For many, Christmas means added stress. Since my husband and daughter both work in retail, it's nice for them to come home to some peace and calm.
I think our Christmas theme really started when we bought a tree light timer. Wow! That sure beats trying to get to the back of the tree each day by parting a jungle of tree branches and tip toeing around wrapped presents.
I kept tree decorating simple, using a few store bought ornaments I had on hand, but mostly my handmade ones.
I also decorated our antique typewriter with some greens and one of my prints, "Warm Winter Wishes" that I cut and mounted to masonite board.
In the kitchen, I set up a snowman themed vignette in one of the windowsills featuring a snowman cupcake that I painted on a piece of wood...
and a snowman pin cushion that I made a few years ago with a hat made from a spool of thread and a wooden disc. I found the little yellow bowl at a second hand shop to sit him in. My grandmother's polka dotted spice tins add a fun touch.
In the other kitchen window, I created a gingerbread theme. The kitchen smelled just like Christmas after I baked some gingerbread hearts for my little tree. My grandmother's glasses added a nice touch on top of the cookbooks. Coincidentally, her glasses work perfectly for me when I'm trying to remove a splinter from my finger as they seem to be a perfect match for my eyes.
In the dining room, I filled a box with a few of my painted bowls, some red transferware, a candle, Christmas balls and some Poly-fil for snow.
To keep it simple, I decorated a corner cupboard in my dining room with a sweet vignette that I kept set up from last year. I simply open the door of the cupboard at Christmas to display it.
I kept that same approach in the master bedroom by using a pre-decorated small tree from last year and found a new place for it on the bedside table. Our bed was adorned with a paper wreath that I bought at a friend's open house.
In the living room, I decorated the hearth with my Central Market Putz House that I made a few years ago from cracker boxes and added a cute Christmas piece on our lamp table that I also purchased from a friend's open house. Simple, but so sweet.
My daughter seemed to catch onto the simplicity theme this year by telling me, "If I just get chocolate for Christmas, I will be happy. She is such a contented person! Here, I have a little corner set up for the Jacques Torres hot chocolate we bought for her. After we made some together last night, she remarked that her stomach was very happy!
On Christmas morning, we took a very relaxed approach--sleep in as long as you like. When everyone was ready, I made a stromboli for my hubby and daughter with store bought pizza dough and sliced meats and cheeses--no huge meal or cleanup on Christmas--just simple. For my meal I chopped up some veggies and cooked them together to make a sweet potato hash.
After lunch, we exchanged gifts. We kept things simple with one surprise gift for each of us and other gifts were things that we needed. We bought frozen steaks and clothing for my hubby, new bedding and dresses for my daughter, and a few kitchen items like a stainless steel pan and wooden cutting board for me. This year we also kept it simple by shopping early and online and avoided the long lines and crowds. At the end of the day, I realized that Christmas doesn't need to be as stressful, as we make it. If we are stressed over Christmas, I think we need to take a fresh look at the very simplicity surrounding the birth of Christ. Why do we think we need to compete with or outdo others? If we plan ahead and make it simple on purpose, it can be a joyous time as we celebrate the real meaning of Christmas with our loved ones.
What do you do to keep the stress out of Christmas? Do you cook up a large pot of soup or have an easier approach to gift giving? If you have a fun tradition that brings simplicity to Christmas, please share your thoughts below in the comment section. I would love to hear from you!
"Better a small serving of vegetables with love
than a fattened calf with hatred."