Last November, my husband lost his job.
It was unexpected and traumatic. We were facing the holiday season with two small children and very little money. Out of necessity, I created the series Christmas without Consuming. I traded in my Frasier fir for a fake tree from my mom. I emailed Christmas cards and made my own presents. I tried to celebrate a holiday dedicated to consuming without spending any money.
It wasn’t easy but the support I received from all of you was amazing. The idea of scaling back and spending less definitely hit a nerve so much so I ended up in USA Today talking about my little experiment!
A year later, we face another Christmas season with very different lives. My husband has a new (and wonderful) job and I have a hobby that has turned into a career. In other words, we have income! Of course, we also have debt (apparently they still require you to pay back your law school loans even if you decide not to become a lawyer!) and a home and two cars and two children. In other words, we have expenses.
Still, I’m not prepared to celebrate the holiday without consuming completely. As you already know, it’s too late to email Christmas cards! Also, we’re hosting our annual holiday open house this year, which I really missed.
And yet, I don’t want to fall back into my old ways. The holiday season is filled with high expectations, rising pressure, and emotional pitfalls. We all want our children to look like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting as we pass out Martha-Stewart-worthy sugar cookies in front of our straight-from-a-Pottery-Barn –catalog tree. But you know what? That’s how you end up with tears running down your flour-streaked face muttering under your breath about how YOU are the only one that understands the importance of Christmas.
Oh, was that just me?
Instead, I’m going to try to keep lessons I learned from last year while adding in a little less consumption. I still want to slow down and leave room for unexpected moments cuddling up for (one more) reading of The Polar Express. I still want to focus on the moments that matter to my family – finding the perfect tree or making homemade gifts – instead of collecting experiences everyone else says I “have” to have (I’m looking at you, Elf on a Shelf). I still want to enjoy Christmas instead of just tackling it.
I want to celebrate Christmas with INTENTION.
As is often the case, Sarah and I are on the same page. We are both dedicated to sharing our journeys through the holiday season with all of you in the hope we all learn something about slowing down, focusing in, and soaking up this precious time with our families ... even during the busiest time of the year.
~ Sarah Stewart Holland
What does your Christmas with Intention look like? As we start ticking off days on our advent calendars and receiving invitation after invitation in the mail, let's all share the moments we really don't want to miss this holiday season.