Observe as we attempt to remove all traces of stress from the upcoming holidays. How, you may ask? We plan to KISS.
Keep it simple, Stevensons.
This year, we want to really celebrate, bolded and italics and everything, with a focus on time with each other, our families, and our friends -- and without the stress over scheduling and money that sometimes comes along with these festivities. Over the weekend, we took the first step toward that end. We bought almost all of our Christmas presents (the only outstanding gifts are the ones we'll give each other). And we did it all online.
This simple act takes a huge weight off my shoulders. We spent a lot of time combing websites for (I hope) good gift ideas, adding to one online cart and subtracting from another, revealing funny little stories about Christmases past... and then, at the end of it all, clicking a confirmation button, settling back on our couch, and waiting for the "brown paper packages tied up with strings" to arrive on our front porch.
(The first few gifts arrived yesterday -- I think I'll hold off on wrapping until after Thanksgiving!)
By doing it that way -- the digital way, which I've always avoided in the past because it didn't fit in with my idea of hustling-and-bustling merriment -- we are actually avoiding some of the things I've come to dread in November and December: crowded, hot malls; frenzied, stressful gift choices; the complete absence of a budget and the subsequent sticker shock at checkout.
If I can't have secretive trips to Oleson's Merchantile, Laura Ingalls style, give me Amazon.
I want to spend the last 49 days of this year (can you believe it?!) meaningfully. More date nights and good discussions, less TV. More time spent with loved ones, less money wasted on frivolous things. More of a focus on family and faith and the future. That sort of good stuff.
Baby is kicking. Baby likes this plan so far.