Christmas Traditions Simplified

Last week I mentioned that this year my girls and I decided to simplify Christmas by only doing things we want to. No more feeling obligated to do anything. It may make some family members mad but at one point everyone has to make there own memories and traditions. Here are a few of things that we are doing and not doing.

Decorating the House: We (and by we, I mean my sister) decorated my mantle for us. We put our tree up and the Christmas Village, and wreaths on the doors. 

Cookies: We haven't done this yet, but its on the to do list. I am a terrible cook so fingers crossed that I don't burn the house down. I think the girls just want to decorate them so maybe I can pass off store bought sugar cookies.

Charity: We made and donated boxes for Samaritans Purse Operation Christmas Child. The girls wanted to do a box for each age group so we did 3. You can read about it here. We also adopted an angel off of the angel tree. We chose a 14 year old girl. Because older kids often get forgotten about. Plus its easier for us to shop for teenage girls.

Presents: We shopped for people, but stopped at those we care about. We felt it better to give to charity than random people we never see. In the past we have made our own bows and gift tags. This year if we have time and do it, then great. If we don't get to it, then we won't stress about it.

Traveling: We aren't doing it. Its the same as it was for Thanksgiving. We want to celebrate at home.

Cards: Nope not doing them. We will possibly take pics and maybe do a digital card but I won't be ordering and addressing cards. We also aren't doing a yearly newsletter. Sorry but If they haven't kept up with us throughout the year then the chance that they even care enough to read the letter is slim. Besides they can always come here and read what we've been up to.

Food: We haven't really talked about this much. Growing up we would have dinner at my moms parents and open presents. As I got older the dinner turned into finger foods. I really hated that. Then I got married and my ex and I would alternate years with out families. His family would do Christmas Eve service at their church then go to their grandmas house and eat roast and open presents and the next morning they'd have a big Christmas Day breakfast.  We may do a combination of this. It will probably only be me, the girls and my dad and sister so a big meal would go to waste.

Entertainment: We do have plans to drive around and look at lights. This is one of our favorite things. We also have to attend the Christmas programs that they are in. But, we are skipping the Christmas parade. We hate the cold and standing. So standing in the cold to watch the parade is too much like torture.  We went shopping last weekend and enjoyed the piano player in  the mall. He was playing Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera and I totally geeked out. My high school band played Andrew LLoyd Weber so much I can still play that song if someone handed me a Clarinet.


  1. Giving to charity over random people you never see? I like that a lot. I need to mention that one to the wife. She's an "over-gifter." In other words, she goes through the pain of picking out a really nice gift for a random family member/friend who will never even thank her for it, and feels like crap after, no matter how much I warn her that it's gonna happen. Maybe I need to tell her about this.

    Oh, and after our post today, I don't think I have to tell you that I'm GLADLY celebrating Christmas at home. If people want to see me, they can fly to me this time.

  2. I guess that sounds funny giving to charity (people I don't know) over random people I never see. I have several cousins that I can't stand and each of them have several kids by several different moms who may also bring their kids from dads who are probably in prison and I feel obligated to buy something for all of them. Even though I only see that that one time a year. I'd rather give to people who need my donation and who will appreciate it. I'd only have to travel about 2 hours but that is 2 hours too many. I am so thankful I don't have to relive your Thanksgiving flying fun. Although I can't say getting groped by TSA doesn't sound fun. :)

  3. I should give you mom's cookie recipe. From-scratch butter cookies with buttercream frosting. Takes awhile to make, but it's not that difficult and they're worth it. (Barb threatens me with violence if I give any of the actual cookies to anyone else, as it means less for her. She once let me make some for work, only on the condition that I made an entire second batch...)
    1 cup butter, softened
    1 1/2 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
    1 large egg, beaten
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    flour mixture:
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp cream of tartar
    Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add sugar, beat until very fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, continue beating. Slowly add flour mixture; continue beating until well blended. Chill the resulting dough for about an hour.
    Use about 1/3 of the dough at a time, keeping the rest cool in the fridge. Roll it out to about 1/8" thickness on a well-floured pastry cloth or waxed paper sheet. Cut with well-floured cookie cutters. Bake on *ungreased* baking sheet, at 400 degrees, for about 6 minutes: take them out just as the edges are starting to darken. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
    (I double up the recipe to the following, because otherwise it tends to come up slightly short.)
    1 cup butter, creamed
    2 lb confectioner's sugar
    2 tsp vanilla
    Blend together. Towards the end, gradually blend in a little milk (4-6 tablespoons should do) until you get a good spreading consistency.

  4. Sounds like a fun holiday. We also love seeing Christmas lights!

  5. I really love the idea of only doing the things you WANT to do. I think doing the "have tos" are what make Christmas lose its meaning.

  6. Stealing this recipe for future use.

  7. you are so right about the older kids being left out for things like that, so true. your mantle is so pretty, can your sister come do mine? lol jk i don't have a mantle at the moment. i really love how you're making the holidays about you and your family and what you want to do. inspiring.


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