Guilt Free Christmas

So, about this Christmas thing coming next week….Wow!  It came fast.  Guess that’s what happens when Thanksgiving falls a little later than usual.

I was actually a little stressed about fitting everything in during the month of December. We head out this Saturday, so I had only three weeks to fit in all the family Christmas fun, shopping, decorating, wrapping, Christmas music listening, card addressing, cookie baking, parade watching… get the idea.

Well, I tackled so much in the first week during my frenzy that these last two weeks have been pretty calm and peaceful. (Ok ok, I’m leaving out the few hours on Saturday morning where I freaked out about only having a week left and I thought I’d never get anything done.Then my list was done the next day.)

I was overwhelmed because I felt like there was so much “Christmas-ing” to do. You know? All those things expected of you during this time of year.  Super cute decorations.  Homemade gifts for your friends and neighbors. Lots of Christmas cookies also for family and friends. Elaborate Elf of the Shelf escapades.

But I let go of the expectations this year. And with that the guilt went out the window too.

I thought I could make my home look like the Pinterest board I created, but nothing turned out the way I envisioned so many of the items I bought went straight to the garage.  We have simple decorations and fewer ornaments on our tree.  I actually wanted to leave off all the ornaments. I loved the way it looked with only lights.

Willow Tree Nativity

I did photo cards this year, after 3 years of wasting spending hours designing them and never printing them because they weren’t perfect. I bought a template this year, stuck our photos in and they were complete and ordered in 30 minutes.  I forgave myself for not writing personal messages to each family.  I simply got the cards out which is what I’ve wanted to do all these years.

I wrapped presents early this year mainly out my need to get amazon boxes out of my living room.  But I accepted the fact that we don’t do fancy wrapping.  The gifts are covered. The information is on them (with a black sharpie, thankyouverymuch).  No bows. No tags. No guilt.

Guilt Free Gift Wrapping

I’ve made one batch of cookies.  Nick’s favorite. I’m ok with that. We’ll have plenty of treats when we see our family.  His mama loves to bake for Christmas.

No Christmas parties. No gifts for friends.  This one I do feel a little sad about.  But I have a plan brewing for how we can connect with our friends all year next year, so I’ll let it slide.

Our Elf, Lulu Sparkles, usually just sits on a shelf. *GASP*  I know!  She should be making trouble or suggesting lots of fun things we can do each day of December (have you seen those Kindess Elves?) Well, sorry. Not this year.  And guess what?  My girls still love her. After all, she is an Elf on the SHELF!

elf on the shelf


We’ve filled our days with little white lights glowing in the kitchen, snuggling up for lots of Christmas movies, planning and buying thoughtful gifts for family members, filling an Operation Christmas Child shoebox, reading Christmas books each night, and most of all remembering Jesus and preparing for his birthday.

This is the first year I’ve done Advent.  I didn’t grow up in a church where Advent was part of the tradition.  As I learn about it and follow an Advent devotional each day for myself, I’m soaking up this new idea and next year I want to incorporate it into our family time.  With candles. What a beautiful way to really focus on the true meaning of the season.

My heart has changed this Christmas and I’m glad I can celebrate in a simple and meaningful way for my family.  It feels good not to worry about how I stack up to those picture perfect ideas floating around on the interwebs.

One comment on “Guilt Free Christmas

  1. It’s good to celebrate simple I think. And not that it’s bad to do other things too. But you have to do what works for you. Looks like you’re doing that, underneath pretty kitchen lights…love!