It seems like everywhere I go these days on the internet I see mothers rushing, mothers stressed, mothers with too much to do before Christmas. I sort of feel like I’m on a different planet. Like one of my British friends reading about our Fourth of July festivities. We keep Christmas simply around here and it’s very low-key and no stress.
I don’t have a list but if I did it might look like this:
Advent wreath—check (I made my own this year. It was beautiful but it attracted a cloud of fruit flies. Swarms of fruit flies not being a charming seasonal decor, the greenery went out last night. Now I have a plate with a plain metal ring, four candles, and some pine cones.)
Advent calendar—check (Thanks to Dom’s generous co-worker, MJ. We got it on December fourth which isn’t too bad all in all. The girls are loving it, even though there have been some squabbles. And one of the doors has already been torn off.)
Halls decked (a couple strands of garland and some lights, a few candles)—check
Stockings hung—- check
Christmas carols played at least once a day—check
Presents bought on Amazon without having to get out of my chair—check (The kids will each get one modest toy each from Santa and collectively they will get a book about Christmas.)
Holiday dresses for girls—check (Thanks to the generosity of my sister-in-law they’ll be matching in high style.)
I’m not doing Christmas cards. I love sending them out but decided early on that this year they just aren’t happening. (As they haven’t happened the last couple of years.) Maybe some moms can handle Christmas cards and new babies. Not me.
Presents for my family are always exchanged at Epiphany not Christmas. I’ll worry about that after Christmas. Dom’s family is just too big to do a gift for each person so I don’t try. Pathetic but true.
We’re not going to any parties. (Well, actually Dom has an Advent Mass and dinner thing at work tomorrow. But it’s not kid-friendly so I won’t be going. Phew!)
I might bake some cookies with Bella next week. She requested it and we purchased some cookie cutters today.
Christmas dinner. We’ll probably have a modest dinner here and then join Dom’s family for dessert later. I think I’ll cook that turkey I didn’t make at Thanksgiving.
Oh yes, I have to actually wrap those presents.
For me the heart of Christmas is Midnight Mass, which I’ll miss again this year. Ah someday they’ll be old enough….
My parents always kept Christmas pretty low key when I was growing up. Oh it was festive and magical. But we were never allowed to loose sight of the meaning of the holiday.
And Dom and I have never really been able to do Christmas big since we’ve been married. I’ve been pregnant for three of our four Christmases so far. Our first Christmas I was just getting past the first trimester ordeal with Bella. Dom was unemployed on our second Christmas and it was very low-budget, low-key. Our third Christmas I was getting big with Sophie and last Christmas it was Ben that was making me sick. This year I’m not pregnant; but Ben is still very young. He’s, nursing round the clock, and needing to be held all the time. Also, the girls have both started having sleep interruptions. I don’t feel like I’m really back up to speed in keeping up with the simplest tasks like laundry, cooking, doing dishes. I’m not about to try to pile more stress upon myself in trying to achieve some sort of idealized Christmas.
(I’m not saying by the way that anyone who does more than I do is somehow wrong. Just that I know my limitations and am not tempted to exceed them. I’ve got plenty of other temptations, but that isn’t one.)
Yep, I’m keeping my expectations low, my stress low. I suppose as the children get older there will probably be a snowball effect. It will be harder to maintain this spartan simplicity. For now this is enough for us.