Christmas Traditions- Are They Worth It?

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You guys! Christmas is gonna be here soon!!!! Can you even believe it? As Christmas approaches, there is a fair chance your to-do list doubles, or even triples in size.  Today, I’m asking you to question your list. Every item on it, who is it for? How does it make you feel?

Here’s the thing, there is a fair chance that there is something on your list that you don’t really want to do. Maybe you don’t want to send Christmas cards, or write a letter, or attend a certain party, or do a work Secret Santa. 

Are Christmas Traditions worth all the work, stress, and time? The answer is- Maybe!
Image from Viktor Hanacek @ PicJumbo, Always credit artists folks.

Is it Worth It?

So many people just do the list, even if they don’t want to, and all it does it build a guilt and a pressure, and even some animosity and anger or dread. Take a minute and question: Is THIS Item worth it? How does it make you feel? Do you enjoy it? Why do you do it? Do you even want to?

Make A List- Check it Twice

I am HUGE on traditions, especially at Christmas. HUGE. I am all about traditions and have a strong goal to build memories and bring peoples good memories back at Christmas. If I know you’re coming to my house and Christmas and you like ribbon candy then I will track down ribbon candy. If you like ham at Christmas dinner then there will be ham. It gets a bit intense. That said I still keep it reasonable by having my (mental) list of “yes,” “maybes,” and “no way.” 

Yes Sir-E-Bob!

The Yes list includes making my family gingerbread recipe, decorating at least one tree, filling the nut bowl, and creating memories for any guests. These things will happen. HOW they happen will depend on the year. The gingerbread may be decorated and iced, it could even have a theme, or it may be cut and tossed in the cookie jar, but it will be done. The tree may have a big theme and even match the wrapping paper, or it may not. The nut bowl, pretty easy so I just buy nuts, but it may or may not be allowed to empty. I’ve made these traditions flexible. I can feel certain that come hell or high water I can pull these off. We also do Elf on the Shelf. We have a general ratio, our elf seems to just move around about 80% of the time, and 20% of the time he does something “special.” Make sure you get a lazy elf folks. I know that a kid will enjoy an elf sleeping in the fridge as much as they love him climbing a wall with a grappling hook made from paper clips. 

I dunno. Maybe?

The Maybes include things like making Stollen, seeing a light show, giving everyone their own wrapping paper (you know, all color coded and what-not), sending everyone Christmas cards, or hand-making stacks of ornaments. If all is well, no one is sick, my ADHD doesn’t cause the entire month to get away from me, and the budget allows, then we’ll probably do some of these things. I’ve done stollen from scratch, from a mix, in the bread machine, multiple loaves, every variety of making stollen you could think of. Plus there is the year I did it and my husband accidentally destroyed it. It’s a maybe so it getting done at all is an extra. I’ve sent 40+ cards, 12 cards, 0 cards, and this year just 2 cards. 

Side story- Those TWO cards, is because I bought special ones for my parents and my brothers family last year and never sent them. They are really awesome, they fold flat to ship and then a little pressure causes them to pop up into a 3d snowglobe! 

No Way- No How

The No list? Well, let’s just say if you ever receive a Christmas letter from me you better check it for clues that I am in trouble and asking for help. My family will not have Christmas photos taken. I tried once, never again. Never again. Also, I am never taking my dog to see Santa, and yes there is a story there. I am almost guaranteed to NOT do anything tagged Christmas on Pinterest. It’s not impossible because lots of things get tagged Christmas, but here’s the thing about these things- They are usually so fad oriented that you won’t miss them if you don’t do them. You probably won’t do them year after year. There’s also a good chance yours won’t look like the picture anyway.

Are They Worth It?

So, are traditions worth it!?!? Generally speaking a good tradition is SO worth it. It’ll build your Christmas spirit, brighten your mood and create memories you’ll cherish! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, hate a to-do list item, or it makes you feel angry or even worse a hatred of Christmas, you guys, it’s not worth it! Just because your mom always did, or you always have, or some random blogger does, doesn’t mean you have to. In the words of a famous blonde character who had a nervous break down due to societal pressure, let it go!

What’s Your Take?

Tell me what is your take? What is on your lists for yes, maybe, and no? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. 

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5 thoughts on “Christmas Traditions- Are They Worth It?

  1. I love this! One of mine has always, always been Christmas cards. Everything else can be whatever but the cards were my “thing”. It started out with “it must be hand addressed” and so forth, but a couple of years ago when I was resentful doing it, I spent some time wondering why. When we moved last year, it was an opportunity to really cull the list and cut back on folks that I really didn’t have a relationship with any more AND I gave myself permission to print labels and NOT write long personalized messages inside. It was very liberating. I want people to know I am thinking about them during the holidays, but I couldn’t handle the impossible standards I set for myself. The holidays are really tough on Obligers.

    1. It’s funny, I LOVE getting cards, but I find sending them just SO overwhelming. I think it doesn’t help that my family is HUGE so figuring out who does and doesn’t get one, plus the budget for all the stamps, and then the sheer fact that I never know the date and they’d always be late. LOL

  2. My “must do” is baking German (plus a few American) Christmas cookies. I lived in Germany for most of my life and learned the recipes from my landlady there. This year almost everything else at my house slipped away because I’ve been staying with my mom (whose house is across the street) because she was in an accident. Mercifully, her injuries were mostly minor, but the bruising made it painful to do some things so I stayed here, and in addition I was writing up the 150th-anniversary-of-our-parish booklet; so the house is an absolute disaster and I couldn’t even think about getting out any Christmas things. Though since everything has settled down I may go tidy up and set up my tree now. (Tidying up involves among other things removing the 11 large boxes of extra Fad of the Month Club kits that are in the living room waiting for me to list them on eBay to the basement). (I made one FoMC Christmas kit this year, and have several that I want to work on to have them ready for next year. See, this all fits in with craft stuff).

    I also have to read some of my Christmas books. Fortunately, if I feel like it I can stretch Christmas out until the Feast of the Purification, February 2. : )

    I have good intentions about Christmas cards but haven’t managed to send any out for a couple of years.

    1. I’ve been wondering what you were up to and was going to send you out an email and check in on you. 🙂 It’s great that you’re able to take care of your mom! My mom lives 8 hours away and my dream is to buy a bigger house with a nice in-law suite or something for her and my Dad to move in with us.

      11 large boxes?!!??!!? that is a LOT of kits!

      1. Yep, and those are only the duplicates (or rather triplicates, at the very least: one-to-make, one-to-keep, and then the rest to sell. Unless they’re one of the kits I really like, in which case, mine, mine, minemineminemine. So if anybody is looking for a particular kit, let me know and I’ll list it first. Or at least as soon as I figure out which box it’s in.

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