Reflecting back over the last two years, there has been much change happening in our growing family. We went from a party of 4 to a family of 6 which meant we were in need of bigger and more. A bigger car, a new house with more space, bigger furniture, and more groceries. We also went from a Dual Income lifestyle to a Single Income, Dad Brings Home the Bacon and Mom Stays (Works) at Home which equated to tighter purse strings and a smaller budget. This has been quite a learning curve for us, as we have discovered as a family the difference between want and need. Just because we can doesn’t mean we should, and teaching ourselves how to be resourceful with what we have while minimizing our spending on items that are important to us. Enter Christmas.
The most commercialized holiday of the year. People save up all year so they can spend with wreckless abandon. Some of us don’t even save and still spend with that same ambition. We just moved into our house a month ago, and the thought of decorating for the holidays was not top on my list. Alas, I have four kids, all at that impressionable Santa and Elf on the Shelf age, which leaves me little room to be a Grinch at Christmas time. The move, however, was a great excuse to slim line the hordes and hordes of decorations I have collected throughout the year. Whether handed down from my mother, or secretly stashed in my garage by my mother in law, I have roughly 8 boxes and counting (I’m still not convinced my husband took everything out of our storage unit) of decorations. And, every year, I probably only use about less than half. We have a 9′ tall tree, that I decorate to the nines, and the kids have a 4′ tall tree they get to decorate on their own. I seriously considered only putting up their little 4′ tree on one of my coffee tables and calling it a Christmas…I mean, according to my son’s Christmas Facts worksheet he brought home from school yesterday, that was the trend back in the early 1900’s. But as people bought
more and more ornaments, they needed more room to hang them, which meant the trees got bigger. See the pattern here…more=bigger. I was hoping when the kids put up their tree they would forget about our traditional grand one we set up for everyone to see, but no such luck. That night through the next two days, they asked incessantly when we were going to decorate our tree. I succumbed. The tree is still sitting proudly lit in the middle of our living room, with no decorations or tree skirt, waiting to be all made up for the big day. Funny thing, is that I’m not even stressed about it. For years, my husband and I would get into fights over the damn tree being lit and decorated, and here it is, 9 days before Christmas with not a single ornament. The checker at the grocery store gasped when she asked the friendly, “Are you all ready for Christmas?”, and I responded with, “Well, we are just putting our tree up today.” She had no answer to my reply.
The one thing I am excited about is the mantle. I have these beautiful stockings handmade from vintage fabrics, and this is the first year I can display all 6 of them properly. We didn’t have a fireplace in our previous home, so I always had to think outside the box on where to hang them. One year on the backs of my dining room chairs, another on the railing of our stairs. This year, it has completely made my Christmas to hang our stockings on the mantle so everyone can see them. It’s the little things.
Once I finished decorating inside and out, I told my husband he is free to do whatever with the leftover decorations. I only want to keep what we will use and stop storing the excess over and over again. My life has gotten bigger with the addition of the twins, and I can’t keep holding on to things that take up space, nor spend money on things that fill unnecessary voids. I also don’t want to spend my time during the holidays decorating 8 different trees, and putting lights all around the house and changing out my home decor for seasonal decor. And, I really don’t want to spend my savings account to have someone else come do it. It’s also why I do most of my Christmas shopping on-line, it’s much more time efficient for me. This way, I get to actually enjoy the holidays with my kids, and just enjoy the holidays. Although I love feeling festive and merry and attending Holiday events and being in the presence of Christmas decorations, I’m happy to see them in the homes we celebrate in and the places we visit around town.
Having our home reflect the changes our family has made in the last few years is what matters. It’s just the right amount for us, and it’s a great reminder, for all year through, that less really is more.