Over the years I’ve cut back on all the preparation I make for Christmas. Partly because my children are grown, and my grandchildren have different interests. The other reason is my life is too full to spend the extra time doing as much as I use to.
This year I limited my decorating to my tree, my fireplace mantle and my nativity. Previously I had to clear off tabletops, end tables and bookcases to add more decorations. So much less work, a lovely reminder of the season and definitely less clutter.
I’ve reduced my baking list as well. I used to make peanut brittle, fudge, coconut balls, several kinds of cookies, special cakes and pies. Now it will consist of coconut balls, a fifty-year-old family candy and a few kinds of cookies. Oh yes, I’ll be helping the granddaughters bake pumpkin bread to give as gifts.
Now that my children are grown they do a lot of Christmas baking themselves. I will decorate sugar cookies to connect with my grandchildren and make a memory. But we will make less. Back when my five children and I did them, half the neighborhood kids would join us, and we’d make a ton of cookies, have great fun and send each child home with the cookies they decorated. But now it feels like so much more work with fewer kids who tend to get tired or bored before they are all done.
I used to send out many Christmas cards with a newsletter to all my family and a few friends. I haven’t sent them out in a few years. Don’t really miss doing it. Social Media keeps me in contact with friends, and if I do a newsletter, it appears online. Most cards I sent were to aunts and uncles who are now passed away.
We will still go see the Christmas displays around town. Driving around with a few grandkids will make it special. We’ve never decorated the outside of the house. I love to see others’ yard displays. I take the attitude of an old Crankshaft cartoon. He took his lights and decorated the neighbors’ house, so he could enjoy looking at them. When we have added lights to the windows they have been on the inside. Illinois winter weather after the Christmas season is often brutal. So, the thought of taking down lights before the mandatory February deadline the city imposes is unappealing.
Simplifying the preparation for the Holidays gives us more time to just relax and enjoy family, friends and Christmas movies. And for a writer, less stress is always priceless.
What Christmas preparation have you eliminated this year? Exchanged for a better plan or kept because your family loves it?