An Uncomplicated Holiday: Three Most Important Things

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Yesterday, we began a conversation about whether or not it is feasible to enjoy an uncomplicated holiday season. If you haven’t already, make sure to read through (and add to!) the comments. There are some great insights from the SK community there.

Throughout December, I want to continue this conversation so that as a community, we can come together and inspire and encourage one another in the pursuit of simple, meaningful celebrations.

I think one of the most challenging aspects of the holiday season is that if we aren’t careful, we can become oppressed by the tyranny of choices offered to our families. Holiday parties and cookie exchanges and Christmas caroling excursions can all be lots of fun and provide for many fond memories.  Yet families who are committed to intentional participation in the holiday season have to be thoughtful in choosing what to say yes to as the invitations begin to roll in.

In writing about her Home Management Notebook at Simple Mom, Tsh underscores the importance of choosing three Most Important Tasks for each day.  Let’s borrow from that idea to create a list of Most Important Things for the Holiday Season 2009.

In describing the MITs for the day, Tsh notes that “if nothing else gets done, I’d say my day was a success if those three things happen.”  We can apply that concept to our Most Important Things for the holidays.  How would you go about creating your Holiday MITs?  Here are some thoughts to begin:

1) Carve out some time with your spouse or partner to discuss what is essential for your family. If you have older children, you may consider inviting them to this discussion as well.  Over mugs of hot cocoa or spiced cider, draw up a list of everything to which you have been invited and everything that you think might be fun to do.

2) Ask the question, if we can only get to three things on this list, what would be most meaningful for our family?

3) Stay flexible and open to all perspectives as you negotiate and decide on the three MITs for the season. Remember, just because an activity or idea didn’t make the MIT list doesn’t mean it won’t get done!  The goal here is to identify the three things which take priority for your family’s time and energy this year.

Here we are at December 1st, so the sooner your family can create the holiday MIT list, the more clarity you will have as you consider your calendar for this month.  I would invite you to work up your list and come back to share it with others here in the comments.

My own family’s MIT list for Christmas 2009 is

1) Create a Jesse Tree.
2) Spend one evening driving through our community’s Christmas light display.
3) Spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning in our own home.

What are the three Most Important Things for your family this year?

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  1. 1. Wake up on Christmas morning in our home with our babe to celebrate his very first Christmas.

    2. Bake and decorate The Family Cookie with my husband.

    3. Watch a holiday movie with big cups of hot chocolate.

  2. 1. Spend christmas eve and christmas day at home with my family!

    2. Have our advent calender fun (a treat, activity or small gift for each day!)!

    3. A drive around to see the christmas lights!

  3. 1. Complete the 25 Days of Giving. It sounds like making life less simple, but really, it couldn’t be further from the truth. There is nothing like focusing on others to put your mind in the right place.

    2. Light the Advent candles and discuss Jesus’ birth and the meaning of his birth.

    3. Venture out and cut down our Christmas tree and decorate it as a family.

    In the past I would have listed spending Christmas morning in our home but this year it is a given and there will be no family within 3,000 miles so we can lay around in our P.J.’s all day on Christmas.

    And if I HAD to add a number 4, I’d say that giving handmade gifts to the children and keeping the number store bought presents down to 1 or 2 little things is definitely a priority. But that is only IF I could have a number 4 🙂
    .-= Andrea @ The Train To Crazy´s last blog ..25 Days of Giving Kick-Off =-.

  4. I need to think about ours. But I love that one of yours is to celebrate Christmas Eve and morning in your own house. We’ve never been able to, and I long for it so much.
    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..Thankful, Finally =-.

  5. Great tips! Warm Christmas wishes to you and yours…
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..Advent and It’s Blessings =-.

  6. 1) celebrate the season by spending time in the advent garden this sunday.
    2) go on our annual family solstice hike, snowshoeing into the forest in the dark to hang pine cone bird feeders and distribute other goodies to our woodland friends
    3) remember to soak in the deep spiritual beauty– and the MAGIC– of this season by doing less and being more. I wrote about that part a bit here:

  7. We are going to be away from our home for 2 weeks, and we’ve already discussed the importance of having time with just our nuclear family every single day. That will really help us stay grounded, I think!
    .-= Tiffany´s last blog ..8 Things I Learned After Week 1 of Daycare =-.

  8. 1. Christmas Eve church service and Christmas morning at our house.

    2. Decorating together and enjoying our community’s Christmas lights. It’s magical for our 2 little ones.

    3. Relaxing and enjoying our family. I refuse to stress this year.
    .-= bryssy´s last blog ..Back It Up!!! =-.

  9. A timely reminder – thanks! (I came over from Emily’s.)

    We’re nearing the end of a long delayed house project after months of family illnesses and bad news. Every room is hosting its own upheaval and there’s very little evidence of Christmas, which is radically different from how our home normally is at this time of the year. But my kids are snuggled on the sofas, reading and relaxing after a hard day at high school and I’m writing this while listening to angelic, unaccompanied church hymns and carols on a favourite CD in the light of a flickering cinnamon and apple scented candle. Life is good. The Spirit of Christmas is patient; it’s lying still and silent, smiling, waiting to soar like a song when the time is right to wrap itself around my heart.

    Better two weeks of pre-Christmas celebrations done in the right spirit than a month of stressing and forgetting what it’s all about.
    .-= janice´s last blog ..Angels at my Table =-.

  10. Love all the comments and traditions shared! Here’s our little handful of holiday strategies:

    • Say “yes” to down time! Just because you have a day free doesn’t mean you should fill it up with holiday plans. Be willing to let fun opportunities pass by so you can fully appreciate those that you purposefully choose.
    • Do it if it is fun. Only if it is fun.
    • Find simple, sustainable traditions that bring Christ into your home.
    • Let go of the expectations and just enjoy.
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..Anticipation Takes Form =-.

  11. Mine are to practice more random acts of kindness, enjoy the simple moments and stay awake to them and just have fun together! great post!
    Shawn´s latest post: Your Happy Place (Part 1)


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