Have Yourself A Half-Assed Little Christmas


The Christmas cards collect dust on a bookshelf. The kids haven’t visited Santa. I never replaced the glass ornaments that my 2-year old smashed just after Thanksgiving in one fell swoop. We haven’t once lit our advent candles. The advent calendar is only partially opened. We never did put the lights up on the outside of our house. I also forgot to buy poinsettias.

The older I get, the less I am “into” all the frills of the holidays. I love putting out my holiday placemats and the snowman centerpiece for my kitchen island. I love playing Christmas music all day long and sitting by the fire with hot cocoa. I like baking cookies, too (though I have yet to bake them this season). I love egg nog and receiving cards from family and friends. But I hate putting up the tree, getting decorations out of the basement, and buying presents that no one really needs.

I love Christmas, but without all the trimmings.

I love having a great excuse to see people I care about. We’ve spent every weekend since Thanksgiving with our friends. The first weekend in December we were at the home of my writing buddy and her family. Last weekend we had over  a dear friend from college and her family. Saturday, we had a lovely visit with our niece on the way home from college, then yesterday we cooked lunch for two other families we adore. The kids played outside in the cold air of the backyard and ran in and out of the house with mud on their shoes. Five extra kids from the neighborhood shared in the meal.

I think when my kids go off to college, I will quit setting up the Christmas tree, and dispense of hanging stockings. I’ll hold off on Christmas cards. I’ll give away most of our decorations.

Instead, I’ll use all the time I would have spent decorating or wrapping gifts, inviting friends over to share share in a cup of tea or a meal.

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3 thoughts on “Have Yourself A Half-Assed Little Christmas

  1. I’m having some holiday ennui too, and found that eliminating the “extra” holiday stuff has given what we’ve kept more meaning. I know, so trite, but so true. The boys have loved having candlelight at dinner, and did red and green paper chains to count down the days. We have had visitors almost all week, and that was way better than lifeless decor.
    As we’ve unpacked things, I’ve started a new box: church baskets. Every year, my sister in law creates baskets for the church to give to homebound folks who are unlikely to receive much. So I’m taking the stocking stuffers never stuffed, the candleholders that are going unused, and all the other decor that I once loved but that doesn’t fit and I don’t see fitting again. And I’m hoping it makes someone else’s holiday a little happier!

  2. I too have pared down this year, but still love the house when it’s all gussied up. I like it even better when we have company, but we’re not having any this year (boo hoo). There’s something so special about either visiting or having visitors this time of year with the visions of hot chocolate and eggnog, etc. Oh the pretty, twinkly white lights all over the house (inside and out) and candles and the fireplace lit all make for a very cozy atmosphere. My boys love eating at the dining room table by candlelight (even though they’re 11 and 14), so we do that often this time of year. However, I can totally understand your feelings about ditching the trimmings. There is one bag of decorations I just can’t bring myself to put up, and for the first time in 14 years, I let my boys decorate the tree and I never moved a single ornament. I also let them make some decisions about our activities over the holidays, and it was quite freeing to let someone else decide something for once.

    It looks like you may have learned already what it has taken me years…ditch all the stuff you don’t love and stick to the stuff that matters. Good for you!

  3. I hear ya. The present-buying this year was especially blah. My kids are beyond being excited by Santa or even Christmas morning more generally and they don’t really need anything. When I was a kid, big ticket items were only purchased at Christmas. For my kids, we just save up and buy something when we feel like it. And we do the same for ourselves.

    I like having people over, and the only real reason to decorate in my mind would be for those festivities. Alas, it’s likely just us this year, so the decorations mostly stayed in the basement. We did do a tree and the stockings–but the other knickknacks, not so much.

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