Monday, November 30, 2009

Do Less, Enjoy More

I have a secret talent that very few people know about. I have the ability to take something that is supposed to be fun, turn it into a "should" activity, and ruin it altogether. Surely you know what I mean--something you normally enjoy becomes something you "should" do, and therefore all the joy and fun is stripped from it. This year, Christmas has become one of those times for me. I'm sure I'm not alone--right? Right??

For instance, I stayed up until nearly midnight on Thanksgiving trying to rush to put up the rest of my Christmas decor, even though I was heading out at 3:30 AM for Black Friday. Why? Because I thought I was supposed to. It was only logical that I put up every single Christmas item I own before November 27th. Otherwise, I could not be happy. It actually turned into me not being happy anyway, because I was forcing myself to do something I didn't want to do. I was tired, and I just wanted to go to bed. Even before Thanksgiving, I spent hours stressing over how I was going to decorate every area of the house, because I wanted my house to be perfect for Christmas. Why? Because, of course, it should look as good as all of the other houses in bloggy land. Or else my entire life would be a complete failure. Okay, so not that bad. But I would be disappointed in myself.

Then I realized that I work about 10 hours a day, for crying out loud. Eleven if you include my commute. I wake up at 4:30 AM. I am tired when I get home. Maybe I just don't have time to make my house look like all the others. Maybe I am not as crafty. And so what? Many of the houses I envy are owned by people who stay at home with their children and can do crafty things while their children take naps or are at school, or women who are retired. While part of me would like to do that, I don't have children and I kind of like my job. Actually, I really like my job. And I shouldn't make myself feel like I am a failure just because my house doesn't look like a Southern Living magazine. The important thing is that I enjoy the items I do put up, and that I enjoy actually putting them up.

The Nester agrees with me. No, really--just check out her blog and see! In fact, that's where the title of this post came from. She challenges us to "do less and enjoy more". And that's what I intend to do. No more "shoulds" for me(or at least I'm going to try). I am just going to do what I enjoy.

So, per her challenge, here is what I am not going to do:
--send out Christmas cards (which I have never done anyway, but I was thinking about it this year. No more.)
--sew the stockings I wanted to copy from Lemonade Makin' Mama (unless of course, I decide I want to make them and that I have time to do so)
--stress out over what to get each person on my list or overspend
--buy anymore Christmas decorations; I have plenty

And here's what I am going to do:
--think of something meaningful to put in our Advent calendar, whether it be Bible verses or a worthwhile task or activity for each day (I'd better hurry! Not much time left for that one...)
--bake until I can't bake anymore. I love baking, and I love giving baked goods to other people. Our neighbors and co-workers may be receiving some tasty treats this year!
--remember every single day why I really celebrate Christmas, and thank my Savior for sacrificing so much for me
--look at as many Christmas lights as I can (we are in Atlanta, so I think we'll be able to find plenty--Pettit Creek Farm, anyone?)
--watch a shameful amount of cheesy Hallmark and ABC Family Christmas movies... shamelessly
--eat Mayfield Peppermint Stick ice cream or a Chick-fil-A peppermint shake weekly (come on--don't pretend like you don't love them)
--start a new tradition of purchasing a new Christmas book each year (an idea I snagged from "The Idea Room")
--remember that everything doesn't have to be perfect! I'm going to enjoy each moment with JC and our families.

What about you guys? Do you feel the need to "do less and enjoy more" or "take back Christmas"? What do you want to leave out (and add) to your Christmas this year?


  1. Honestly, I was going to do the same kind of post myself today. That is, after I recovered from my meltdown. I have one every year. I am feeling depressed, overwhelmed, stressed, tired, etc., etc., . I'm over it now - all of it. I agree with the Nester, it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. AMEN!

  2. Yes! I could not agree more with all of your points - very well written. I saw the post on The Nestper too. It's time to just relax and not be overwhelmed with what we feel we should be doing and what other people think we should be doing. This season I am trying to not stress, be at peace with what makes me happy, and remember that Jesus is the reason we celebrate! It's easier said then done, but at least I'm trying :)

    Good luck with your goals!

    (...I'll get off my soap box now)

  3. Wow, it does sound like you like to put a lot on your plate! I find myself guilty of doing the same thing... this year, I've been caught up in doing home renovations so I decided it's okay not to have everything perfect. I haven't even baked cookies! ;)