For someone who has taken away her family's electronic devices for weeks at a time, I spend a lot of time online. I have spent my fair share of time scrolling through Facebook, seeing what my peeps are up this holiday season (your highlight reels rock my world) or getting sucked into the vortex of Pinterest, pinning all the things that I will never do to boards with titles such as "When I have Time" and "Christmas Dreams".
But with all it's glitz, and glamour (and now a boat load of people weighing in on what you should or shouldn't do this Christmas), the internet is also the great deceiver. It has taken me a few years to realize that I don't have to do ALL THE THINGS. And also that I don't have to stop doing ALL THE THINGS. The internet isn't the boss of my life or my Christmas. I am in charge. And in embracing this this year I have been able to breath a huge sigh of relief.
Letting go of the things has resulted in about 90% less holiday stress. Somehow, I found time to do things that other years seemed impossible. I already put up a tree before Christmas Eve, have presents bought and wrapped, cookies made, and a Christmas card ordered. At first, I thought having all these things done was responsible for bringing me this feeling of peace. But I was wrong. It is not having these things done that brings me peace, but it is because I feel peaceful that I have been able to get these things done.
Here it is people, I have found my groove and it has largely come from ignoring the hype, the controversy, and the agenda of the online world. I have set aside Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and all those fabulous "last minute deals" emails I used to have to click through. It's just all washing over me without sinking in. I'm choosing to spend significantly less time paralyzed by what the internet is telling me I should (or shouldn't) do. My tree looks like it was decorated by kids, I did my own thing with gifts, my cookies are the old stand-bys I can make by heart and (full disclosure) my sister did my Christmas card. I started this season by deciding which few things matter for us this year and I am only focusing on these (many involve me sitting more...I'm so happy). Ignoring the internet has freed me up to NOT CARE.
Photo credit: Polkadot Umbrella Photography
Not caring actually rocks. I'm happy with my own groove so therefore I'm not busy running around like a crazy person taking yet another trip to the mall. I'm not looking online thinking things like, dang my elf on the shelf could be more fun. That family did x, y and z, my own kids are so missing out. Look at all those presents, we should have more. They are so minimalist we should have less. There is no more comparing.
My choices are good for me and your choices are good for you. And these things can safely be different. There is no should or shouldn't in Christmas. If you have no Santa or a million presents or 40 elves on your shelves that show up in rotation my hat is off to you. Do your thing people and find your joy. And seeing your joy is the only thing that increases mine. Competing with your joy is a joy stealer, and we know there is no time for that.
Because I am a Christian, I used that as my filter for my Christmas this year (so obvious right?). And it came down to this for me, God didn't send his only son into our world so I could run around like a crazy person trying to even out gifts under the tree. He came in a manger so our worship can be simple. I love my kids, they know they are loved and I'm going to send a little Christmas magic their way and try to point them toward Christ in simple ways. That works for us. But, if an awesome Pinterest perfect decorated house makes your Christmas heart fill with joy, adds to your magic and helps your worship knock yourself out. God created you to be you and you can't be you in anyway that is less than perfect.
If you still have that little voice telling you to do more and do it better, please know that you've got this. Listen instead to your heart. What will really bring your family joy this year? What will bring joy to the world? How can you honor the simplicity of the manger scene through your celebrations? Or how can you go big to show God how much you appreciate the gift of his son? Or how can you find your place somewhere in between? And then go find your peace of the season.
originally published on Hiding in the Closet with Coffee