Keep it simple this holiday season: 3 quick tips
How many activities is too many?
That was originally the topic of this post, but now that we’re in the final countdown to Christmas, I realized I need to address being overbooked and why I find it necessary to keep it simple during the holiday season.
If you don’t want the backstory, skip to tips.
“Is he not signed up for basketball?” My friend sounded genuinely surprised. Not scolding or critical, just surprised. We were waiting around the gym for our Fitness for a Cure committee meeting to start.
“No, I answered. I felt like two hockey teams and Fitness for a Cure was enough. Realizing that my friend’s son also played on two hockey teams in addition to basketball and Fitness for a Cure, I added, “He also takes piano lessons. Plus he’s just wrapping up his cross country season.” I had suggested he run to train for hockey and to do something after school besides watch YouTube videos.
If it were up to my son, he would be playing basketball, and would have joined ski club as well, along with another of his friends who also plays on two hockey teams (one is elite, which means more travel), participates in Fitness for a Cure, and plays rec basketball. (Last year his friend played travel basketball, but I just don’t see how you can play travel basketball and elite hockey.)
My need to cut back started with jury duty. I was going to be on call for three weeks starting December 5. What a terrible inconvenience, I thought. I have work, kids, a household to run, and my husband is having surgery, and what about my side gigs? I tried to get excused but was denied. The Jury Administrator did call me the Friday before though and offered me an option. He said I was not on the schedule for the following Monday, but if I would like to opt in, then I could show up and take my chances.
I thought this was a good idea because then I wouldn’t be on call for the two weeks after that and who knows, maybe they wouldn’t even pick me, or maybe I wouldn’t be a good fit for the case.
I did get selected for the case and sat on the jury for four days, but that is a story in itself. I don’t know when I’ll get around to writing it so, for now, I’ll just say, it was a noteworthy experience. Highly recommended.
Keep it simple this holiday season! Here are three quick tips Click To Tweet
#1) Just say no.
There are so many opportunities to do festive and extravagant things during the holiday season. There are shows, concerts, sporting events, parties, fairs, and so on. But there are still only 24 hours in any given day. Chances are you have a lot more on your plate than usual, given you’ve got a holiday to shop, cook, clean, and entertain for. Sometimes you’re just going to have to say no. I lost a whole week with jury duty. My work didn’t go away, so I did that at night and into the next week. I couldn’t make a couple of parties and the idea about going to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra went out the window. Keep it simple!
#2) Stop trying to be perfect.
We didn’t yet put any ornaments on our tree this year and maybe we won’t. I had hoped to get together with friends to make gingerbread houses as we have done in past years, but our schedules didn’t mesh. I don’t have any Christmas pictures for our greetings cards. I am also not going to be writing a Christmas letter, and I’m not so sure I’ll be able to pitch that guest blog post either. Oh, well. The earth is still turning, and I can still enjoy the holidays and appreciate the tabletop tree in my office that does have a few ornaments on it (since I put it away like that last year). Keep it simple!
#3) Don’t overspend.
No one in my family believes in the Santa Claus that travels the world in one day in a sleigh pulled through the sky with flying reindeer, landing on people’s roofs to deliver gifts, never mind keeps track of a naughty or nice list. I can’t believe how anyone over six even believes in this fairy tale, now that I type that. Of course, we all still enjoy the magic and anticipation of Christmas but I don’t have to keep up the charade. (Thank God.) Keep it simple!
So I have begun reminding everyone about how fortunate they already are and how they have all their needs/wants met throughout the year. My oldest has a car; my middle is going to Europe over Spring vacation; and my youngest plays on two hockey teams. Many of their Christmas gifts are related to these things, e.g., fuzzy dice, outlet converter, new stick. The pièce de résistance is a photo album I made them that includes pictures of them at their various activities throughout the past year: baseball, hockey, excursions, parties, camp, etc.
Be grateful for what you already have!
That’s it — just three suggestions, instead of five, seven, or a “top 10 list,” because I want to keep it simple!