December 26, 2006

A Simple Christmas

Christmas has now come and gone, which gives us time to finally take a breath. We did things a tad different this year. We were frugal.

Winter is hard enough with the rush stress of holidays, budget-busting shopping, colder weather, darker days, and no wonder that along with "peace on earth" comes exhaustion, anxiety, and depression.

"Simple" was this year's theme and it worked.

We bucked the holiday system of excessive gift-giving, and we practiced simplicity, creativity, and just chillin' and connecting with each other. Being financially responsible is something I'm working on and I was very pleased with myself for sticking to my budget.

Gifts were smaller, less expensive, and given in less quantities. We didn't get our usual 9 foot live tree, but instead I bought a very slender - very artificial - but still nice (after decorating it) tree on sale at Target. When I pulled out the 7 foot pole with green pipe cleaners sticking out of it, Mike wasn't too impressed, but Domi and I made it work. To make up for the lack of fresh pine scent, I bought 25 feet of live garland and wrapped it along our stairwell banister and our home began to feel - and smell - like Christmas.

This was a special year since both boys were with us and it was Sophia's first Christmas. Of course, it's more exciting for the parents, since the baby has no clue what's going on. Sophia wasn't interested in tearing into the wrapping paper like I thought she'd be (hey, she tears apart any magazine she comes in contact with), but instead was cranky and only wanted in my lap. Oh, and the best part... I took over 80 pictures to commemorate Sophia's first Christmas, and somehow with the wonderful advances in digital camera technology, they all got deleted! :cry: At least we got some video footage.

The day after Christmas sale at Crate and Barrel is also a yearly tradition I seem to have started with my wallet, however, I was *strong* and resisted the urge to throw everything in sight with a red 50% sign in my crate. I put blinders on and went in solely for the adorable silver gift boxed ornaments to add to my tree collection (did ya notice it in my picture above? So darling.) Well, I was in and out in 20 minutes as opposed to the 3 hours I usually spend at their after Christmas sale (2 hours of that is usually standing in line - crazy, I know).

And the most important thing I did this holiday, was let myself grieve. My mother died this year and I wanted to honor her memory. I created an altar with pictures of her and lit a candle for her (which she happened to have made last year). We played beautiful classical christmas music and I allowed myself to cry, remember, and heal.

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