Friday, January 6, 2012

Post Christmas - what are you thinking?

You know the spend hours decorating, crafting, menu planning and sometimes vacation coordinating for the holidays.  If you're lucky, like I was here, my adorable and nimble future DIL helped me put up the tree and spend a few days getting in the spirit of things.

And the time rolls in, the gifts are purchased and the cards are sent.  Stockings are filled and luggage is being packed.  Things are rolling right along and the fun begins......

Then the holiday time starts.  For us, this year we were blessed with some real down time; December 21st - Jan 2nd.  What a great extended period of time to just soak in the season!  Right?

Then the traveling began and the car stops and the gas fill ups and the road meals and the coordinating with others and the packed cooler for the road, the Christmas Eve leftovers so they didn't go to waste and the car overloaded!

We are and were blessed.  No doubt.  But as a new couple (married less than 5 years and blending two families together with all adult children) we have some learning to do and we started to really dig into this big family stuff this year.  We have four adult/college aged children.  Three of the four have "attachments" as we call them.  Of the seven of the group we now consider our children, five work, three are full time students and one is a full time student and works, and finally one of them and their attachment has a child.  (Sigh)  Can you feel it already?  Who's off when?  When will  you visit, can you join us here or there, will you make it for one day or three or five?  When do you have to visit his family/her family/his dad/his mom/her dad, etc etc.  Ahhhhh, the joys of blended families.

Jan 1 rolls around..........and hubby wakes early.  "Let's get on the road.  I just want to be home, have some alone time before work starts again on the 3rd." 

Nay I say it?  We wore ourselves out and though we love our children and our growing family.....we also love our quiet lives and face it, we aren't 20 anymore!  There's a reason we don't have children at 50; because the hectic-ness of 20something life and children and all that goes along with it, we've been there, done that. 

I loved visiting our oldest child and her new hubby and grandchild at their home in Louisiana.  We took in some sights, had some great photography ops and really enjoyed the "out of state" vacation but home has its pleasures too and what we learned was this:

*  Big families fill your hearts and empty your pocketbooks.  
*  Loving them isn't measured by how much you spend on them.
*  Trying to get everyone together at one time in one place just might not happen!
*  Norman Rockwell needs to be re-painted; holidays just don't look like that anymore.
*  Killing ourselves to create "it" won't make it anymore special, it'll just make you more tired.
*  Balancing your time off with some away, some at home is key.
*  Remember that the holidays are for everyone; including YOU! 
*  Building your holidays around others means you might not have the holiday you dreamed.
*  Remember, no matter how old you are, Christmas and New Years are still magical.
*  Live the magic, not the chaos.
*  Avoid Black Friday!  The sales continue long after that one day and are sometimes better!
*  If you didn't come home with more memories & pictures than presents, you might rethink things next year.
*  Finally, learn from this year or last year and do less planning and more enjoying.

I cooked a traditional Christmas dinner this year, I had presents all done, wrapped, stockings filled and under the tree for almost the entire month of December for that "picture perfect" look.  It didn't add much to life other than I wasn't out buying presents in the fray of people but I still had to go to Wal-Mart and the grocery store for weekly needs and therefore couldn't avoid the chaos even if I wanted to, so sad!  I wrapped up the Christmas dinner and it traveled 300 miles so it "wouldn't go bad".  Why didn't I freeze it instead and save the space in the car?

In the end, the one picture I didn't get was that overly packed car for our trip to Louisiana.  What I did get was over worked and over tired by the time our business started back up on the 3rd and despite the good times, the laughs, the ohhhhhhhhhhs and ahhhhhhhhhhhs of the gift exchanging our vacation slipped away with other things we didn't count on.  People got cranky with each other and not everyone agrees on how to spend time during their time off.  There is such a thing as too much family when you're talking five different homes trying to celebrate together and we never learned how to all live together as the Walton's once did.  I wished we had, but we didn't.

They say good things come in small packages and I believe the same is true when it comes to the way we spend our holidays.  Next year I'm going to craft more, cook more, create more and enjoy more.  I am not going to worry how much I spent on who.  I am going to avoid Black Friday, avoid long trips unless we are going somewhere exotic and alone!  I am going to burn candles every day or any day I want and not end with partially burned candles as I pack up the decorations!  I am going to get the cards out that I want to send and not worry about who I "should" send them to for appearances sake.  I am not going to forget last year.  I am going to remember why I celebrate Christmas and I am going to make Christ and His family more a central part of the season than we did this year.

Post Christmas and what am I thinking?  I'm thinking we learned a lot, loved a lot and did a lot wrong.  I'm thinking we're going to enjoy next year more because of the mistakes we made this year.  I'm thinking that it's a New Year and that means new everything from the inside out and I'm going to love making changes in me and in my home!

I'm also going to rest.  Right now, each day and when I need to; and I'm going to make each day count. Not just Christmas but each and every day a celebration of Christ, what He did for me and what He gives me each day as we go along.

And I'm going to blog.  That's what I'm thinking.  What about you?

Oh, and I'm going to thank God for my dear husband, who makes my life more than I could have dreamed it could be!  Happy New Year everyone!


Miss Molly said...

Your bullet points made me laugh - i agree with ALL of them!!! This year it was a little easier for us since we moved to Alaska and just had to deal with it being just us :)

Jackie said...

We had a very nice Christmas this year. We spent the day with new friends & had so much's a new tradition that we're going to enjoy for many years!!!!!

Sarah Bennett said...

What a great post! I love your list of things learned. Fun to read and even giggle at , but all are absolutely the truth!