Every year after Christmas, I try to note down my thoughts about that year's season using the Organized Christmas After-Christmas debriefing
form to help me evaluate how things went, what
worked, what didn't, and what we might do differently in the coming
year. This has been very helpful to me.
Here are my thoughts concerning Christmas 2021:
1. What worked this holiday season? What changes did you make to create simpler, less stressful holidays?
Again this year, there were a number of decorative items that I didn't even get out of the attic. A few years ago I simplified Christmas decorating by putting favorite decorative items, including the tree skirt into one large plastic box and keeping it accessible through the year. That means I can still make things look festive even if I don't have time right then to get to the attic.
I did decorate quite a bit less this year due to an attack of sciatica that began on December 7 and continued well into the new year.
We had four of our local grandchildren over for breakfast, candy making and a bit of crafting early in December. We had put the tree up the night before; the boys added the lights that day and we all helped with decorating. It was an enjoyable way of getting the tree decorated -- and, as I did a lot of wrapping ahead of time this year, I then placed the wrapped gifts under the tree as I went.
Again this year, we shipped to Nevada using Click'n'Ship, and got them out in plenty of time. We also had Amazon gifts shipped directly to Nevada where our daughter wrapped and tagged them. Everything arrived in time!
My hubby baked nearly every Christmas cookie that came out of our kitchen this year. I made just one variety. That was amazing and we felt prepared for every festive event or last-minute gift!
2. What was the worst aspect of preparing for the holidays this year? How can you avoid the problem in the future?
I think the most difficult aspect of preparing for the holidays this year was being hindered by a lack of mobility. I couldn't move as quickly or easily as I liked. Not sure, really, how I could avoid that next year, but if it happens I'll go to the chiropractor and start the exercises right away.
3. Were you satisfied with your level of giving and/or spiritual observances? How could next year's holiday better reflect your family's values?
We'll probably need to be more economical with our gifts in the future, but I was very pleased with the gifts that we gave. A fun thing that we did, which we won't necessarily repeat every year, was that when we took the grandkids to a favorite candy and Christmas shop for ice cream, we still needed gifts for three of them. We paid attention to what they liked, then at a later time we went back secretly and bought those gifts.
From a spiritual standpoint, all was good. It was a huge blessing to be meeting with another church (which we are planning to merge with in the spring). We enjoyed a simple but beautiful Christmas program the Sunday before Christmas, and then a most meaningful Christmas communion the Sunday after Christmas.
4. How well did your household function this year? Were you calm and cozy, or stressed and strung out? What improvements could be made next year?
In general, I felt calm and cozy. My household functioned as well as it could, although I was prevented from doing much housework. I could do laundry if someone else carried the baskets up and downstairs, and I could cook as long as I mostly stood in one spot. I wrapped presents standing at a desk. I didn't really stress about what I couldn't do (although my hubby would tell you I had some moments of feeling pretty useless), because there was really nothing I could do about it.
As far as what improvements could be made next year -- one thought is to maybe plan ahead to do one of those holiday plans that help you get your house ready for Christmas.
Honesty time! How did your holidays go? Did you experience the
expectancy, the magic, the sparkle of the season? If not, what changes
could you make to recapture the joy?
In general, we had a joyous season. We enjoyed some lovely events and family times. In spite of feeling lame and sore, having to use a cane much of the time, I felt that things went really well. I was even able to share Christmas joy with others by preparing granola, frozen lasagnas, and my hubby's Christmas cookie trays for a family with a houseful of holiday guests. That was one of the biggest blessings of our season.
And it was a sort of Christmas miracle to be able to post every day in December in both of my blogs. I hadn't done many pre-scheduled posts, so I was doing much of it on a day-to-day basis. It was a challenge to do this while finding stairs difficult to manage, but God gave energy and ideas and it all worked out.
So there you have it -- all in all, a blessed Christmas season!