immediate family happy while giving to others with genuine joy.

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