Our simple Christmas looks a lot like our simple summer staycation. And our simple family vacation to Northwest Arkansas. And, our simple regular schedule.
Early bedtimes. (6:15… when we say early, we mean E-A-R-L-Y)
Evenings at home.
Quiet, yet magical.
Fewer decorations than last year. Just the giant tree (a hand-me-down from my parents, which has so many precious memories) with tons of lights and ornaments. I left most of the knick-knacks in the attic. I did try to add some “natural elements” to this year’s decor, which I quickly killed. Now I know why folks use faux greenery… I’m a crazy plant lady, but I killed my indoor potted rosemary miniature Christmas trees and the fresh garland we hung over our bookcase almost immediately.
It looked good for a few days, at least.
At the beginning of the season, I made a Christmas bucket list. In past years my list has been long. Very long. This year I only wanted to do two things as a family: go look at Christmas lights while sipping on hot chocolate, and decorate Christmas cookies.
We’ve already done both. And, I’ve done all my shopping (online of course, because I refuse to step foot in a store after November 1… including a grocery store). There’s still plenty of wrapping to do, and maybe a Christmas movie or two to watch. But if I don’t get to it, that’s fine.
We don’t have an Elf on the Shelf. Wrenn asked me why we’re the only family on the street without our own elf, and I flatly told her, “because they’re not real.” Our very mature 5-year-old was totally fine with that explanation. Let’s be honest… I don’t have the energy to do the Elf. I hope to make it take the girls to get pics with Santa. But if that doesn’t happen, they’ll live. They’ve seen him from afar several times. Wrenn wrote him a letter (and he wrote back!), so her belief is intact for another year.
And that’s it for Christmas. No expectations. No pressure. We’re keeping it simple.
Each day ends with our advent reading. We turn out all the lights in the house, except for the white twinkle lights on the Christmas tree. We light the candles and read the daily Bible passage. It’s not a legalistic, have-to tradition. It’s a moment of peace in the midst of a swirl of celebrations, each night, where we think about what it must have been like to anxiously wait for a Savior to come. A King to arrive. All the waiting. All the hoping. All the wondering.
And then He came.
Our advent is restful. Magical. Unifying and clarifying and refocuses us on why we’re doing all this in the first place.
We’ll wrap up the season with some simple celebrations with both sides of our family (one we’ve already done), and then ring in the actual Christmas day in our pjs, inviting neighbors to stop in for food and drinks and an escape from the chaos and expectations of Christmas.
I like simple.