It's been a an easy going lead up to Christmas this year and I'm enjoy the benefits of making Christmas more simple this year.
For starters, back in September, my aunt wrote an email to all of our family members suggesting that we nix all the gift giving and just do an exchange. Suddenly all of our lists went from 10 people to 1...and it was such a relief.
Also a few years ago my immediate family decided that we would only give gifts to the little ones in our family and instead make a donation to a charity of our choice in honour of our family. This year we will be making a donation to the Whitehorse Food Bank.
I can't tell you how relieving this whole eliminating gift giving has been on us for so many reasons.
For one, I still do enjoy giving gifts but now instead of buying things, I try to make my gifts and hope that the recipients will know how much care I put into their personalized gifts.
And when I do buy a gift, I do my very best to make sure that it is carefully thought out and that it will be useful.
This past year, my friend Sarah challenged herself to buy all "made in Yukon" gifts and withe the selection of artists and crafters up here, I'm certain that she hasn't found it hard to keep her pledge.
It's amazing to me how since taking the focus off of gifts, that I have been able to really focus on what the season is truly about.
This past week I've been finding myself really focusing on the more simple things in life and I think it's made all the difference. On Sunday I finally made it to a church service and left with a feeling of joy in my heart. Last night I baked a batch of gingerbread cookies from a recipe that is in one of my favourite children's Christmas book, The Christmas Cat. This evening Winslow, Noah and I took an extra long drive home and looked at all the Christmas lights.
It's these simple things that have made this Christmas unlike any other from the past. With no malls to have to "run out to" and nights of staying home and working on handmade gifts, after years of trying to make Christmas perfect, I'm finally learning to enjoy the little moments and let go of all the extra stuff that just doesn't matter.
Hope you are having a peaceful and simple lead up to Christmas.
ps. a few fun posts I have seen out there...just for inspiration
:: tinsel trees
:: the sweetest advent idea...could be used as a 12 days to Christmas...or however you want to use it....you could always do it next year.