Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Good Time of Year

I used to come close to hating the Christmas season. The stress really got to me. Now, not so much. There's a number of things that have changed that.

Four of the last five years we have gone somewhere for Christmas. For two years we went to Meade Kansas and celebrated with Lynda's relatives there. Then we had a year at home. Last year we went to Chicago to be with Charles and Bis, and will do the same this year. So the "clean up the house" aspect of Christmas is off the schedule. Also, there's no pressure to decorate for Christmas. We can put up decorations or not to suit our energy level. Again this year, we decided not to. Except for the old Christmas tree in the basement, which actually hasn't come down since we put it up for the last Christmas at our house in 2010.

Gift buying isn't a factor any more. We just give the kids money to use as they see fit. Same for the grand kids, as really their parents know better if they need another toy or a bedroom furnishing or clothing. Since we won't be with the grand kids again this year, there's no pressure to have gifts that say "from Grandpa and Grandma Todd".

Parties aren't much of a factor. We had our church Life Group party on Dec 8 so that's out of the way. Since the company isn't profitable we aren't having a Christmas party this year, and there's no need to get gussied up for that. Tomorrow we'll have a pot luck for lunch, which is enough celebration for me. I'm not a member of any organizations or on any boards that have a party, so there's another item that has fallen away from the Christmas season doing.

Christmas cards are not much hassle. We used to send about 125 cards around 15 years ago. Too many places lived, lots of friends acquired, one time of year to keep in touch. That number has dwindled to where last year we sent just a little over 60, and received less than 30. So this year we decided to go mostly paperless. We are preparing our Christmas letter, same as always, but will send very few cards. We will mostly send our letter by e-mail to those on our mailing list. Those for whom we don't have e-mail and who sent us a card last year will get a card. Those who haven't been sending us a card and don't have e-mail won't get a card from us. Sorry about that.

But there's lots good happening this time of year. Just three days before winter solstice, I drive to work in the dark. People's Christmas displays are still lit, brightening the night. I drive home in the dark, or near dark. Again, the Christmas lights are on at businesses and homes. Some of these displays are gaudy and really over the top, but most are tasteful displays. I realize these aren't religious symbols, but I don't worry about that. They are reminders for me as to why we have a Christmas season in the first place.

We are reading in a Christmas devotional, part of an all-church study tying together sermons, life group lessons, and at home reading. I enjoy going of the story of Christmas again, as well as linking it to various Old Testament passages in a way not usually considered. Lynda and I are a few days behind, so we are doing two days each day to catch up. Hopefully we'll make time to complete this when we're in Chicago.

So there's much less stress this year compared to previous years. We have a lot to do these next three days, but not enough to put a lot of stress on us. It should be a good Christmas again this year.


vero said...

Stress drains the joy from Christmas. I'm glad you've learned to make the season work for you and your family.

Susan said...

Sounds like you're perfecting the art of celebration -- I actually felt some stress drain away as I read this! Merry Christmas to you and Lynda!

David A. Todd said...


Reducing the amount of activities I have to do is what reduced the stress. It's definitely better.

David A. Todd said...


Glad to be of service. Have the best Christmas yet.