simply christmas…

by Jeanne

Ask anyone what they love most about their childhood memories of Christmas and I bet you’ll get the same answer …

The sights, the sounds and the smells …

The cookies and cocoa … the carols … the lights and the bells.

But really … It’s the anticipation. The Magic.

That’s what we all remember from our youth.

It’s like Boris Karloff says in How the Grinch Stole Christmas (quoting the masterful Dr. Seuss in the good version … the animated one … and the book) …

“He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!”

christmas circa 1973

But we’re trapped in a world that’s obsessed with stuff.

And if we know anything here at O’Mamas it’s that life is in the experience. Not the stuff.

So this year, we’re taking a page from the Waitress’ 1980s song “Christmas Wrapping,” and we’re “doing Christmas right this time!”

Here’s our 5-step plan:

BUY LESS / BUY LOCAL / RE-GIFT

Do you remember presents you got when you were 1 and 3 years old? How about when you were 10? Yeah … me neither. In fact, I remember one gift from my childhood. It was an Easy Bake Oven. I think I was maybe 5 or 6. And it was the beginning of my love of baking. The simple reality is … more gifts don’t make more memories.

So … we’ve asked Santa to bring ONE present for each of the kids. 😉

We’ve asked our families to consider giving re-gifts (gently used toys their children have outgrown) or flea market finds, or neat things they’ve found at local second hand stores or made by local artisans. If it’s not out of their closet, we’d like to support the local economy!

And as far as me and the Cowboy are concerned … We’ll cook together. Maybe we’ll take the kids on a snow-shoe (if there’s enough snow!). And we’ll appreciate that we get to spend the holiday together before he takes off on his next job.

SET A BUDGET AND BUY EARLY – SET A DATE TO BE DONE AND BE DONE WITH IT

December 15. We’ve got a few long-distance gifts to send. And we’ve got a short list of folks in town we want to celebrate. But we want to be able to enjoy the holiday season. We want to spend our time visiting with family and friends. We want to make time for the fun things going on around town (like seeing The Christmas Carol at The Ellen theater downtown …for example.) So we set our date … December 15th. Gifts will be bought. They’ll be wrapped. They’ll be sent. And we’ll have 10 days to relax and enjoy the season.

DECORATE (but don’t overdo it)

Decorating is fun but it can be stressful and expensive!! We’re being selective this year. We’re stringing garland and lights. We’re getting a tree and hanging stockings. And we’re putting out the decorations we love that remind us of Christmases past … the plan is to fill the space with love. We’d rather have a few special baubles than so much glitter that we feel like we’re in a bad window display.

BAKE (but only our favorites)

We do a lot of baking in the Cottage. So it’s easy to get overly ambitious when it comes to baking holiday treats. But this year, we’re going to limit ourselves. We’re going to make two kinds of cookies. In fact, later today, the littles and I are making two batches of vanilla cookies (with our new Christmas cookie cutters!)

cookie cutters
yes … butterflies and pigs are TOTALLY appropriate holiday cookies. Especially when they are pink and picked out by a little!

And my sis-in-law and niece are coming over on Sunday to make more than a few batches of Molasses Cookies … a recipe passed down for generations in the Cowboy’s family (which I’ll be sharing next week … they are kind of AWESOME, and totally not “healthy” … and if I tried to redux this recipe I’d be kicked out of the clan :).

And that’s it. (Except for the Cowboy’s bread pudding which he makes every year to share with some of our closest friends … maybe he’ll share the recipe on the blog … I guess I’ll have to ask him 🙂

DON’T OVERCOMMIT

And lastly … we’re not going to overcommit. Because it’s okay to not go to every event being offered in town. It’s okay to stay home and string popcorn (or even just eat the popcorn you thought about stringing) and watch Love, Actually on repeat. It’s okay to celebrate the holiday exactly as you want to celebrate the holiday.

How are YOU managing the holiday season this year?

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