Changing Christmas~ appreciating simplicity


This is an old post, but lessons learned here are still with us. Don’t let Christmas change you-  you change how you do Christmas! 

I used to be one of the women who stressed out and ran myself ragged in December. I made list after list of things to do, I stayed up late, slept too little, and barely enjoyed the Christmas season.  I was determined to create memories and believed that what I saw in ads and on TV was the way to do that.  I also worked for years in retail, and despite my best efforts to simplify Christmas each year, I always got caught up in the hoop-la and commercial gimmickry.  I over- extended myself, my finances, my family, and mostly my expectations.  

Now that I am enjoying my second year out of that retail madness, it’s the first year of truly saying, in the words of that now famous movie, “let it go”. It has been a year of change here on the farm, and Christmas is no different. 
 We have learned to do for ourselves, do without, appreciate simplicity, and be thankful for every day. There is so much more to life, and Christmas, than shopping and “doing”. Here is how I have changed Christmas at One Ash this year~

~Instead of “making a list and checking it twice” and going shopping, I am making homemade gifts or visiting my local thrift stores. If anyone receives a gift at all, it will be something they either really need or will really appreciate.  Or they may just get a heartfelt note expressing how much I appreciate them in my life. While it is better to give than to receive, there are no gifts just to give a gift this year.  

~Instead of having a list of goodies to bake and stressing whether or not we will have the time to get them all done, and how we will deal with the calorie intake,  One Ash daughter and I are hosting a Cookie Exchange for the women and girls from our church.  We will bake cookies once, and end up with a great variety to enjoy through the season.  But the true bonus is the fellowship time we will enjoy with our sisters in Christ. 

~Instead of putting up all the decorations this year, I have chosen those that just make me feel good. I spent one day and went to “the closet” and pulled out all of the decorating boxes. I looked at all of the items, pulled out what struck a deeply fond memory, and returned about 90% of it to the closet.  Now instead of having Christmas decorations crammed into every open space, I am enjoying each and every one that I have put out.

~Instead of scheduling a time for everyone to be able to go to the tree lot, pick through all the trees, and bring home the one that appeared “perfect”, I went with a tree I already had. It isn’t a big tree, and this is the first year I haven’t had a live tree, but I love my little tree, and it tugs at my heart strings every time I see it.  Covered in lights and some old fashioned ornaments, this first simple tree is going to be a great Christmas memory. 

~Instead of covering the entire wrap around porch with garland and bows, there will be just a little bit on the gate where our dairy customers enter.  (Honestly, this isn’t done yet, and I am not worried about it!).  I placed a table near the back door that we use all the time, and located it so I can see the lights of its center piece from the kitchen window at night.  We are enjoying this much more than the showy, garland covered porch.

~Instead of adorning my entire kitchen with my collection of snowmen (have you ever noticed how they are always smiling?), I went outside and picked magnolia leaves and hickory nuts to create a natural center piece for the island. The rest of the snowmen will have to spend another year in their boxes. 

~Instead of having a huge mess to clean up in January, I am using some of the time that I would have spent decorating, shopping and baking to deep clean spots in my house. While I’m not getting a whole lot done, it’s so rewarding to know that I am getting a head start to winter cleaning. (we are too busy on the farm in the spring, so our deep cleaning has to come in the cold winter months!). I certainly won’t be completed, but it does feel good to get some of this work done early.

But most of all, I am spending time with One Ash hubby and daughter, spending time with my friends in fellowship either in person, on the phone or messaging, and spending more quiet time with the Lord.  After all, the best Christmas of all was when He was born.  

“He brought peace on earth and wants to bring it also into your soul- 
that peace which the world cannot give.” – Corrie ten Boom 

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