The Experiment: Day 81 ~ Just One Day At A Time Through The Holidays…

And herein the madness begins. Christmas is two weeks from today. We have arrived at that time when you can hear people crying out in frazzled voices, “Christmas is in two weeks and ohmygod I have to shop and bake and decorate and wrap and…” Well, let’s stop for just a moment and catch our breath. First of all if you haven’t even started shopping you could get it all done in one evening on amazon, get it in two days, with free shipping if you are a Prime member! There are ways to get things done fast and easy. One trip to the Dollar Store and shop for everyone. Or take a few hours and hit the thrift shops! One way or another you can get it done in one fell swoop, but the thing is, don’t panic! Lucky and smart are the people who start in January to prepare for the next Christmas making handmade goods throughout the year or shopping ahead, but that’s not most of us! Breathe… One evening or weekend afternoon to bake, decorate and wrap gifts while listening to Christmas music or watching a Christmas movie. If you’ve got to do something make it as easy and fun as possible. And then there’s the magic of the “flexible list.”

The flexible list is the list that takes everything you think you have to do and pares it down to what is easier and more sane and absolutely sufficient. One thing most of us do is have this mess of things in our head, so many things we think that we HAVE to do that they get all jumbled up and seem to GROW in size. The fog will clear and the “things” will shrink down to a more manageable size as soon as you write them down. And then here’s the magic part. Look, really look, at this list. How many things really have to get done? How many things do you think you have to do out of force of habit, maybe things that others don’t really care about anymore but keep you spinning in circles? Or things that you used to do when you were younger and had more energy or more money or more time. It’s okay to let as much go as you possibly can. Pare it down to absolute essentials. Tell the family you’re going to do things a little bit different this year to make things easier and more relaxed for everyone. My kids and their spouses and I all used to buy for each other. That’s a lot of presents, time, and money. When I suggested last year that the adults just do a gift exchange, each of us buy one gift and receive one gift I think there was a collective sigh of relief. While my circumstances have certainly changed financially and it had become too hard to shop for everyone, all of my kids and their families are young working families with children where both parents work and not just might finances be tight but trying to work and get kids to school or daycare, and shop and wrap and so on for everybody was just overwhelming for us all. We do all buy gifts for the children, there are 4 boys from 18 months to 13, everyone wants to get gifts for the young ones, but the rest of us are grown ups and what we need more than anything, more than a pile of gifts to open, is peace of mind, a relaxed joyful holiday season, and time to really enjoy the day. Last year was the easiest Christmas ever and we are carrying on the gift exchange tradition again. And it made me especially excited to shop for the young boys with more time and more room in the budget.

And what else? Can the cooking be pared down? Do you still have to bake all those Christmas cookies? And what happens if you don’t? Christmas is about love and family and the joy of the season. Christmas is a time to make memories. What kind of memories are you making this Christmas? Now if there are things that are very special to you, that are traditions that you want to keep, good for you! That is wonderful, but find other things you can cut out.

And then despite the busy holiday season there is still life to be lived. Kids are still in school for awhile yet, people are going to work, life things must get done. Today I have to take the car in to have the oil changed and get it inspected before paying my car taxes for the year. Property taxes must be paid, teeth need to be cleaned even in December, therapy still happens for the next couple of weeks, groceries must be bought, and it’s time to fill the bird feeders! Everything in life doesn’t stop because it’s the holiday season. Look at your original list, everything you thought had to be done, circle the things you really have to do and cross out the rest. It’s a whole new year and making life easier and more livable might just be something for you to carry forward as a gift for yourself in the new year, not just for the holidays. How much time do you spend all year round on things that keep your wheels spinning but really aren’t necessary? Time to cut out the dross and invite in more peace and calm. And it’s a perfect way to glide out of one year and into the next with a greater sense of ease. I don’t know about you but I’m all for that!

I am looking at my list for today, I have crossed things out, I have circled things, and I am on my way to do the things that must be done. One evening this week I will put on Christmas music and wrap the gifts. Next week I want free and clear for doing sweet things like watching favorite Christmas movies, making good keto meals, and tending to life with gentleness and care. I hope you can look out across the next two weeks and pare everything down so that you can truly enjoy the season. Approaching the holidays with a sense of calm and peace in your heart may be a whole new thing for some, but it’s the only way to greet the season so as to enjoy it all. I hope you have peace-full, ease-full days.

Wishing you so many blessings and so much love…


The Experiment ~A 365 Day Search For Truth, Beauty &
Day 1 ~ Introduction To The Project
“Do or do not. There is no try.”

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  1. Thank you for these wise advices <3

  2. I’m only making a few kinds of cookies for my adult kids and husband this year. Gingerbread cookies were made today. One other kind will be made later this week and the third not until next week.

    Tomorrow I am designating as wrapping day. Most of my shopping is done with just a few more small things to get. It’s always such a relief once the gifts are wrapped. Mostly they will be in festive gift bags, which is simple. I like to be able to sort them and place them in a big box or two in a closet.

    I certainly do more online shopping than I did in the past, even though I like to patronize local merchants when possible.

    Simpler Christmas is definitely more relaxing and satisfying.

    • Joan so good to hear from you! Your cookies and wrapping plans sound lovely and yes, it’s just hard for me to shop in stores, online is much easier, but I do like to shop on etsy when I can to support artisans and hand made goods. And amazon has just become a life-saver for me. I order just about everything from them from my special toothpaste to vitamins and supplements to dog food! Shopped for the 3 babies on amazon but I do have to go to a local store that my 13 year old grandson loves to get him a giftcard which he really wanted. And oh yes, a simpler Christmas is so much nicer. I remember nearly having a nervous breakdown every holiday season and it just ruins Christmas. This is so much nicer.

      Glad to hear your holidays are going well and gift bags are wonderful!!! 🙂

      • I only got half the stocking stuffers wrapped in tissue today. I kept procrastinating and finding other more ‘important’ chores to do. I’m not sure why I have such a resistance to wrapping because I love gift giving. Well, at least I did it for an hour and that part is half done! I’m determined to get the wrapping done this week. 🙂

        • Bless your heart Joan, I do understand. I always plan to get all the wrapping done early and all too often am wrapping on Christmas Eve! I really hope to get mine done this week too. WE CAN DO IT!!!! 😀

  3. Soooo , I’m new bere, Hi! I soooo needed this! I am Care giver to munhusband with LBD (Lewy Body Dementia) he was diagnosed 3&1/2 yrs ago plus. He was 74 yesterday & I will be 67 on the 23rd. Our daughters live in 3 different states, so I’m it! Wanting to keep Precious Moments for everyone, I traveled to PA A FEW MONTHS AGO, it had some not so good times, but not infront of the Grands, as we stayed in a hotel. BTW we live in Wi. THEN, at the end of Oct. I traveled to Georgia to Another daughters, we stayed through Thanksgiving, as that was her BDay too. The last 2 hrs of the trip let me know I couldn’t do the trip home alone, so my son in law drove us back, again with the last 2 hours were really tough too. Both trips took 2’days. Zinc Home, my husband has declined each day. So, keeping it simple is my motive of life these days. My daughter in Georgia will design our Christmas cards, something I haven’t had the energy to do
    Since diagnosis, & we had BEAUTIFUL pics taken by her friend while down there, got our small tree
    Up, ribbons on outside light, some Knick knacks Up & that’s it! I am on the LCHF woe, so butter cookies will be made for the hubs & maybe peanutbutter cookies for him, datenut cake (bread) for him as it’s tradition, & MAYBE a treat for me! My 1 daughter in Illinois will be here for my Birthday on the 23rd with her family & go home the 24th, Daughter in Georgia SIL not be coming & Daughter in PA will be here md Jan. So I will keep the tree up. Simple, but heart breaking. Hugs!

    • Oh dear Bonnie you are going through so much. I’m so sorry, this must be devastating to watch your dear husband as he goes through these changes. I will hold you close in my heart and prayers, and yes, keep things as simple as possible to make them as easy as possible for you and be very gentle with yourself. It’s hard being a caretaker and the caretaker usually does a great job for the one who needs the care but doesn’t take care of herself as much as she should. I hope you are able to find some time to nourish yourself and fill your own cup. I am hoping for this with my whole heart. Many blessings and much love to you…


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