Keeping it simple during the holidays.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/112/31481414/files/2014/12/img_0613.jpg It’s almost comical how stressful the season of giving and love can be. There was a “how to beat stress during the holiday season” class offered a couple of weeks ago on our college campus. “Who needs that?” I thought to myself.

Well today, me. I was doing pretty good actually. I shopped somewhat ahead. I budgeted for Christmas and then stayed within that budget (mostly).

I’ve done well in the holiday tradition department too. We went to the tree lighting, visited our friend’s house with 40,000 Christmas lights. We cut down our tree and decorated it with our handmade or collected ornaments from throughout the years. We’ve been listening to and singing Christmas carols. I took the kids to The Nutcracker this year! We even made Christmas cookies and peppermint bark brownies over the weekend with good friends.

Today at work…the gifts started to pile up on my desk. I’m new to this job and I had no idea about the culture of giving to each other. First it was a candle and some soap, then homemade moonshine of some kind, then chex mix (gluten free just for me!), then homemade almond roca, jams, and cookies, cookies and more cookies! I was blown away!

Tonight after the kids went to bed, my plan was to make huge batches of peppermint bark to take in tomorrow as gifts to everyone. But first, since we are three days out from Christmas, I needed to do an inventory of what Santa has in store for the kids.

As I started to wrap and count gifts, I started to get worried. What if it doesn’t look like enough presents? What if I give the wrong gift to the wrong kid? Should I wrap some from Santa and some from Mom? I was worrying myself into a tizzy. And then I realized, this is the first year I have truly done this by myself as a single mom. The shopping, the wrapping, the Christmas traditions. No wonder. A took a deep breath and and gave myself a hug. I’m doing a pretty good job here. It’s not perfect but it’s good enough.

As I finished wrapping presents I noticed it was 10pm. The peppermint bark project was still not started. I didn’t take that “stress management during the holidays” class but if I did, I bet they would have suggested to keep it simple. And so, that’s what I’m doing.

The peppermint bark will happen next year, the presents will be just right, and this mama wishes all of you a happy, joyful and simply beautiful holiday season.

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