It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here! I began last week feeling pretty stressed about fitting everything in - getting ready for Grace's birthday, keeping some semblance of order here in our house and little farm, keeping up with our outside commitments, and, of course, preparing for Christmas, which is a whole list by itself. You would think that I would not have to remind myself of the same exact things each and every year, but I do. I guess I am a slow learner.
This week, I reminded myself that....
- I can't do it all. No one can do it all. Very basic stuff this, but it is amazing how often I tell myself that I can't do it all, then proceed to behave as though I can!
- In order to fit in seasonal fun, other stuff has to be cut out. I cannot just add in holiday activities on top of an already full plate. Some of the stuff on that plate needs to be pushed off entirely, moved to a later date, or at least limited. For us, this means skipping some commitments here and there, taking time off from schoolwork, and delaying some projects and to-do list items until after the holidays. I want to make the most of the these next few weeks, and to do that I need to clear the calendar a bit. A missed practice, chore, or party here and there is not going to harm anyone. But being stressed and harried? That can definitely ruin a holiday season.
- If we want to decorate for Christmas, some of the regular stuff must go away. Every year I try to fit everything back in the living room once we get the tree in. You know what? Our living room is not huge. It cannot fit a decent-sized tree and everything else. Ditto with any other display place, like the mantel or the sideboard. Some of the stuff needs to be put away until after the holidays. It is amazing what this one little idea has done for the feel of the house. It is much less cluttered, even with the decorations out.
- The important things, the things that I want this holiday to be about? They need to be the top priority. They need to take place first, whenever possible. The other stuff can fill in afterwards, as time allows. This means starting each day with a Christmas activity that we can do together, reading holiday books with Rose, then doing schoolwork. We are getting much less done, but that is okay for right now.
- Keeping to a routine is important. The holidays can be such an all out crazy busy time. But we are sticking to our morning, noon, and evening chore routines. We are trying to have dinner on time and eat something decent. I have set aside one afternoon a week to do most of the house work. Lately that has been Monday, this week it may be different. I dust, sweep, vacuum, hit the floors with a swiffer mop, wipe down the kitchens and bathrooms, and generally tidy everything up. When it's time to make dinner, I stop. Of course, we continue to pick up and sweep the kitchen and do other little chores throughout the week, but setting aside an afternoon a week to clean house has been wonderful.
Before I go, here are a few of the fun things we were up to last week. We have been decorating, little corners here and there. I really love to decorate for Christmas. Last week we did the mantel with these cute little egg cup decorations that I saw in a magazine. A bit of floral foam in the bottom of each one holds a surprising amount of greenery.
I love how they look on our mantel. We already had the egg cups and the greenery is from our front yard, so these were practically free to make, which is always wonderful.
I printed and framed this little sign last year from the Paper Mama's website, and the kids got a chuckle out of it when I pulled it out again. It's a Home Alone reference, if you didn't catch it. We made a little stack of our Christmas movies so we would be sure to watch them all. Last week we watched Elf, The Grinch, and Home Alone with the kids. Without the kids, we watched Christmas Vacation. Love all of them. Christmas movies and some knitting? Pretty much the perfect December evening.
That first advent calendar door is always such an exciting thing! We have been getting our advent calendars from Aldi the past few years. I am not such a big fan of that store, but this one particular item we love, because the chocolates are so nicely rendered and so big compared to the supermarket calendars! I kinda wish I had gotten one for myself.
We finally got around to cleaning up the wood stove (the glass was embarrassingly filthy) and it has been nice to actually see the fire for a change! Naturally, as soon as I took this first photo, the glass started blackening up again, but it was so pretty for those few moments. I do love having the wood stove on and it will run pretty continuously from now until April.
I need to run but hopefully I will make more than one post this week! Enjoy your Monday!