A creative Christmas – confessions of an introvert

December is very demanding, isn’t it? It seems that my three kids at three different schools have more break-up parties, Christmas concerts, end of year assemblies than I can attend.

There’s also five family birthdays to celebrate – my husband and Mr 14, almost 15 – included.

I find it hard to fit in all the Christmas things that are meaningful to me, among the Christmas things that seem to take priority. And it’s not that any of those concerts or gatherings are terrible – it’s just that the combination of extroversion and commercialism can be a little exhausting.

So this list is my non-negotiable one for Christmas

  • watch at least one Christmas movie with the kids.
  • spend a day baking, then spend a night with two close friends to wrap our baked goods and create hampers for teachers and neighbours – this is one of my favourite Christmas things to do.
  • buy at least 90% of my presents in November – I can’t stand the idea of going into a shopping centre in December.
  • make something, if not a few things. Last year, I sewed Christmas stockings in linen with red and white trimmings. This year, I’m going to sew some linen stars – yes, notice the traditional French theme going on! Crafting gives my hands something to do, while my mind slows down and stops racing.
  • take the kids for a walk or drive along the streets that participate in Christmas lights.
  • make peppermint bark with the kids – we always make extra and there is still never enough to go around!
  • go to Christmas Eve mass – our kids have been angels and shepherds when they were younger.  I’m not sure whether Mr 9 is still up for a role this year …
  • celebrate the December birthdays at two different gatherings.
  • decorate the tree together – we try to wait until the December birthdays are over.
  • decorate a gingerbread house – I shut my eyes and try to ignore all the lollies.
  • celebrate Christmas Day with a meal with both families.
  • open our Advent calendar each day. We have a tradition of mainly notes with only the odd toy or chocolate. Every day, a note tells the kids what Christmas festivity we are going to do that day – as elaborate as decorating the gingerbread house or as simple as showing kindness to someone. It has taken me a few years to hone this art, and to me, this is one of the most important things we do in December to focus on Christmas our way with creativity and connection.
  • buy a new Christmas book – we do have quite the collection now!

And everything else is extra. We’ll go to most of the Christmas gatherings we’re invited to, but it’s not possible to go to all of them. We’ll stay up later some nights but I will tuck myself in bed early as often as I can. There’ll be a little more chocolate and champagne than usual but we’ll have more salad and summer fruit as well. There’ll be more money spent than at any other time of the year, but we’ll donate to a charity or two and will do our best not to give in to the general sense of consumerism by avoiding the shops.

And what’s on your non-negotiable list for Christmas?

6 comments

  1. Christmas changes each year and as you get older. I remember your world Karen. Busy but wonderful. Seeing your children’s children enjoy being with their cousins and aunties, uncles, grandparents and even a great grandparent makes this time special to me.

  2. What a busy December you have ahead of you Karen.I hope it is a joyful time for you and your family.
    Just want to say thank you for taking the time and effort for your blog which I really enjoy. I look forward to opening your emails to find a book review or to read some of your literary thoughts and ideas. Please keep writing.

    Seasons greetings and happiness for the year ahead.

  3. Must at Christmas for me are

    Shopping, planning and making EARLY.
    Reading at least one Christmas book.
    Mass on Christmas Eve.
    One meal or sometimes two with Family, and occasionally some extras ( there is always room at the Inn)

    Happy Christmas to all your blog readers, Karen. May they all receive some great books for Christmas.

    Terri.

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