Keeping the Holiday Season Simple

Winter has finally caught up to us, and the kids have enjoyed their first snowfall in December! Despite the cold, the children have been getting out a few hours every day making “roads” for the toy tractors and construction equipment in the fading snow or taking their new puppy on all sorts of winter adventures. This holiday season we have the rare treat of enjoying a visit from our cousins in Mexico, making the season extra special with new playmates with whom adventures can be shared!

Christmas season can be hectic, with presents to buy, cards to make, and muddy puddles to clean up from kids playing in the snow (or maybe that’s spilled cocoa—again!?!?) Children definitely add chaos to the holiday cheer—especially when one decides to potty train, while another is in full crafting mode, and another is determined to build the largest toy brick sculpture to break a record.

As chaotic as my life is at the moment, every day that goes by, I realize my children are growing older (and taller) and soon they won’t be my babies anymore. Perhaps it’s this sentimental tug of time on my heart or maybe just feeling tired from the hubbub our culture puts around Christmas, but this year I’ve decided to keep things pretty basic around here. Surprisingly, simplifying has led to more meaning and togetherness this Holiday Season. In case you’re curious and needing a little peace and rest for yourself, I’d like to share a list of how we’re keeping Christmas simple for our family this year:

1. Focus on nutrition: This time of year, all the gatherings and germ spreading mean that children tend to get sicker faster. This year we’re reducing our sugar intake at home, focusing on eating lots of veggies, fruit, and simple dishes when we are home. Splurging is allowed (and maybe even more appreciated) at our family gatherings because sweets are not in abundance at home. We’re also guzzling kombucha and taking our vitamins!

2. Getting our rest: 8pm bedtime for kids and parents most nights (yes, we’re early risers but seriously getting more rest leads to happier children and happier parents).

3. Enjoying outdoor play: By sending the kids outside at least an hour no matter the weather, we naturally reduce our screen time and the exercise allows for deeper sleep at night for the youngest ones. Besides, if we didn’t let the children talk to the orchard goats, they’d be pretty lonely and missing the festival crowd!

4. Maintaining minimalist gift lists: We certainly aren’t scrooges, but we limit our children’s presents to just a few (2-3) most wanted items. (Shhh! They are surprises.) We also keep the gifts for lessons instructors and family members sweet and simple. Not breaking the budget now leads to more freedom in the New Year and less stuff to yard sale in a few years

5. Clearing our schedule of anything unnecessary, and making sure we spend more evenings at home than away.

6. Remembering our roots. The reason we celebrate Christmas as a family is to remember Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection, which has saved and sanctified us and brought us into His eternal family. This season we are tracing our Spiritual Family Tree by reading through the accounts of our spiritual ancestors in the Bible and God’s faithfulness to them leading up to the birth of Christ. Being a bit of a history buff I’m just intrigued by the adversity so many in past generations have had to overcome. It puts todays worries in perspective. Taking time to meditate on the faithfulness of God and worshiping together naturally draws us closer as a family and brings us peace during this busy time of year.

It’s a pretty simple plan. We don’t always execute it perfectly, but it works to keep us grounded and allows us more time to connect with the people that are most important to us during this special season. It gives us time to relax and enjoy nature and the gorgeous sunsets we’ve been having lately in PA!

I hope you can find rest and peace this Christmas and find time to slow down and just enjoy those who are most important to you. We wish you and yours the very best and a happy new year!