As I write this, I still haven’t made the cranberry bread.
It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and for the first time in probably a decade, we didn’t make the cranberry bread.
Usually we make multiple loaves, and give it to family and friends. But this year, family and friends agreed that sharing food wasn’t a good idea, and so we skipped it.
Would you rather listen to this post?
I was still planning on making a loaf just for us for Thanksgiving morning. Except the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I was tired. Like, drag-me-off-the-couch-to-put-in-frozen-pizzas-tired.
I would be scared about this level of exhaustion, except my friends and I talk about it constantly. We talk about problems with word retrieval and temporarily forgetting which key goes into which lock.
One of those friends sent me this article, which helped me find enormous peace, especially with Christmas approaching.
Because the truth is, I’m worried about Christmas, because I’m tired and feeling a little Scroogy.
A Guide to a More Peaceful Christmas
This isn’t easy
I know Scrooge was cheap and angry, and I’m neither of those things, but since March when we went into Covid lockdown, I’ve had a hard time putting together traditional holiday celebrations.
Easter was a muted affair.
For my birthday, I almost didn’t want to celebrate. (Although I did enjoy the Japanese carry-out my husband brought home and the cake my daughter made).
And when my husband’s birthday rolled around 3 days later, I felt pretty good about tracking down some fun gifts … except I forgot to save even one good idea for Father’s Day, a month later.
I thought Halloween was going to be the hardest. I usually LOVE Halloween.
But Thanksgiving? It felt way off. Normally we spend the evening playing games with friends, and this year, with just the four of us, we struggled to find our rhythm. We finally did, but it was an exhausting day – I slept until 10:30 the next morning and was the FIRST one up.
So is it any wonder, that on the eve of Advent, I’m sweating about whether we’ll have a peaceful Christmas?
Perhaps you’re feeling this same stress.
I think this year would be especially hard with little kids. It seems so unfair to me that the time when you want to create Christmas magic the most for your kids is the time when they are youngest and you have the least energy.
So first, I think we need to be incredibly kind to ourselves this year when it comes to the winter holidays.
Things might look different, and that’s OK. In fact, we recently talked to Tsh Oxenrider on The Homeschool Sisters Podcast, and she pointed out that this is a great year to mix things up or try something completely different.
I have a friend who instead of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year, did a Superbowl style party with appetizers, dips and finger food.
Maybe we should just embrace that nothing is normal?
On the other hand, a few old traditions can be grounding. For instance, our family celebrates Jolabokaflod. Everyone gets a new book and some chocolate on Christmas Eve.
I’ve always loved this tradition because it’s simple. So this is one I can handle this year.
I also loved Tsh’s idea of extending the holiday with the traditional 12 days of christmas, Christmas Day through January 6, Epiphany.
She pointed out in our interview that that’s when her family does activities like baking cookies.
Actually, our favorite time of year has always been the week between Christmas and New Year’s. We stay up late, sleep in, eat leftover cinnamon rolls and drink gallons of hot chocolate. We always have a puzzle going, listen to audiobooks, play lots of games and watch movies.
More Joy, Less Pressure = A More Peaceful Christmas
This year, things are bound to be different. I hope that you’re able to let yourself off the hook a bit with the things that don’t bring joy anyway (around here that means Christmas cards – all the ordering and addressing makes me sweaty).
Instead, go all-in on your family’s favorite things, even if they are a bit non-traditional.
Focus on time together – the gift of family – and the hope that 2021 will be a bit brighter.
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It’s nice to know I’m not the only one feeling a bit Scrooge-ish!
We’ve altered some of the other holidays since March but I’m feeling stumped on changing Christmas without traveling. I think it’s also hard because my kids are older and expect traditional happenings.
Maybe you can talk with them about how things are different this year and ask them what their favorite traditions are and what you guys can all come up with together and make happen. Maybe they can be more involved in making their favorite (possible) things happen?
Giving them more responsibility in the traditions is a great idea!