I Want an Avonlea Christmas

Loveys, I keep having a craving to watch An Avonlea Christmas. I'm a sucker for all things Anne of Green Gables and Avonlea--ish. Really, if you know me, you know I break out Christmas music in July. So the fact that I want to watch holiday movies in October is actually not surprising. Now, even if that's what I want, it rarely happens. To have two straight hours to actually watch what I want? And not to be interrupted by snack time and diaper changes and breaking up sibling fights? Well, those days are so far behind me that I can't even remember them. The good thing about watching movies you've practically memorized is that you can turn them on and not be devastated if you only get to watch snippets.

It'll be a different kind of Christmas this year, lovey. Not in a terrible way. My baby sister will be married. I don't think most of my family will be traveling much post-wedding, so I'm thinking it will be a quiet holiday at home with us and the kids. And that sounds fine really. Because my heart has Christmas goals this year. One goal is fewer presents, along with online shopping rather than going out to stores. I'm actually already starting to think about the gifts I want to buy for family. Because fewer doesn't mean less meaningful, to me, it means more meaningful. Starting early gives you time to put some thought into what you buy. The fact is that this is the first Christmas in as long as I can remember that I haven't been working. So that factors into things too. I don't want to add lots of pressure on Jeff. I want to navigate the holiday season without debt and regret. This is our first Christmas as a family of five. I know I don't need lots of activities to keep up with. I mostly want nights at home, baking yummy things and watching a Mickey Mouse Christmas Carol with these kiddos.

I'm a crazy-about-Christmas-lists kind of girl. I make lists all season long. Lists about things I want us to do (like making gingerbread cookies or going to see Santa). Lists about what I'm buying for everybody. Lists about cards to send out. Lists about dinner parties or social gatherings we need to make time for. Lists about crock-pot recipes I want to try during winter! Lists about anything and everything! And it's nuts how fast the calendar fills up this time of year. We can only do so much before it gets ridiculous.

Here's what I know will happen if I don't approach the holiday season with intentionality: I will spend too much money and the season will be swallowed up in activities. There's so much I'd love to do! My mind starts filling up with ideas. Maybe a chili night with the neighbors? Maybe a girls movie night with drinks? Maybe a kids cookie exchange with Ash and a few friends? Book club with a Christmas novella? Dinner parties? Take gifts to a nursing home?

But the truth is that we can so easily overextend ourselves during the holidays. Even with service projects. It's good to know our own limits and what's healthy for us. Every time I host something, I have to factor in how much time I put in cleaning and prepping, how much things cost, the time Jeff will spend watching the kids, and so on. For me this year, I'm going to be mostly out of commission in November (foot surgery). And I'm okay with it. Because for some reason, my soul just wants things to be a little simpler this year. (Maybe it's the baby factor and the lack of sleep.)

Once upon a time, I was a little girl living out the Christmas season with my family in Texas, wearing jackets when it was 69 degrees. :)  And the memories I have from those times are varied. I loved the Christmas program at school. That was a big deal. I liked the Thanksgiving breakfast at church. I loved setting out our Sarah, Plain and Tall village on top of the piano. Shopping for gifts was stressful. Even cooking could feel stressful sometimes. Decorating could be stressful (I vividly remember my mom going to war with the lights on the Christmas tree). But mostly, my favorite memories are food and family. Hot chocolate and popcorn and watching movies like Sarah, Plain and Tall or While You Were Sleeping. Mimi's dressing (the magic of going to grandmother's house!).

Every year, our holiday season looks different. Our kids age and things are either easier or even more filled with activities. Some years we get tackled by the flu or colds. The holiday season can come at you like a train and topple you over. Or you can make a plan. Pray about your holiday goals, lovey. Make a list. What do you want for this season? Like I said, for myself, I want to buy fewer presents and be more intentional with spending. I want to make time for a few important activities/gatherings, and also be okay with nights at home with my family. I'd like to make this season special for my kids and incorporate Jesus even more. What about you? How do you want this season to be different? What are your goals? What's on your to-do list? How do you keep the holiday season from making you crazy? (I am seriously open to suggestions!)

Let's live it together and make it beautiful.

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