How I’m getting ready for December

I have kind of a love/hate relationship with December. Um, maybe mostly hate. I love that my baby is excited for her birthday and Christmas (and Grandma’s sugar cookies, hint hint Mom). I love that we’re all cozy inside. I love the general feeling of goodwill. I love being with my family.

This is EXACTLY what December is like in the Walker household!

But I hate the commercialism, the focus on stuff and doing more and being busy and that if you don’t have THE right sparkle top in THE right metallic for all your holiday parties — because obvs you’re going to, like, four a day — then you’ve failed at life. (And if you’re not going to four a day, I suppose that’s a failure too.)

I don’t need that kind of pressure. Here’s what I’m focusing on instead:

I’m making a list of what’s important. I got this idea from Nourished Planner last year (HERE): Write down the family activities, to-dos, decorations and gatherings that mean something to you. Go over that list and pick the top three items for each category; everything else gets crossed off or, at the very least, regulated to “as time allows” status. 

I’m making health a priority. Another list! Before I get myself into a bind, I’m going to brainstorm possible pitfalls and how to avoid them — physically (aka my jerk stomach), mentally and emotionally. I will do this by thinking about what has happened in passed years and what I could have done to change the narrative. Step one: Accept that I have a chronic condition. (Two? IBS and anxiety?)

I’m doing the thing I do not want to do. That makes it sound a tad more exciting than it really is, but basically: Every year, I get overwhelmed by the sheer number of Christmas decorations we have somehow accumulated, and every year, I promise myself that NEXT year, I will deal with that mess. This is the year I actually do that. As we decorate, I plan to go through boxes and separate the used from the unused, what we like from what we really don’t. These items will go into a separate box (boxes?) that I will donate next year to our church’s annual holiday bazaar — an idea I’m stealing from my mother. 

I’m giving myself a break. Literally. Even with all my lists and all my planning, I still get overwhelmed. I will schedule daily breaks into my planner and pretend they’re doctor’s appointments.

When in doubt, play with kittens. This one doesn’t need any explanation. 😉

Basically, I’m going to pay attention to what I love about December rather than what I hate, to simplify where I can and forgive myself for the mistakes and missteps that will inevitably happen.

Anyone else thinking about December and how to manage enjoy the season?

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9 thoughts on “How I’m getting ready for December

  1. Chris N says:

    I went thru all our decorations last year and got everything down to 2 bins. It felt good to do. This year I plan on doing more and getting rid of the hallmark boxes some of the ornaments are in. They take up too much room. I use to have 4 trees in our very small house. Of course they were small. But I had a bird tree, snoopy one, ugly ornaments and our regular one. So no more. I don’t want to put the time or maintenance into it. Plus I decluttered them all. I’m not even putting on all the ornaments this year. Just favorites. Really the best of the best. I’m not a shopper so that part is good. And I just don’t care what anyone else is doing or not doing.

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    • Trisha Walker says:

      Oh, wow — that must have been quite the project! (I kind of want to start an ugly ornament tree now, though, to be honest.) We have a “best of the best” ornament box already, so maybe that’s a step in the right direction. I’m looking forward to tackling this but also dreading it … there’s just so much!

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  2. Roberta says:

    We’ve been working on decreasing our decorations to just the bare essentials, for several years now. We still have a bunch of ornaments that I consider ugly, but other people like (like the giant clay santa that’s built around a glass ball. and it’s lost its feet. and it carries school books, but we have to keep it because my husband’s a teacher and his mom gave it to us. ). I keep hoping to decrease the ornaments further when the kids move out — pass their favorites along to them. (like the foot tall pink glass castle. I may already have an ugly ornament tree.)

    But the reason I’m commenting is: it occurred to my that you can use your chronic conditions as an excuse to get out of things you don’t want to do. Party that you feel obligated to attend but you don’t want to? “I wish I could, but I can’t.” I can’t because of my food restrictions and anxiety, but they can read it however they want.

    And now I am off to get more caffeine, because I can see that I have written a lot, and I’m pretty sure it’s coherent, but I’m even more sure it’s rambling.

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  3. Diane says:

    I have long wanted to take myself off to a convent for the month of December but my husband and kids aren’t onboard with this, it seems . . .

    So – I have just learned to pare down and let go of the guilt. I don’t like sweets anyway so I seldom bake. I have given up looking for the perfect gift – if they want a gift card then that’s what they get, despite how I might feel about it, cards are kept to a minimum but all handwritten, a few each day, decorations are simple due to my minimalist nature (the crèche is the only important item) and I accept very few invitations.

    We also have FIVE family birthdays between mid-November and Christmas so that adds another wrinkle.

    Taking time for daily meditation and keeping focused on what Christmas is all about is essential for my peace of mind.

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    • Trisha Walker says:

      OH MY GOD, IS THAT ACTUALLY AN OPTION? I’ve never thought of that … wow. You’re a genius. Although I doubt my family would go for it either.

      Five birthdays?! I’ve just got Eric on Friday and Jo next month and I thought that was a lot. I suck at meditation but I rock at journaling … Hmm. You’ve got me thinking.

      Also: Good luck, fellow introvert. We can do this!

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  4. SarahN says:

    I didn’t get to the end of your Xmas post before recalling my daily work goal (cough) to write a Christmas card each day. I only have about 10 I’ve decided I want to send – criteria is interstate or overseas. So I did one and returned to your post.

    I have so little planned, really – cause many fell on the same weekend, so I just declined some invites. I’ve declined a baby shower this coming weekend after the ‘follow up’ for a baby photo of me trigger some rage/annoyance. I consider an ‘excuse’ but in the end just politely declined without a reason. But, interestingly, I have a hand made gift from years ago, so I will offer that and don’t have the usual ‘gift expenditure’ resentment I usually have. I’ve also declined a friend’s Christmas for a host of reasons – do not regret that either! Your posts, and others, have really helped me learn the power of No. Loving it!

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