A few years ago our current suburb declared themselves the Christmas Capital of our fair state.
I am not sure if this title was earned, coined by the suburb herself, or rightfully won in a duel but alas we currently reside in all things Christmas.
Signs of Christmas begin to appear mid-October around here. That may sound like a Hallmark movie, especially since we have a quaint historic Main Street and a small town feel despite living in a large suburb. However, it is still in the mid 90’s temperature wise here in October so the picture one gets is workers in shorts and t-shirts beginning to hang snow globes and holly around the town.
By Thanksgiving, our burb is in 100% festive mode. All trees are lit, garland is hung in every imaginable place, and a 20 foot reindeer greets all visitors to our historic district. Local stations blare commercials advertising this majestic Christmas Capital of our state, advertising there are over 1,400 Christmas events to take part of just in our little suburb.
Let that sink in a bit….1,400.
The 24 days counting down to Christmas are more than enough to stress a mama out. Now we have 1,400 Christmas-themed events right at our fingertips to partake in to ensure we experience all sorts of holiday joy this season.
This mama is saying “No Thank You.”
Saving Christmas for our families hinges on our ability to see past the hype, to understand that we do not have to do everything and the season will be just fine.
In fact we have to do so very little and our families will be okay.
The week of Thanksgiving our little family of four loaded up and set out for the town’s tree lighting. In years past, this event has been quaint and a fairly low-key deal. When it rolled around again this year, the tree lighting seemed like a fun event. The weather was perfect, the kids were off from school and extra-curricular activities, and the husband was home early for work. It seemed like an excellent formula for our family to head out and start getting into the Christmas spirit a bit early.
We did not calculate into the equation that thousands of others would have the same idea.
Apparently attending the tree lighting ceremony was on this list of 1,400 things to do in our suburb and everyone in all the metroplex decided to cross it off their holiday bucket list.
When it became quite evident that this holiday event was going to stir up more frustration than cheer (Read: We could not even see the stage where the tree lighting was set to occur due to the crowds), the husband and I made the quick decision to ditch the event and head back to the car.
Were the children disappointed? Yes.
Do they even remember two and a half weeks later they did not actually see the town’s tree lit? Nope.
We made a fast decision to save our Christmas in that moment. Tree lightings seem fun and nostalgic, but waiting for hours for it to begin only to realize that our view was blocked is not my definition of fun.
The season is busy in and of itself. Adding the stress of believing we must attend certain events or do particular activities to make the most of this last month of the year makes us all a bit crazy.
Let me tell you, mama, that you do not have to do it all. You do not have to move an elf every night. You do not have to wrap up 24 books to open as a literary countdown to Christmas. You do not have to attend every lighting, party, gala, cookie decorating party, and Santa sighting possible.
In fact, choose three.
Choose three things you and your family are going to do this year. Perhaps you will hit up a parade, attend one party, and drive around and look at lights one evening.
When we are diligent in our choices, our choices become more enjoyable.
When we rush frantically between events, our choices become exhausting.
Your children will survive if they attend only a small handful of Christmas events. In ten years, they will not remember how much they experienced during the 2016 holiday season.
They will remember the quality of time spent with their families, if their parents were calm and pleasant rather than stressed and frantic.
In the spirit of giving, share what your three things you may choose to do this holiday season. Perhaps you have already accomplished them or maybe you plan to tackle them in the next 12 days.
A winner will be randomly selected on Monday December 20th for a Starbucks gift card…perhaps to use as a way to enjoy one of those three holiday events.