I know. It sounds horrible. Hear me out, though.
Each year, my family and I exchange Christmas lists.
And each year, the one Christmas gift that my mom loves the most is a wall calendar that includes different picture collages of her grandkids as each month’s cover photo. And, I always end up mass producing different versions of the calendar to share with my in-laws and members of my extended family. Yes…my choice.
When I started this tradition 7 years ago, I had no idea how much more complicated it would become as our family grew. At the time, we had a 1-year-old daughter. At that time, our Christmastime ‘traditions’ included seeing Santa, gift shopping for the family, and giving our one childcare provider a gift.
Fast forward to present day.
We have two kiddos, a very hairy new dog, and we’ve added to the list of Christmas time traditions that we love to do together.
We hang outside lights, select and decorate a real tree (used to be a faker), look at all the tacky lights in RVA (which is enough to fill up December on its own), make gingerbread houses, shop for each other, see the trains at the Great Big Greenhouse, and go to some sort of light display, whether it’s at Lewis Ginter, Kings Dominion, or one up in my husband’s hometown of Annapolis.
And, from the Christmas gift giving angel, we give to two teachers for our kiddos, a bus driver, have ‘gifts’ planned for almost everyone at my husband’s school, and the kids have some BFFs that they want to buy for, also.
When our daughter was one, Christmas morning was as simple as getting a musical activity table from Santa and a couple of books from us. Now, our holiday ‘to-dos’, although so much fun, have grown a lot.
And, I’m actively choosing to simplify our family life. Always.
So, the idea of wading through hundreds of digital photos from my phone, my husband’s phone, and our computer and then organizing them on an annual calendar has started to complicate the season. A few years back, we cut out sending photo Christmas cards because it just ended up taking so much out of us including time, money, and brainpower.
And now, the pressure of building these calendars weighs heavy on my to-do list.
But, my mom loves this calendar. It hangs in her kitchen and she uses it every day. So, for a few years now, I’ve ‘powered’ through and put the calendar together. But, in order to get them delivered by Christmas, they have to be ordered before school even gets out.
So, right smack dab in the middle of…
- school parties
- two different Grinch days to keep straight (good gravy…the days of wearing certain colors are, for sure, my nemesis)
- my hubs celebrating at his job
- my trying to wrap up work so I can take the two weeks and focus on fun…
…and I’m hunched over the computer after the kiddos head to bed. Oy. I’m crying, “Uncle!”
So, this weekend, I let myself sit in a space where I envisioned NOT making the calendars. And, instantly, I realized how freeing it felt. I even imagined I could leisurely make the calendars over the Christmas break. It would be easy to fit in when most of our shopping was done and our days would be filled with relaxing and enjoying the season. And, that’s how I made the decision.
But, I still had to break the news to my mom about her Christmas gift.
Not surprisingly, she was totally supportive, if not a little bit disappointed. I made sure she knew that I wasn’t committing to NEVER making the calendar. I just knew it wouldn’t be here by Christmas day.
I’ll definitely go through the pictures from the year and have several printed, which will be a first step in designing an actual calendar. And, I really do have high hopes of completing it during the week between Christmas and New Years…unless we go skiing…