We had cut back in a big way on our decorating. As much as I love Christmas decorations, they are completely overwhelming to me this year. Everything requires so much more effort, so we put out the most important things and I have had to learn to take a step back. We had to break down and buy a new tree this year and when I sent my husband to buy it, the one he came home with had colored lights. I have always hated colored lights. I am an all white light person, but my husband didn't even look at the box to see what kind of lights were on the tree. I wasn't about to send him hauling it back, plus it was a Black Friday sale. Well, I have discovered my kids love the colored lights. They are thrilled and as I think about it, that is so much more important. The same sort of thing with the ornaments. Normally, I spend the whole time we are decorating the tree trying to move the ornaments around so everything is even and looks best. This time, I sat at the table and handed ornaments to kids (making sure my 18 month old got the right ones) and let the kids do all the work. Once again, they were thrilled. I hope in the future I can remember this Christmas and try and worry less about the unimportant things.
The picture on this post is of some of those cheap-o chocolate advent calendars. In an effort to try and make each day special in way that would work for me this year, I asked my mother-in-law to pick one of these up for each of my children. They cost next to nothing, but they have been perfect for my little children. Even my 18 month old can participate in this tradition. I don't know why I haven't done these before. I guess I have been too busy trying to come up with all kinds of grandiose Christmas activities to have time to think of something so simple. These will definitely be a new family tradition.
At the moments when I find myself starting to freak out about all the things I can't do this year, I am consciously trying to focus on the things I can do. I am trying to enjoy the slower pace, the quiet time I am spending sitting around in the living room with my babies. The opportunity we have to really focus on our favorite tradition of reading different Christmas stories throughout the month of December. I am grateful for the many visits from friends and family and joy that brings both me and my kids. My 4 year old leaned over to me in church today and asked me who was coming to visit us today. I said that no one was and she said, maybe someone will decide they really miss us and come to see us. She said it so matter of factly that it was obvious that she feels like all the people dropping by are doing it because they care so much about her. Isn't it amazing how even a 4 year old picks up on love! I am so grateful for answered prayers and a knowledge of a Heavenly Father who loves me and my little family and the knowledge that his hand is in my daily life.