'Tis the Season for Simplicity?
Between Thanksgiving and New Years, my life is a blur. A decked-out, cinnamon-scented blur. The Christmas season fills me with nostalgia and an excited energy for more, more, MORE! More baked goods, more decorations, more cocoa, more parties … the list goes on and on. And this year, I think because of this blog, what used to be fun now has me feeling guilty. Should I just put only a few of my most favorite ornaments on my tree instead of covering every branch? Should I limit myself to just one pie and make only that all season long? How many cut-paper snowflakes are too many? Should we even do stockings this year? It is just a bunch of stuff, after all.
And then I decided: simplicity is good, and ultimately I thrive when I try to make simple my default… but maybe its okay to abandon that for a little while. Because part of what makes this season so wonderful is the abundance. Even a simplified life can give way to gratuitous plenty in a season like Christmas.
Live it up.
Celebrate the season in the ways you love, even if it’s kind of a hassle. Go caroling, have a mug swap, make date balls, light Advent candles, leave cookies out for Santa. A couple of years ago, Joseph and I decided maybe it was too much trouble for us to dress up for Halloween, so we didn’t. Now, we look back on October 31, 2013 as the lost year.
The thing about all those holiday traditions is yes, they are work; they take effort and usually money; and it can be easy in the moment to want to just skip it this year, but they’re what memories are made of. The years that I’ve decided to pass on dyeing eggs or carving a pumpkin or putting up a tree have been the years that I look back on with regret (if I remember them at all). I’ve never once said, “Oh man, we really shouldn’t have put up so many twinkle lights,” or, “ Remember when we baked cookies for all of our neighbors? That was depressing.”
It’s such a short season, live it up while its here and go back to ordinary life later. Netflix can wait.
Eat it all.
I read somewhere that if you totally gorge yourself on all the major holidays, the most you can gain by the end of the year is 5 pounds. That’s right: 5 measly pounds, that’s like one good poop! I’ve used this random fact to give me license to eat all of my favorite things on the major holidays, guilt-free. Just wait until January to do Whole 30 (Joseph and I are doing it again this year: pray for us!)
Tacky is just another word for festive
Sure, my home might look a little more classy if I limited myself to just the gold stuff in my decoration box, but that’s not nearly as fun as finding a good home for my troll Santas or hanging all those ratty-yet-endearing handmade ornaments on the tree. And maybe its okay to water down the sleekness of your winter wardrobe with that sweater that says “Single and ready to jingle.”
My sister passed on some advice a friend of hers with grown children gave her: make sure you are “that house” around the holidays, so when your kids are older they will still want to meet at your house before they go trick-or-treating. And you can’t be “that house” without abandoning some cool points for the sake of being festive.
I think in the same way we need seasons of rest and work, laughing and crying, it’s okay to set simplicity aside and and enjoy more, more, MORE for a while.
Now go make merry!