Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Works For Me: Simplify Traditions
I love Christmas and all the traditions that come with it. Unfortunately, it just isn't humanly possible to do them all and still manage to enjoy them. If I try, I'm a stressed out basketcase by the time Christmas actually arrives. But, if I sit down and try to eliminate some, I feel cheated somehow. Like I am giving up things that I love. What I have learned to do, instead, is to look at traditions from a new perspective:
When we had our second child, I let my husband in on a way he could be perceived as a "cool dad". I told him of the tradition my dad had of making bannana splits for dinner whenever my mom had a baby. "You mean BOTH times?" my smart alec husband asked. It is true. My mom only had two children after me, but I still call the bannana split dinner a tradition and think my dad was super fun for doing it. I realized after thinking about this, that a tradition doesn't have to be something that happens every single year to be a cherished memory for my family.
So, each year I pick and choose the traditions we will do that year. And then I let the others go, guilt free, knowing that I can do them next year. For example, this year I am not doing Christmas cards, a family picture or gifts to the neighbors. I will be helping the kids make gifts for their teachers and a gingerbread house. Both of which we haven't done in awhile. I will also ask my family what they most want me to bake, and then just try one or two other things I've been dying to try. Of course, there are some traditions that get carried out every year, because we love them the most. But, overall, this strategy let's me do the ones I'm most in the mood for, and keeps down my guilt level over not getting everything done each year.
This also applies to other traditions. I only make my kid's Halloween costumes every other year. I don't think I would enjoy doing it more often than that. And this way costumes get a bit more wear for all that effort. (If they don't like what they were last year, they can choose another option from the costume box.)
I, also, only do the big friend birthday parties on odd numbered birthdays. Even years are family only. This maintains my enthusiasm for going all out on fun themed parties, and reserves significant birthdays (baptism, deacon ordination) for special family only celebrations.
Works for me!
Be sure to check out more Works for Me Wednesday Ideas at Rocks in My Dryer