Friday, November 03, 2017

The Year of Three

I have been deep in thought about many things for the last six months or so. Many things in life are complicated because they are things you have no control over.  I've been thinking about the things I can control and how to make them less complicated.

This time of year where Christmas starts to creep into every ones mind. How can it not when you see countdowns on Facebook, Christmas decor and music in the stores. (I won't even go there!)  It seems to be one of those seasons where things can get very complicated. I often ask myself why we have let this happen.  A season that should be filled with hope is many times overshadowed by stress.

I'll be the first to admit that I have over complicated the season many times. How?  One is over planning.  We'll say yes to more things then we should.  I have been working on this for several years and pretty much have it under control.

 Another is trying to over achieve. I will do this in the giving of homemade treats.  I have simplified this to baking cookies with our extended family for our traditional cookie day and then only making two treats in my kitchen.  Besides cookies the favorites have become caramel corn and caramels.  I only make the caramels once a year and the caramel corn usually only one other time besides Christmas.  Not only has this taken away the pressure to be in the kitchen forever it has formed a lasting Christmas tradition around these three treat making days.
Finally is gifts.  That is another area that can get out of control and cause stress.  Sure I love to give and would enjoy giving to everyone.  Honestly, our budget can't support that.  We generally buy a gift for the nieces and nephew on Chucks' side and they buy for Megan. I am putting a stop to that this year.  Number one is that they all receive more then enough gifts from the grandparents.  Number two is the cost factor.  Both of hubbys step-brothers have broken marriages this year.  That has put a financial burden on them.  There is no reason for them to buy gifts for Megan when they could use the money for day to day expenses.  Honestly, it would lessen our burden to not buy for them also.  I really hope that doesn't sound unkind.

As far as gifts within our household we have decided to limit it to three gifts a person and three stocking stuffer's.  We started doing Santa many years ago and so far Megan hasn't lost interest in that.  Santa is also putting a stop to over spending and over indulging.  He will only leave two gifts under the tree for Megan.

I love, love Christmas and I really hope I haven't come off as a scrooge. *smile* I've felt for several years now that we had lost what Christmas was suppose to be and feel like.  I am hopeful that these changes add less stress to the season and bring the joy back into Christmas.

I'd love to hear what you are doing to simplify your busyness and gift giving.  How are you are making Christmas less commerical and more Christ honoring?

***BTW... this is the only post I'll have about Christmas until after Thanksgiving. ***

13 comments:

  1. I think your ideas are great! I have always dreamed of baking treats to give as gifts, but never seem to have time because I always worked outside the home. I've been retired for almost two years and still haven't started baking. I am going to find cookie recipes that I can freeze and hope to do a few here and there. I'm excited!

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  2. I love your ideas and yes, we are too trying to lessen the load. Less is more!

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  3. Yes! I tend to over complicate things in general and the holidays are no exception. I'm constantly being intentional to simplify. We are hosting my husband's family for Thanksgiving this year. I love to cook and bake but with a houseful of overnight guests and all we have been through this year, doing too much will be a recipe for stress and disaster. So I have simplified the menu (still a feast, no worries!) to what will be easier to prepare, especially some things ahead of time.
    We don't give huge amounts of Christmas gifts. We both have small families and we enjoy giving a gift to each person. I usually spend $10 or less per person and often do something homemade or very useful as none of us really need anything and do not like clutter. We give very few gifts otherwise...maybe some baked goods to neighbors, etc but that is it. Last year, we gave games for a family gift to my sister's family. They love board games and it was inexpensive and easy--bought on Amazon and shipped free with Prime. I told her they were coming and she happily wrapped them for us. (They were perfectly happy with a family gift and less clutter.)

    I used to feel like we HAD to do certain traditions in order to have Christmas. Then it would just stress me out and make me cranky. Now, there are certain things we love to do every year and other things we don't always do. Less expectations means a happier holiday season which is so much nicer for all of us.

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  4. Wendy, we do also...If it was all Christ needed (3 gifts, from the Kings) It's all we need. Each year we buy our little girls at home three gifts each. Three for each grand child. We as parents don't buy for one another, we have all we need great health, home, job, clothes, awesome church that is on fire for God. We are blessed! Our oldest daughters and family only buy for the children also. Keeping Christmas simple and full of meaning of Christ birth.

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  5. I don't think you sound like a scrooge at all. You have good sense. It seems we are all pressured to spend, spend, spend at Christmas.

    On the news the other day I heard that studies show that people were spending between $900 and $1000 dollars for Christmas gifts. I'm not sure what the exact amount was, or any other details, because I was so shocked when I heard it, I picked up the remote to hear that again and hit the wrong button, so it was gone.

    I don't know who did those studies, or who the people that are spending that much for Christmas gifts are, but they aren't anyone I know. I suspect the study was done by someone with an interest in getting people to spend even more for Christmas to keep up with the Jones'.

    We now limit Christmas gifts to just immediate family. When I used to work part time, someone in the office decided that we needed to have a gift exchange at work. I did it a few times and then decided that I was only there part time, and not getting rich from the job, and didn't care to participate any more, because that was the year someone decided that we should purchase "gag" gifts. I wasn't just about to waste money that I could be spending on my family with buying a "gag" gift. I think that sometimes it just all snowballs out of hand during the Christmas season.

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  6. I read you every time you post,
    But if I try to leave a very long comment, it clicks off.

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  7. It’s probably my iPad or google account but I wanted to let you know I’m reading.

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  8. And I feel really silly leaving so many short comments but it’s the only way I can talk to you for now

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  9. We are hoping to do mainly homemade gifts this year like we did last year. I do send a gift card to my baby brother and his family for a fun night at the movies and they all seem to enjoy that. It cost less for me to do that than buy a bunch of gifts and then send them in the mail. Plus, it gives them a family night out and with my brother's job taking him away a lot, this has been a blessing for them to slow down and go to a movie of our nephew's choosing. ;)

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  10. I dont think you sound like a 'scrooge' at all! Last year I spent the entire holiday in the kitchen it seemed,making sure everything was "perfect" and missed all the fun and good memories I was trying to give everyone. Definitely making changes this year,simplify and imperfect with love will do. Oh and we also have gone to 3 gifts,and one family gift for the kids not at home.

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  11. I think you sound very wise and it can and will get out of control if we do not reign some of it in, before it is upon us!
    Your thoughts are timely...
    Enjoy November (smiles)
    Hugs, Roxy

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  12. The number one way we simplify our holidays is to find several ways to serve instead of being served... this year we are in the middle of a move and my father-in-law has lung cancer...so, I just went ahead a told everyone "don't plan on us"... if we can make it to things, we will...if not...oh well!

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  13. I love this post and agree Christmas should be more simple. I love all your ideas and the ideas of others. I am very interested in your caramel corn recipe and the caramel you make. My oldest daughter and I make popcorn balls for the first time and were very disappointed in the recipe. We would love to try yours as the picture looks more like what we were wanting. If you don't mind sharing I would appreciate the recipe. God bless.

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