Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom
With less than one week left until Christmas, it’s crunch time. You may have items on your Christmas bucket list that you need to let go of. Across the blogosphere writers now remind us that the time has come to stop the to-do’s, time to embrace imperfection.
Starting today let’s shift our minds out of things-to-do mode and into attitudes-to-nurture mode.
This week is the fabric of memory-making, and the following three attitudes help us weave strong threads within our family without allowing holiday stress to tear our seams apart.
1. The Attitude of Anticipation
In this culture in which instant gratification abounds, anticipation is often forgotten. But looking forward to an event contributes to the happiness of the event itself. Part of our Christmas gift to our children is helping them develop the ability to enjoy before the special day is actually here.
By choosing a simple life this week, we offer our kids, and ourselves, abundant time for imagination–the prelude to the exciting weekend ahead.
Ideas to build anticipation:
- eat simple meals this week
- dine by candlelight in the evenings
- maintain a slow pace before the big day
- stop looking at blogs for new holiday ideas–spend less time online
2. The Attitude of Enjoyment
There’s a strange paradox that sometimes happens when we reach a long awaited moment–we don’t enjoy it as much as we thought we would. But if we learn to nurture our attitude of enjoyment, our holiday can live up to our expectations.
How do we cultivate enjoyment? By delighting in our senses and extending them–the smells, the sounds, the sights, the tastes, the gifts that pass through our hands. Not every special holiday activity needs to occur right upon awakening.
In our home, we open stockings in the morning and have breakfast. We have no family in the area, but we visit a good friend in a nursing home every Christmas morning. When we come back home, the kids open one more present. Then our focus switches to the smells and tastes of preparing Christmas dinner.
Like a new sweater being molded for the perfect fit, we can stretch out each moment for maximum enjoyment.
3. The Attitude of Recollection
The power of remembrance allows the celebration to stay with us much longer than one day. Leaving Christmas behind doesn’t have to be depressing–it’s a natural part of moving toward the next cycle of the year’s rhythm.
My husband is British, and I have loved adopting his tradition of celebrating Boxing Day–the day after Christmas. Instead of an abrupt end to the season and a post-Christmas let-down, we have another day to ease back into our flow of life.
A day for leftovers, one last unopened present awaiting in the basement, time to recall our favorite moments from the day before–a day for recollection.
These moments combined will become our kids “remember when’s.” By cultivating these three attitudes we can make sure their memories are those with the most staying power.
Which attitude comes easier to you: anticipation, enjoyment or recollection? Which is a struggle?
Originally published on December 19, 2011.