Keeping It Simple

A few years ago I picked up a book called “Bringing Simplicity Back to Christmas”, or something like that. It was worth the price just to have it sitting on my coffee table as a constant reminder through the season to aim for simplicity. The book encouraged the reader to make two lists. In the left column write the things about Christmas you absolutely love. In the right column, list the things you were already dreading about the holiday. Tear the paper in half and throw away the right column. Now how does the season look? Where does the pressure come from to do the things in the right column? Is there another way? Brainstorm for a happier holiday.

For example, I had “The Dreaded Mall” in my right column. Sore feet, dry eyes, exhaustion, frustration, I hate it all. That year I started earlier (than the usual week before) and bought almost everything online. I was giddy with the excitement of doing my shopping in a comfortable chair, with Christmas music playing in the background, and then having someone deliver it to my door. It revolutionized Christmas for me.

I do enjoy a trip to the mall and Christmas shopping in general, but with the bulk of it done online, the store shopping was just a pleasure. I do love to see a wider variety of people at the mall than generally are to be found. You know, Grizzly Adams, whose beard and boots say that he’s just taken a brief break from his usual activities to begrudgingly run to the mall to make sure his wife/daughter/son is taken care of on Christmas. And various other characters making their yearly trip to The Dreaded Mall. Sure we can look at that and say, ‘wow, the tentacles of commercialism reach far and wide at Christmastime.’ I prefer to the think that Love will not be denied at Christmas, that even Grizzly Adams couldn’t bear to see his wife disappointed. That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it.

Of course Christmas in Qatar will mean we miss Grizzly Adams and his cohort but we’ll try some new things. We’ll take in the Christmas trees in some of the hotel lobbies. They’ll also have carollers at some point. Last year Honour and I got henna so we should do that again (if we do it two years in a row that’s a tradition right?). We’ll go to a Christmas Eve party with friends and hopefully a church service.  On Christmas day we’ll go for a fancy lunch with other friends. There will have to be copious amounts of time devoted to skype of course, keeping us connected with loved ones at home.

Things are a little strange like the poinsetta with the sea in the back ground and In The Bleak Midwinter playing while …no such winter is in sight. There’s snow in the store windows, that’ll have to do.

We have the tree up and this weekend we finally decorated and watched Elf and made some cookies. That helped to keep just enough old wrapped into the new. This year I even have Christmas carols playing. Last year I tried but there were a couple of melt downs that brought that to a screeching halt. I’m on more stable (no pun intended) ground this year.

poinsetta Love Birds From Janice Elf baby jesus Baby's first christmas

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Keeping It Simple

  1. I could have REALLY used this post four years ago! But thanks for writing it now.

  2. Funny, we have that same Christmas ball 1989. We also have some family that is far away again this year. Skype is such a blessing!!
    Hope you enjoy your Qatar Christmas.

  3. No pun intended =) Funny! Hohoho! Love your thoughts on Christmas. Thanks for the sanity….

    • I was hoping you’d post a Christmas themed update. I love the ‘simplicity’ idea and found myself just innately needing to scale back, since moving here. However, in the back of my mind I do have plans to resurrect some of the former traditions one day, should the arrival of a grandchild be our inspiration. Although I love this time of year, It truly is for children, and so I relish my volunteer time at the school – seeing their faces light up when discussing the subject, and joining the audience of parents (next week) to hear them belting out all the holiday songs.

      Merry Christmas Tracie!!

  4. mdk

    hey tracie! thanks so much for the post! best wishes for a wonderful holiday in Quatar! we think of you guys often and although we miss you, we know you’re creating such wonderful memories! i think the people there are lucky to have you! (please feel free to tell them i said so! ) lol best for the 2013 to you all! GREAT BIG HUGS FROM CHAPLIN AVE! XXXXX

  5. Anna-Marie

    It’s all about being intentional about making memories when you are away from the traditional cues of your home country – so, well done! It will be a good Christmas of your own making!

  6. Lynda Carlyle

    Merry Christmas, Tracie Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2012 12:06:55 +0000 To: lynda.carlyle@hotmail.com

  7. heather gillatly

    lynda…i have the same ball on my tree. baby’s first christmas 1989. she was born christmas day 1989. i assume one of your daughters was born in 1989. her middle name is noel. she was the best christmas present i ever received.

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