I overheard two women in the coffee shop today chatting about how crazy!busy!overwhelming!stressful! the holiday season is for them, and naturally, proceeded to eavesdrop on their entire conversation. I’m always intrigued by how others define stress and how we – as human beings – are so good at making life so, so hard. And here’s what I heard:
“We’ve got The Greens coming to stay this weekend so I have to bake the cinnamon rolls, and Molly expects me to be at her place by noon for cookie-decorating but then we have to get to Charlotte’s choir concert by 4 and how am I going to get dinner on the table? I mean, we haven’t even started our advent calendar yet!”
The conversation continued until both ladies had visions of acupuncture dancing in their heads, and gracious, I was right there with them. With the go-go-go of commitments and deadlines and expectations – it’s no wonder they weren’t thrilled to embrace the season. And to be quite honest, I have a really hard time justifying the publishing of another article about how frenzied the holidays are. Because in our house? They’re not.
We’re the lazy type. We don’t have Christmas lights hanging outside. There’s no Elf-on-the-Shelfing. And we certainly aren’t baking cinnamon rolls from scratch.
What we are doing is this: saying no to everything that doesn’t feel like a celebration. (Which, for us, is nearly everything that doesn’t involve Bing Crosby on Pandora, red wine and snuggling indoors, chasing the baby around the house while the snow falls outside.)
For me, the secret to a relaxing holiday season is all in the delegation: Nestle bakes my cookies, Amazon.com picks out my gifts, and “Free shipping” mails my packages. The expectations are low, the season is bright.
A few years ago, I was gifted the most beautiful advent calendar, perfectly primed for a series of maximum holiday celebrations. There were tiny cards for different event/activity prompts like ice-skating and caroling and cookie-decorating and all of the -ings we’re supposed to take part in throughout the month of December. And each year, my husband and I hung the advent calendar, but “forgot” to partake in any of the activities – except, of course, December 4th: watch a Christmas movie.
This year, we’ve wised up and created an entire advent calendar centered around our favorite activity: twenty-five days, twenty-five movies, twenty-five glorious evenings on the couch, wine in hand, relaxation in heart.
It’s our holly jolly lazy Christmas. And there’s not a frenzy in sight.
Care to join us? It won’t be picturesque or Pinterest-worthy, but it’s sure to be calm – just like those silent nights dear Bing sings about.