Anyone else have rooms like this? Stuff. Stuff everywhere. And it isn’t isolated to just a bedroom or playroom. Poeple have entire houses filled to the brim with Stuff. The garage is so full you can’t park the cars in it. The kitchen cabinets couldn’t fit one more dish. Every cabinet, every drawer, every storage spot in the house is filled with something. There is so much Stuff everywhere and it’s overwhelming. Yet, with the holidays approaching, you find yourself making space for yet more Stuff. Sound familiar? Of course, not you! That’s clearly someone else.
Christmas is still a months away, but I have noticed a drastic increase in toy commercials already. Companies have become excellent at marketing to our littles. Society keeps telling them they need more. Their little eyes and hearts are filled with discontent for their current toys as they long for something new. Parents put themselves through stress to give kids everything their little hearts desire. I know many parents that spend ridiculous amounts of money at Christmas for toys their children grow tired of within weeks. And how many families take on debt year-long just to pay for Christmas?
Don’t get me wrong. I love giving gifts to my kids! They have always enjoyed opening presents. I’m not against any of that! What I am against is filling our lives with meaningless stuff at the cost of what does have meaning. Great- you bought your children everything on their wish list, but did you also teach them generosity? Did they use their own money to buy gifts for a family that otherwise wouldn’t open gifts Christmas morning? Great- you said “Yes” to every party invite, but did you say “Yes” to your daughter’s imaginary tea party on Black Friday? Great- you scored awesome deals on things you wanted to replace, but when was the last time your children heard you being thankful for all you already have?
And it’s not just our children that we overindulge. Does your Christmas list include every relative, every neighbor, every friend at church, every teach at school, everyone that comes to mind? My list usually starts with good intentions, but when I put the names up to my budget, anxiety/stress/panic sets in. Couple that with the JAM PACKED schedule of parties, dinners, programs, parades, concerts, etc. and you have one stressed out lady!
Take the stress off yourself this season. You don’t have to have it all, give it all, do it all, be it all! Sometimes, saying “No” is healthy. Don’t beat yourself up for what you can’t do. Be grateful for what you can!
Where do you start? Decide what is most important to you and your family. For our family, making memories is valuable. Here’s what that looks like for our family: Thanksgiving isn’t perfect, it’s laid back and fun (sometimes we eat at 2pm, sometimes we eat at 4pm); Black Friday may or may not happen- let’s see how we feel after Thursday’s game night; 3 nights a week in December we drive around for 30 minutes looking at house lights; we make a day out of Christmas parades; we go shopping for others (non-family) and get NOTHING for ourselves during those trips.
It’s not too late to create the holiday habits you desire. Just because you have done it one way for 10 years doesn’t mean you can do something new this year. What things are important to you and your family? How can you focus more on values this season? What do you need to do in order to lessen the seasonal stress?
You can do this! You can have stress-free holidays!