More hype. Less calm. More glitter. Less reflection. More decor. Less enjoyment. Round and round and round the hamster wheel goes. It seems to turn a little faster each Christmas, drawing us a little further from the true reason for the season, Jesus.
Yet, in the midst of the crazy haze of the holidays, a gentle example whispers life to us from the Christmas story. When she considered all that had unfolded surrounding the birth of Jesus, "Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often." Luke 2:19
I've been on the hamster wheel. I get it. More was never enough. New quickly faded to old. Colors became "Oh, so last year." More time was spent trying to keep up with the world, while less time was spent pondering the miracles of the season.
Finally, I chose to jump off the wheel and adopt the K.I.S.S. (Keep it Serene, Sweetheart) mentality. So I could breathe. So I could enjoy. So I could ponder. I’m glad I did. The older my Terrific Three become, the more I realize they crave tradition and a peaceful home more than the hustle and bustle the world portrays as happiness.
Few things picture Christmas joy more than a relaxed and joyful woman. Here are 7 calm, reflective, and peaceful traditions I employ to K.I.S.S. each Christmas:
1. The Reflection - On December 1st, I put aside the bible study I am working thru and pull out an advent book for my quiet time. I light a candle, snuggle under a warm blanket, and reach for the book and my Bible to reflect on the wonder of this season. Such a peaceful way to start my day before crazy kicks in. During the day, I enjoy listening to Christmas podcasts from Revive Our Hearts as I clean or bake or sit in the carpool line.
2. The Tree - To me, white Christmas lights radiated pureness and serenity. My children loved colored lights and pleaded for “pretty” lights. Sigh. I told myself “It is just a tree. "Pretty" lights are an “easy yes” in the parenting department, Tammy.” So, we compromised. I would wrap multiple white strands of bliss and add a few strands of color. They were delighted. I chose to delight in their delight. After all, they are just lights.
3. The Decorating - I used to change my Christmas decor each year. Crazy and costly! Now, I choose to reuse my decorations each year and tweak one area. 2 years ago, I let the kiddos pick the tree theme and color. Last year, we freshened the mantle. This year, the top of the piano received a new look. But everything else is the same just arranged a little differently. We crank the Christmas music and whip up some hot cocoa. We then decorate together, meaning I pretty much leave it the way they choose to decorate their given area. Beautiful memories are built with low stress.
4. The Gifts - For some reason, I felt the need to give my children a flurry of gifts each year. I realized this was filling something broken inside of me, rather than benefiting my children. Somewhere I heard the idea of 3 presents under the tree representing the three gifts the wise men blessed Jesus with whenever they arrived. I like it. It works. They’re satisfied. They still have stockings filled with little trinkets like Doritos and root beer. But the 3 gifts limit is one of the best ways I K.I.S.S. I'm more intentional in my gift giving, and my credit card bill is much lower!
5. The Focus - Advent, a time of expectant waiting and preparation, begins the first Sunday of December. I love the idea of daily Christmas readings with the family to focus on the Christ child. It's the perfect time to gently till the soil of their hearts. I tried several, but it seemed more of a hassle and a "check off the list" activity. That is until I discovered Focus on the Family’s advent readings. They offer low key, kid-driven, and last-minute momma friendly advent ideas. The kiddos choose the one they want to do each season. They then rotate each night who gathers the needed materials and leads the discussion. I.Love.It. We usually try to do it right after dinner or 30 minutes before bedtime. Rebecca posted about another sweet family advent idea which works for her family.
6. The Baking - Christmas always represented a flurry of baking, a mound of dishes, and added stress. A couple of years ago, I let go of the "from scratch" idea and purchased boxed cookie mixes, cake mixes, and refrigerated slice and bake cookies. And the angel choir sang, “Hallelujah!” SUCH a time saver, and I believe it’s cheaper in the long run. There are so many cute ideas out there to turn purchased mixes into Christmas confectionary wonders. Here and here are two sites to get your whisk stirring!
7. The Wisemen - When Elf on the Shelf became all the rage, my kiddos wanted in. I had already started my K.I.S.S. mentality, and it meant one more thing to plan and implement. Some people love the challenge, but it's not my strong suit. See #5. Also, one of my kiddos was struggling with anxiety and the idea of an elf watching their every move…nope. I have looked for alternatives and really like Laura’s idea involving the wisemen. After all, she’s created a download giving us 25 cards with a plan for each day! Just what this momma needs. I can’t wait to give it our own twist and start a new tradition.
Too soon, my kiddos will be out on their own, and I’ll be sitting in a too quiet house looking at my tree of only white lights. But maybe, just maybe, there will be a string of “pretty” lights entwined with those white lights. And I’ll have visions of joyful and serene Christmas memories dancing in my head. All because I chose to K.I.S.S. (Keep it Serene, Sweetheart!) each Christmas.
That we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior. 1 Timothy 2:2-3
How about you? How do you K.I.S.S each Christmas? I'd love to hear! Or are you overwhelmed with crazy chaos? Jump off the hamster wheel and join me on the comfy K.I.S.S. couch. You and your kiddos will be so glad you did!
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, lively laughter, deep talks and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.