Holidays are often a busy time for everyone. From decorating, to baking and more, it seems the holiday season has a way of rushing everything for everyone. Although some of these traditions can be really fun, my husband and I chose not to engage in the chaos.
When we first moved in together, we weren’t really sure what to do for the holidays. We put up a tree, made some cookie trays and strung up some lights. It was fun, but it was a lot of work. Between decorating, baking, cleaning up, and taking down decorations, it was a lot of time. It wasn’t a big deal then, as we didn’t have any kids at the time. After our daughter was born, we decorated again, hoping to entrance her with all of the pretty colors, but unfortunately, she didn’t even notice. By her second Christmas, we barely put the tree up and made the cookie trays, and by her third, when a new brother joined her, we didn’t do anything.
My family often gives me trouble about not decorating or putting a tree up. They believe we’re depriving our children of holiday tradition. Part of me feels like they’re right, but the other part of me knows that I have priorities that trump decorating for Christmas.
My husband works full-time, and during the holiday season, he often gets many hours of overtime, leaving him exhausted when he gets home. Additionally, we have little to no available space in which to put a Christmas tree. Realistically, we could rearrange the living room for a tree if we really wanted to, but it would severely cramp and limit the amount of space the children have to play. Our living room isn’t small, but we’re working on building a bedroom for the kids, and their toys, dresser and the giant roll of carpeting for their room is all located in our living room. Working a tree into the mix is just asking for trouble.
I’m also pregnant, and with my husband working the hours he works, it’s unlikely I’ll get much help setting up the tree or doing any type of decorating. Lifting and balancing a tree while seven months pregnant, or even slaving away on my feet over a hot stove making Christmas cookies, isn’t exactly my idea of a good day.
I’m in school as well, and I spend a great deal of time trying to study every day. I’m taking some tough courses at the moment and they require a lot of attention. In addition to this, I am not and amazing housekeeper. Between studying and sewing (I have several backed up projects) I have a hard time keeping on top of everything that needs done in the house, such as laundry, dishes, mopping, vacuuming, etc. Why add even more on top of this? Especially when doing so will create more stress than it does enjoyment?
My husband and I have our reasons not decorating, or participating in some of these holiday traditions, however, our children are not deprived of experiencing traditions. Our children help pick out and make gifts for their cousins; rather, mommy makes the gifts and the children pick out the fabric to make them with. They also get to come with me and help as we pick out gifts for a child in need on the angel tree at the local store. We take them to see the Christmas lights on houses around town, and we spend the holidays with our extended family; grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Our children have traditions, they just aren’t the same ones that most people have growing up.
The most important part of the holidays isn’t all the elaborate traditions; it’s about enjoying the spirit of the season. What works for my family, may not for another and it’s important to keep that in mind, when determining your own holiday plans.