The holiday season is always a whirlwind of activities and shopping and lists and gatherings. It's fun and festive, but can also get overwhelming. This year, due in part to sickness, in part to circumstance, and in part to conscious decision, we have cut back, slowed down, and really enjoyed getting ready for Christmas.
In years past, we've taken Staley to Monticello for the Polar Express. We've attended the church Christmas program that takes place in the afternoon. We've gone to my work Christmas party. We've attended the State Farm event to meet Santa. In past years, Christmas shopping has been kept to the last minute. Christmas baking has been time consuming. We've felt the need to squeeze in every Christmas event and Christmas activity that is offered to give our children the best Christmas experience.
This year we chose not to spend the time and the money on the Polar Express. We missed my work Christmas party due to illness, and chose to skip the church Christmas program as Staley's class was singing one song right in the middle of nap/rest time. We did not attend the State Farm Santa visit as we have chosen not to include Santa as a regular part of our Christmas traditions. We spread out our Christmas shopping over the past several months with limited December shopping to do and kept our Christmas baking to a minimum.
Instead, we've spent more time at home as a family. We've read lots of Christmas stories and done Christmas crafts. We've been singing Christmas carols. Our nightly advent calendar (a gift from some close friends and neighbors) has been a highlight for the girls. We take the scenic route home from evening events looking at Christmas lights, and the girls really enjoyed the Festival of Lights. Staley got to go to Christmas story time, and I enjoyed visiting Staley's pre-school class to take part in their Christmas party. But our recent days have been primarily spent at home, and that's been really nice.
I love Christmas traditions. I like getting caught up in the spirit of the season. I'm looking forward to special time with both sides of the family. I love shopping for the perfect gift, delivering goodies to neighbors, and watching my girls get excited about making gifts for others. And I think that removing some of the clutter, the extras, the unnecessary busy-ness has really allowed us to focus on what Christmas is really about.