How We're Doing Christmas Differently This Year
What comes to mind when you think of Christmas? Are you filled with joyful anticipation of togetherness? For a lot of people, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year (see what I did there). But for some, I know it’s the very opposite. Christmas can bring feelings of unmet expectations, money woes, grief, obligation, and straight up anxiety. For me, memories of the holidays and Christmas aren’t particularly joyful. Last year was hard. Like, we need a do-over hard.
The holidays are usually a mix of gifts, parties, people, food, and a faster pace than normal. I believe in and of themselves, those things aren’t bad. I love a thoughtful gift. My husband’s love language is gifts, so we do some “Amazon wish-listing” in our house. But for us, somewhere along the way our gift-giving turned into consumerism, togetherness turned into family drama and obligation, and rushing to and from events caused a cranky baby and unhappy mom. So this year, we just need a different experience.
The catalyst for all of this “different” thinking was probably our (almost) two year old daughter, Everly. She really has no opinion of the Christmas situation, but I want to be mindful for her right now since she can’t make those decisions. I want to be more mindful of what we are teaching her with our conversations, the way we spend our money, and how we spend our time.
Here are some ways we’ll be doing Christmas different this year:
We’re slowing down. For us, this time of year is usually so hectic. Shopping, traffic, parties, cooking, baking, driving. Again, these things aren’t necessarily bad, but for me they have brought a sense of obligation and rush. And let’s be honest, what toddler wants to be rushed from event to event? So we’re just slowing down and making sure the calendar isn’t mayhem. We’re thinking about what we’re saying “yes” to.
We’re being intentional. So many times the holidays fly by and I regret that I didn’t actually “experience” them. Slowing down is helping us make space for intentionality. We are actually leaving open time to do things like drive around to see Christmas lights, walk through Christmas trees at a roadside produce market, decorate Christmas cookies, dance to Christmas music, play with the nativity set and talk about Jesus, read Christmas books, walk through the Christmas section in Target for the 873rd time. We’re trying to be intentional about our Christmas experience.
We’re trading in our presents for presence (Pardon the cliche, I couldn’t resist). This year we’re creating a family experience to celebrate Christmas. Zach and I are asking our family to contribute financially to an experience in lieu of gifts. Will we do this every year? Probably not. But for us, we need a reset button on the idea of gift-giving. Will Santa still visit Everly? Sure, but he’ll be carrying a smaller gift bag this year. For us, we needed a shared experience together this year. And we cannot even wait!
Really, this whole idea of doing Christmas “different” is a total experiment, so we’ll see how it goes. But what I do know is something had to change for our family. Maybe this will turn into a new way of life...a slower, more intentional, more experience-filled way of life.
These are the ways my family needed to do Christmas differently this year, but it might not be the same for you. What ways do you need to do Christmas differently this year?
© 2017 by Ashley Dickson. All rights reserved.
Ashley is a self-proclaimed coffee snob, wife to Zach, momma to Everly, and a forever Florida girl living in the upstate of South Carolina.
She works part time managing content for I Was Broke, Now I’m Not, is co-founder and contributor to Hopetown - a place for people to borrow hope when they need it, is part of the writing team at Newspring Church, and chases around a busy toddler in her spare time.
You can find her on Instagram and Twitter @_ashsickson