As a mom with ADHD I have high expectations of myself and what I can accomplish, but I often have a low ability to actually follow through on what I want and desire to do. Which just leads to feelings of low self -esteem and frustration as I fail to live up to the unrealistic expectations that I set for myself. Since I was diagnosed with it a couple of years ago, I have begun to understand things about myself that were really confusing before, and one of those things is that I need to scale WAY back on my expectations and desires for myself. It’s okay to not need to carry everything, and it’s okay if I don’t make everything myself, and it’s okay if everything isn’t picture perfect, because it was never going to be perfect anyways! This year my goal is to focus on simple Christmas traditions that will be easy to implement, and fill our holiday season with meaning. We’ve been using our printables from the Ho Ho Homeschool Christmas bundle, to help us get ready for the holiday season. I’ve printed off the Kindness Calendar and the Advent cards (though I still need to laminate them before the kids tear them to pieces!). We also bought JK Rowling’s newest story, The Christmas Pig, and we are pretty excited to start that one! We will start listening to it closer to Christmas, since Audible says it’s only 5 hours long. We will be printing off some Christmas cards to give to friends and family as well. This creates a nice handwriting exercise, and since kids are having fun they don’t realize that they are secretly practicing writing skills! This is an important one, because we have some writing aversions in the family, and it’s important to not only make it fun, but to let the kids see the practical world application to why we practice our handwriting skills.
What is a Simple Minimalist Christmas? It’s exactly what it sounds like! Simple Christmas traditions, with a minimalist mindset, aimed at creating meaningful memories and experiences rather than spending a lot of money. I mentioned it in my post a couple months ago, that I prefer to forego traditions like teaching kids about Santa Claus (read how we celebrate a Simple Minimalist Halloween!). I don’t like feeling like I am lying to my kids. They pretty much know that Santa isn’t real since they had a friend blurt it out to all of them last year, but it was a heartbreaking realization for my then 5-year-old. I would have preferred to just skip that tradition, but again, when we get married and form our own families, we have to create our own ways of doing things! My husband’s family made a pretty big deal about Santa Clause each year, and it was an exciting and magical part of his childhood. He wanted to pass that on to his children, and I can’t argue much with that! Since we’re not really “doing” Santa Claus this year I feel like I have more freedom to actually create traditions that are specific to our family. Traditions that will focus our minds on Christ through the season, and will help inoculate us from the commercialism that has overtaken our society. I dislike the notion that our entire purpose in life is to feed the gaping maw of a corporate parasite as we throw our hard-earned money down into its bloated belly. While we can’t really go through life never buying ANYTHING, we can minimize our expenditures by teaching our families principles of thrift and modest living. We don’t need the biggest and shiniest things in the world, and having those things will never leave us truly satisfied (gives the side eye to “reality” TV shows about the super wealthy). Christmas is a season of joy, but it is also a season of humility and awe. When we focus so much time and effort on commercialized spending we can lose out on the spiritual benefits of the season. Simple family Christmas traditions, like making a gift for each other, or doing acts of service, help us to avoid mindless consumerism.
Benefits of having a Simple Minimalist Christmas: · Renewed focus on Christ. When we set aside the commercial aspects of the season, we are able to turn our families back to the intent behind the Christmas season – celebration of, and gratitude for, the birth of Christ. · Family Focused. When we emphasize things like acts of service, giving gifts, and thinking about others, we create opportunities for bonding and fond memories! · More Eco-Friendly. When we aren’t going out and buying gobs of things every Christmas season, we reduce the waste our household contributes to. We also work harder to upcycle and reuse the things that we have! · Room for Imagination. While we don’t specifically focus on Santa Claus these days, we still love reading, hearing, and watching stories about the Christmas season, including stories that have Santa Claus in them! We listen to stories on Audible, play Christmas music, we watch Christmas movies in the evening, and we make homemade hot chocolate that it just amazing! How to have a Simple Christmas Figure out what are important elements of the Christmas season to you and your family. If your family finds a lot of joy in the concept of Santa Claus then roll with it! In our home we often refer to him as St. Nicholas, and we even celebrate St. Nicholas day sometimes. This is fun because it gives us the opportunity to give some early gifts that help make our Christmas season more special. Gifts like books, art supplies, or even kits for making things can be a great “early” present, because it gives us the ability to spend more time together listening to stories and making decorations for our friends and family! Another day that we like to celebrate is Santa Lucia day! My mom did this with us when I was a child. We would bake saffron buns, and she would sing us a traditional song about Lucia! My mother served her mission in Sweden, and her great-grandfather (great-great for me!) was Norwegian. Because of this I love to incorporate Scandinavian influences into our holidays. We also have a large dose of Scottish ancestry, so I like to learn about Scottish Christmas traditions as well. It just creates another way for us to remember our family and ancestors that came before us. I like to make a Swedish cookie called Pepparkakor during Christmas time. In fact, there is nothing that says Christmas for me like those cookies!
A Simple Minimalist Christmas It may seem silly to try to maintain minimalist holiday traditions, especially in our highly commercialized society, but by focusing on what’s truly important we take a lot of pressure off our minds. The important things – spending time with family, performing acts of service, or whatever else it is for your family – should take top priority in our lives and hearts. It’s not hard to create a simple tradition for your family, and it is so worthwhile to create this memory for your family and children! When we teach our children about the importance of service and sacrifice, we help them understand the sacrifice that Christ made for us on our behalf. The traditions you create will be specific to your family, but don’t wait to try and get everything “perfect”, just start doing it, and you can make adjustments as you go!
If you would like help creating simple family Christmas traditions, then download our free printable! I’ve designed this to help parents figure out what Christmas traditions might be important for them, and how to implement those traditions in their families!