How Not To Lose Your Mind Over Advent

AdventBox

It went it little bit like this…..

I decided to try and tackle some of the {very} simple holiday decorating for Christmas.

We’ve been slowly leaning towards simplifying the holidays more and more each year, and this year is probably the first I felt like I truly had a decent handle on.

For at least two seconds.

I found the advent candles, and mistakenly, put them down within reach of two busy and very curious toddlers.

Before I could even blink, they swiped them and decided to have a tot sized fencing match.

Yeah. Candles are broken. I don’t have backups.

I searched Pinterest to see what quick and simple DIY ideas there were and could maybe assemble something together before Advent was officially to begin.

Let’s laugh together, shall we? Because. Seriously.

I did, indeed, find some awesome and amazing ideas…..that I plan to use next year.

This year? I’m letting it go. We are doing a modified Advent.

I did manage to get our Night Before Advent Box put together with new pjs for each kiddo, coloring pages printed out for each day of Advent, colors and our Unwrapping the Greatest Gift.

A day late. Because that’s just sometimes how life goes….

And, in an effort of keeping things real and full disclosure, a little confession: ┬áThe day we were to do our “day before advent” loveliness, I was in a no good grumpy mood.

No idea why really. Just a funk and mama bear was more like grumpy bear.

By bed time, it was literally, EVERYONE GO TO BED LIKE NOW. But without the yelling {I know, impressive isn’t it?!} And I put myself in time out.

And by time out, I mean I plugged in my earbuds, put on some Sufjan Stevens {holiday edition} on Pandora and started painting.

What did I start painting? Why the Night Before Advent Box, naturally.

An hour later, when my husband walked into the kitchen, I’m pretty sure he thought I’d lost my mind as I was painting and adding some touches of glitter. Because, GLITTER.

Or he just knew that I was processing and this is how I seem to do it best.

So, those advent candles? Not gonna happen this year. Even though my oldest commented that he really missed seeing them. I agreed, but was all “NOPE. Next year though….next year”.

And because I really mean it, I created a pin board JUST for a little Advent inspiration . I’m really loving some of the more modern and simplistic set ups some have going on.

So, all this to say….our best intentions can go completely wrong. And LIFE happens and candles get broken, and the ideas you might have had are just not.gonna.happen this year. And I am here to say, it’s absolutely, completely OKAY.

Sometimes, taking a more simple approach during the holidays is really whats best. And sometimes, depending on what season your littles are in {like underwater toddlerhood…}, it means maybe not so much with candles, but more with reading the Advent story. And having a simple advent calendar.

And enjoying the time we do have with family.

Our Night Before Advent Box and evening happened. A day late, and more simplified.

And if you’re one week in and are going “crap! this advent thing is kicking my butt! and I totally forgot XYZ!”….it’s OK. And you still have three more weeks to turn it all around.

Lets say it together…..

It’s ALL going to be OKAY. Really.

Do you celebrate Advent? What are some of your favorite ways to keep things more simple during, what can be, chaos and crazy of the holiday season?

Keeping It Simple At Christmas

The holidays are literally around the corner. And here I am, once again, feeling a little behind and slightly overwhelmed at ALL THE THINGS that need attending to.

And last year at this time, with twin infants, and all the to-do’s and parties and holiday things and shopping and choir performances and all the in betweens…by the end of the holiday season I felt defeated and utterly exhausted. And I’m thinking that is simply not how it’s supposed to be. At least not to that extent.

So I vowed to take it all back this year. To take Christmas and family time back and make it a priority.

Not that all the get togethers aren’t fun, but sometimes {most times} it’s just TOO much.

Last year we decided not to get a tree. Which was hard, but with the babies being so little, and the two older ones with so many things on their own calendars, and then us deciding we’d be putting the house up for sale in the new year, we chose to forego the crazy and try to just enjoy the time we could.

And it was still slightly chaotic.

And this year will have it’s fair share once again of chaos, but I am determined to keep it in check. I am embracing the simple and being OK with saying NO.

And not having to explain myself. I don’t need to apologize for choosing family time and less chaos over all things sparkly with frosting on top.

{although, frosting is tasty}

This year, we are getting a tree. It’s a tradition we love and my big kids really missed it last year. In anticipation of it, I bought some “shatter proof” ornaments on sale last season and have them ready and waiting to be used this year.

Funny thing is, Christmas trees and toddlers don’t exactly mix. And I am just hoping to keep my youngest son from shattering the “shatter proof” ornaments. If they survive him, then I will be thoroughly impressed with their “shatter proof” claims!

Taking it all back. That is the plan.

The other day, my husband and I sat down and talked about what we REALLY want out of the season. What is the MOST important to us, and to our kids. And then we chatted with our oldest two about things. What do THEY want out of this. What are some of their favorite traditions and maybe something they’d like to add? Or take away?

I think it’s important to include them in the planning. We have a slightly unique set up with two kiddos in elementary school, and then twin toddlers who are pretty clueless to all the “traditions” for now. But, some things might not mesh too well with the twinnies schedule, but we cannot discount what the older two would like either.

It’s definitely a balance we are striving for this year. And it’s not going to be easy.

We also have to consider our oldest daughter and her special needs that don’t always allow for certain events or locations that the rest of us enjoy. Large crowds and loud noise and looong lines…NO THANK YOU.

We’d all be tearing our hair out. It wouldn’t be fun for any of us.

So, we have to evaluate all the things and decide which ones are worth it and which ones we can do without. And making sure everyone gets to do something they really enjoy, even if that means a smaller scale activity of it.

Like I said, it’s a balance.

I think it’s also OKAY to re-evaluate year to year….especially when your kiddos are younger. And I am learning to be OKAY myself with letting things change. What was once fun to the under 5 crowd, maybe not be to the over 10 crowd. And that’s okay. Some traditions are long term and awesome, and others have their time and it might not be but for a short time.

So, we wrote a list. This year, things that matter the most to us are:

-Advent {this is a long-term one that we all love}
-a REAL christmas tree
-decorating outside
-SIMPLE decorations inside {twin toddlers= SIMPLE}
-going to see christmas lights
-cookie decorating
-hot chocolate and favorite holiday movies
-baked french toast for Christmas morning {hubby’s request}
-opening Christmas cards as a family
-simple holiday crafts {oldest child’s request}
-Christmas Eve service at church, followed by simple dinner at home and FAMILY time
-stocking “hope notes” {a long-term tradition we’ve done for several years now}
-baking Russian tea cookies and making peirogies (and some other simple things) for New Years celebration {for my oldest daughter}

It’s enough. And simple and family focused. This is just a rough list, but it works for us. We might add to it or change it up a bit, depending on how things are going.

{Oh, and there will definitely be random dance parties to our favorite Christmas tunes}

But, I like this list. And there are still some holiday performances and get togethers tossed in there, but it’s more manageable this year. At least that is what I am hoping!

What are some of your absolute favorite holiday traditions and memories?