Do I really want to simplify this holiday season?

do-i-really-want-to-simplify-this-holiday-season-alaynascreations

Today we are hitting the tail end of what has been one of the most eventful weeks I have had in a very long time.  I’m not sure why things didn’t end up more spread out this month but events seemed to happen back to back to back this week.  We had birthday parties and band concerts and shopping to do and gifts to wrap and elves to supervise (tons of elf on the shelf inspiration here and here if you need it!) and I joined in on a couple of things I don’t normally do for the holidays.  Plus add in keeping up on the routine things like running kids to the orthodontist, checking homework, cleaning the house, volunteering in Tyler’s classroom, paying bills, running errands, and getting the husband to cook dinner as often as possible…

(I’ve been trying to take at least one photo a day for at least a partial attempt at December Daily so feel free to check out what I’ve been up to on my Instagram feed. )

Among all of this I keep seeing mentions of simplifying the holidays on social media and it has me wondering – do I really want to simplify my holidays this year?  Did I somehow take on too much or do it wrong this time around?

I hate feeling like I’m rushed or stressed and typically I’m pretty good at saying “no” to things that will bring too much of that into my life.  I almost always plan ahead and try to get the prep work done for big projects, parties, etc. days or weeks before they need to be done because I dislike doing anything last-minute.  My goal for Christmas is to have the majority of my gift shopping done by December 1st and here it is the 11th and I’m still missing things and in some cases I don’t even had decent gift ideas figured out.

When I pulled out my calendar Thanksgiving weekend and realized that we had committed to sooooooo many things that fell this second week of December I had a moment of panic wondering how we were going to handle it all.  I’ve been hoping daily that I won’t get sick because things would come to screeching halt if I did.  I have had to keep pretty close track of my time and priorities since then.  And there has been more than one night when my elf alarm (yes I set a nightly alarm on my phone for 30 minutes past bedtime to help me remember those elves) went off and I found myself wishing Tyler was ready to move on to being Santa’s helper along with his big sister (not that I ever want to wish my kids older or more experienced and jaded than they are – they grow up WAY too fast already).

But.

I haven’t regretted a single event or plan we made this week.  Not one.

My son had an awesome amazing birthday and a crazy chaotic joyful birthday party (birthday on Monday, party Friday night. blog post to be determined!).

My daughter shone in her band concert, more poised and confidant each time one of these comes around.

Our Bunco Christmas party was a pajama-clad, gift-stealing, fun tradition.

I got to know a lot of great people in the neighborhood and renew acquaintances with other fantastic people I haven’t seen in a long time while I spent hours helping decorating for the church party (a church I don’t actually attend).  It turned out beautifully and there is satisfaction in that along with the pleasure of watching the party itself happen.  I was busy most of the party as well, playing Santa’s helper and the interactions between Santa and the kids, teens, and even the adults were so fun to watch.  (Santa was really on his game yesterday – it was awesome).  PS – I’ll blog about the party details soon!

And for the first time since high school (I think we hit the 20 year reunion this year!) I took the opportunity to sing with a big choir at the community Christmas concert last night (a much bigger event than I knew it would be when I signed up).

So my take-away from this week?

Sometimes putting in the extra effort is totally worth it.

No matter what you are doing or what you may need to be doing in an hour, be fully in the moment and enjoy that one thing on its own.

and

Don’t be afraid to say yes.

Do I recommend filling every week to the brim?  Nope.  Do I want to take on every single thing someone asks me to do?  Nuh-uh.  Do I intend to take one day next week and spend it on the couch binge watching a show, drinking hot chocolate and forgetting everything else for an afternoon?  Absolutely.

Life isn’t about doing only the minimum or cutting out some of the hoopla simply because it’s what other people are doing.  I think we need to give ourselves things to look forward to.

You can’t do everything but you can do anything you choose.

So choose wisely but don’t be afraid to push yourself a bit.  I don’t think you’ll regret it either.

Happy December!
We are now off to the big gingerbread house decorating party with the husband’s family…