The 3 gifts tradition.

December 14, 2018

As you know, simplicity is something I have been focusing on this year, and the holidays have already felt so much lighter as a result. I have in a way removed all of the expectations I usually place on myself to do, see, and check off the list before the 25th. I always say I will be better at this, and yet I fill my plate till it is overflowing. Why do we feel the need to do all of these things in the first place? Is it a fear of missing out? Or maybe quite the opposite…we feel the need to stuff. To stuff our minds and schedules to make sure we maximize every bit of happiness possible? I find it ironic that in the moments where I felt like I was forced to be still, the relief and the peace came?

When I was little my mom and dad started a 3 gift on Christmas tradition. 3 gifts for each of us kids, just like on the first Christmas. It is something that helped us all keep the perspective that this day was bigger than us receiving gifts. God in His goodness was sharing His birthday celebration with us. That stuck with me throughout my life, and we started this 3 gifts tradition with our own children. It’s given us a more simple approach to gifts, and to be honest, so much less stress! It also started an entire chain reaction of giving myself permission to do things differently. We have been focusing more on quality time and meaningful activities… something we all needed.

Christmas has become quite the festive array of stimulation, and we feel the cultural pull to make sure we take part. However, when we leave no white space in our calendars, there is no room left for the things that actually allow us to connect with our lives and the people in them. The other day I decided I wasn’t going to host our annual Christmas party. I originally thought because it was a good thing that brought old friends together, surely it must go on! What I am coming to realize though is I don’t take the time to think through the actual time and energy involved in an event leading up to it. Instead, I am going to use the time it would normally take for me to prep for a party to do simple service projects with the kids. It isn’t a big shift, but it was enough to see the difference that one choice made on this short season.

(Dresses by my talented friend at Ele Story)

We also decided this year we would do just a few activities as a family. That would be plenty for all of us! Instead of a parade of one fun thing to the next, we can actually appreciate and enjoy the few things we do choose. I took my older three to see the nutcracker this week, and we hope to drive around to see lights or go ice skating next week. Other than that, I am letting it go, and allowing contentment to replace the anxiety.

If you are feeling the pull to make room for more peace this season, don’t be afraid to let some things go. Holiday cards can arrive on New Year.  Not everyone in your life needs to receive a gift! Your kids will be just as happy to have a hot cocoa date at home than a full on day trip to the local Christmas extravaganza;) Reminding myself these things daily, because the habit of doing isn’t easily undone.

 I would love to hear more about your family traditions either growing up, or what you do now during the holidays. Wishing you all a restful weekend!

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