De-Stressing Christmas




This morning I read a post on a blog I visit often about the stresses of the Christmas holidays and of gift giving. It made me kind of sad. It made me want to give another side of the story. For me, I don't feel all stressed out by the holidays or feel the pressure of the commercialism...yes, I know it exists and that its real for so many people but that is again choice. Long before the first fall leaves cascade down from the branches and the nippy winds begin to blow, I am thinking of what I want to give in appreciation to people I love and for dear friends. This is not a burden, but a pleasure. There are no gift cards on my list for anyone, but little tokens of appreciation. Christmas is a time of love, deep and profound love. The very same kind of love that God showed when He gave us His son, with the gift of salvation and love along with this babies birth. It is a joy to sit and wrap a gift tied up with heartstrings of love. To cook and bake seasonal delights to celebrate a season of joy and love. Plan for this holiday season throughout the year. In July or August when shopping or crafting, think of gift giving in December. Don't cave into the fancy ads for expensive gifts, think of simple things. Perhaps a hand made pillow case with a Bible verse on it, a promise. A basket of baked goods for someone that has no one to bake for them. A book that will delight and inspire for many years.
Perhaps some music or flowers. We have a limit for spending in our house. It may seem a bit cheap to some but it has always worked well for us. No more than $25 for a gift for the children, and not more than $20 for each extended family members gift. On friends we spend $10 each or less. A total of $400 spent. Several of Emery's gifts have come from the thrift store. He will love them, that I know. When the children were small, their gifts were often found at flea markets and yard sales. Clean and bright as new. Well loved all the same. Most of the gifts I gave when the children were small were handmade.
I don't think about what others spend on us, that is not the point of gift giving. If someone bought me a new car or a favorite candy bar I would love each gift the same. I don't feel the need to "keep up".
My holiday baking is done in bits, cookie dough made in advance. Gingerbread cookie dough keeps for a couple weeks in the refrigerator. Pie crusts made well in advance and frozen. Tasty quick breads made and put in the freezer. The house decorated simply, and with love. A party planned every year. This year the theme will be Christmas 1899 on the prairie. Simple foods, friends being the focus. Lots of laughter and good cheer. The house will be full but with no sign of commercialism. The choice is ours how we celebrate and how much we allow the impact of the modern world steal our joy. My shopping has long been done, my gifts made that need to be made and all that is in front of me is childlike enthusiasm and joy for a holiday season full of hope and fun. Tis a gift to give, for in giving we too receive.
The top picture is Christmas 1944, so simple yet so full of joy for what the holiday is really about. Actual stockings worn by my mother, grandmother and Aunt were hung from the mantle, gifts wrapped in simple white tissue paper. Gifts were as simple as their wrapping. The tree decorated humbly, not a fashion statement to match the homes decor.
It is always our choice on how much we let the influence of society influence the way we celebrate. The simple joy of the holiday is still there for the taking !

Comments

The "girl" said…
Hi - Could you share the name of the blog? I'm really trying to destress Christmas. For the first time ever, I want to truly enjoy the holiday! Thanks - Beth
Patty said…
It was pretty negetive about Christmas, not sure you want to read it : )
Rondi said…
I'm totally with you on the joys of giving. I love planning out my gifts and finding just the right thing. I love shopping for, or making, the perfect gift. I think it's great fun. My sisters are not shoppers, though. They are givers, but in very different ways. To each, their own, at least in my family =)
Patty said…
I would be happy shopping or not shopping for Christmas, just fun in giving. I often think when reading some old book or little house books, how much fun it was to hide what you were making for a loved one until Christmas. Something exciting about that.
Catherine said…
I love this post! I don't stress about Christmas either. I plan well in advance of the holiday, and try to get things done a little at a time. There is way too much commercialism associated with Christmas and it takes away from what this season is truly all about...the birth of our Lord.
WONDERFUL post!! Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I am having such fun reading your posts.
Marianna said…
Wonderful post Patty.
Foxy5 said…
beautiful post. I like to think that I'm not stressed at this time of year, and for the most part I'm not. Sometimes the thought of all the baking to be done overwhelms me but you have put it all back into perspective. This was truly a wonderful thing to read this morning. thankyou. :)
Munkamama said…
I am not stressed this time of year either - b/c I've been thinking, planning and shopping throughout the year.

I really liked what you said "it is a joy to sit and wrap a gift tied up with heartstrings of love."

What I don't appreciate is the damper some of our extended family puts on the whole season.

Complaints about how hard it is to buy gifts when they have children (not financially - just going out shopping), or they don't know what people like (ummm well maybe you could ask them or someone in the family for some help), guess I'll just give money (thoughtless way out).

Don't wait til the last minute! You have 12 months in the year - take some time and effort and think and plan ahead of time.

Perhaps I sound bitter - I just find that it's hard to get the "Christmas spirit" when you deal with the above comments (not just for Xmas do I hear them, but birthdays too in some cases). I don't want to hear about how much you HATE shopping!

Think of it as a honor, a joy to come up with something your friend, spouse or child would enjoy.

And it doesn't have to cost a lot of money - but it may cost a lot of time in advance.
Thrifty Gal said…
This is a wonderful post...I would like to celebration Christmas the way you describe. Now I just have to get my family to go along with it. :)
Christi said…
Beautiful post - thanks for sharing!
carrie said…
Patty,

This doesn't sound cheap to me--it sounds sensible! Having a stressful Christmas season does not sound enjoyable to me. I start early enough that I can take my time with the preparations.

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