- Most of you have probably already decorated, but if not or if you're in the process, do you really need 5 trees in your house? Do you even need lights outside? Simplify to one tree, one wreath, some candles in the windows perhaps? Decorating should be fun and meaningful, not a way to impress or outshine the neighbors.
- Wrapping gifts--do it simply. Do you have to make handmade bows/ribbons? What if you just leave the bows off altogether? We end up traveling with many gifts and the bows just get squished in the trunk, so why bother? I have slowly come to terms with this over the years, and am going bow-free this year.
- Gift giving--don't over-do it! The kids don't really need 50 little things. What's wrong with 2 or 3 nice gifts and some stocking stuffers. If they have grandparetns or other family/friends, they'll get plenty of stuff.
- Handmade gifts are great, but does EVERYONE have to have one? If you've decided to crochet scarfs or ornaments for everyone on your list, you will be pulling your hair out trying to get them done unless you started in January. Pick a person or two to be creative with and buy the other folks something at Wal-Mart.
- Christmas cards--have you even seen great-Aunt Pat in 10 years? Or Larry, the third-cousin once removed? Send em out to close friends/relatives, and send a family pic to the other folks later.
- Christmas cooking/baking--don't over-do it. If you can't give it away very soon, it'll sit on your counter getting stale or sit on your hips making you fat. Pick a few recipes and know where/to whom you'll be taking it and stick with that. Save a few pieces for the family each time of course :) If you're like me and love to try new recipes, you may want to try them early so you'll know if they're worth making again.
I hope I've given you some food for thought about not letting perfectionism take over this Christmas season. It's really hard to let go of our own or family's expectations sometimes, but when we struggle to over-achieve and make everything Norman Rockwell perfect, we'll be frazzled and stressed and that will not bless our family at all. Better off to have a little Charlie Brown Christmas tree and spend a little extra time with the kids than to sacrifice our precious time for perfectionism.