Simply Having a Simple Christmastime

This is my second Christmas as a mom, and it really feels true that the magic comes back once you have a little one. It's certainly stressful once you're the adult, between doing the shopping, planning or attending the parties and figuring out the Tetris of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day events.

This year, we decided to simplify a bit. Part of it was intentional, and part of it just happened that way. And at this stage in the Christmas season, I'm honestly grateful for the minimalism.

My husband and I decided not to go overboard on gifts for Ari and our families, and at first, I felt like I was skimping on gifts for Christmas morning and from Santa. But my husband rightly pointed out that gifts are not the ultimate reason for the season, Ari doesn't yet understand Santa, and she has a loving family who will help ensure that she has plenty of wrapping paper to play with!

We've minimized in a few ways, and it's felt refreshing amongst an already stressful time.

Partly due to having a toddler who is now walking, we chose to get a smaller Christmas tree that would fit atop a table in our home. She can't reach the tree or the ornaments, and it's further fortified with a baby gate. The tree we chose is skinnier, so it's not an overwhelming addition to the room, and it's beautiful in our space. It was a lot of fun to decorate together while we played Christmas of my favorite traditions.

This past weekend, we got the bulk of our Christmas shopping done in one afternoon. I remarked to my husband that I'd been seeing so many email newsletters and business social media posts about online shopping deadlines and last-minute shopping, but I frankly wasn't feeling panic that we were just getting our shopping done. I think it helped that we had a smaller list of gifts to buy in the first place. Now we just need to wrap gifts - with recyclable kraft paper and reused gift bags, of course.

Probably the biggest source of stress for me is putting together and keeping up with our schedule of commitments. We've had a couple parties or gatherings so far, but the bulk of them are coming up in the next two weeks. I made the decision at the beginning of the month that I was not going to buy any new outfits for all our events when I have a full closet. I set aside some holiday-appropriate dresses in my closet and decided that my challenge is going to be to wear items I've already worn. While it feels strange to make a challenge out of something so mundane, I feel more inspired to be creative and either mix pieces that I've never tried together or find other "new" ways to wear something I've worn before.

Our past few weeks have been so full of things that make me happy: an abundance of Christmas music, our living room lit by our small Christmas tree and Christmas movies on TV just about every evening. As I finish writing this, I've got Home Alone 2 on in the background. I'm looking forward to future holiday seasons full of picking out our Christmas tree, driving around to look at Christmas lights, going to community Christmas events (like Acadian Village and Downtown Lafayette's Christmas) and doing things that give back to the community... just making fun memories while Ariana gets to experience the magic of Christmas.

We got our Santa visit taken care of around Thanksgiving at a local nursery, and we definitely learned Ari is not about Santa just yet. You might think you won't have "the child who cries for Santa" but you totally will have the child who cries for Santa. However, the photo of her crying will be a hilarious memory to add to her first Santa photo...where she's fast asleep.

With the opportunity now to give our daughter magical Christmases, I'm learning that it's also important to show her how magical the simplicity can be. Christmas can be special without having to go overboard...and I think that's something we can all remember sometimes. However, I'm all for going overboard on playing Christmas music for a month and a half straight!

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