I slipped into a local discount store early this morning before coming to work (7:30 am is the best time to frequent that type of establishment) and was greeted by an enormous twinkling evergreen in the entry way. The store displays have completely shifted to red and green. The message is clear. Buy stuff.
Honestly, amid the 60 degree weather we have been experiencing here in the midwest, I find it a little jolting. First, because I want to enjoy the season now. Fall. Thanksgiving. Secondly, because I start to panic a little. December is so short. And, (here is comes) How will I ever get it all done! How will I manage creating a perfect, Pinterest quality Christmas experience for my family! I don't have enough hours. I don't have enough imagination. I can't even think of ONE THING that (insert name here) needs or wants! HELP!
I know in my heart that I want to simplify, keep the true meaning of Christmas and not get caught up in a rat-race that is devoid of real meaning and full of consumerism. That is my heart's desire, but I am still learning. And, I still see myself as the "keeper of Christmas" and the one responsible for creating the MAGIC that I still secretly long for.
I am guessing that you may struggle with similar thoughts and attitudes. You want to create a magical and wonderful season. You need to get through curriculum with your kiddos. You want to create magical experiences. You have gifts to buy and make. Shopping trips to take. Meals to plan. Decorations to put in place...
I am here to say that NOW is the time to decide how this December will be different. Today is the day to sit down and make a different type of list and give yourself permission to cut a few things out and make December less chaotic and more meaningful.
If you have fallen into the trap of thinking that your kids want lots of presents. Watch this IKEA commercial from Spain. Looks to me like what kids really want is presence.
And that goes for the others on your list. What if we gave more presence and took the money we saved and used it to help others. What if we spent more time focusing on acts of kindness in December and took the focus off of self.
http://courtneydefeo.com/light-em-up-2011/ This blog post is a few years old, but Courtney DeFeo has some great ideas for ways to involve your kids in reaching out to others. But here is the key. Read it and put it through the filter of your life and then use the information in a way that makes your life better, not more chaotic.
Your time with young kiddos is short. You are teaching them lifelong lessons every day. Be intentional about the lessons you want to teach. Be intentional about giving your children your presence.