Thursday, October 27, 2011

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

No, it’s not Christmas yet, and I (Stephanie) loathe beginning Christmas celebrations before Thanksgiving has come and gone. I don't intend to offend those of you who already have the mistletoe hung, the icicle lights lit outside your home, the Christmas music playing in your home and the antlers on your car. However, my brain can really only fully take in one holiday at a time. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and unfortunately it is too often glossed over. We don't spend nearly enough time in our lives being grateful. For everything and for nothing in particular.
With all that being said, in recent years I have preferred to complete as much of my Christmas gift shopping and gift making before mid-November. It started a few years ago when our third child was due in mid-November, and my anxiety about tackling Castleton traffic and the malls with 3 kids under 3, including a newborn, alone. The next year I did the same, after seeing how much more I enjoyed the Christmas season with removing December shopping from the equation. Last year I took it a step further, with our fourth baby due around Halloween, so I did most of the shopping before November and saved only my handmade gifts to complete after Eliza’s arrival.
This year, I’m not quite as ahead of the game, but am still planning to complete my shopping by mid-November and finish up the handmade gifts by early December again. If you’ve never experienced a December without a mile-long shopping list, I cannot describe for you what a freeing feeling it is. I’ve enjoyed Christmas so much more with this approach—and we have always kept it pretty simple in the gift-giving department to begin with. But I’ll save that for another post.
With my shopping list eliminated and, in turn, my to-do list shrunk, I have found so much more time to do the most fun things of all. Such as: our daily Christmas Countdown and Advent activities, enjoying many of the special holiday happenings around Indianapolis, and being completely present at holiday gatherings. Best of all, it allows more time to reflect upon why Christmas is important to me, as an individual. Personally, it symbolizes the coming of a baby who grew up to be my Christ, and something that requires more than a token glance to fully absorb. When I take the time to remember, I am completely overwhelmed, and that’s only made possible by creating the space for experiencing the season.
Perhaps Christmas bears a different reason for importance to you. Or you celebrate a different December holiday. Wherever you are coming from, I think that we can agree that in the busyness that December can become, the most important can be shoved far to the back-burner and become an afterthought. November has not yet arrived. It’s not too late to decide that you want to do December differently this year. It may be your best December yet!

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