Monday, January 14, 2013

Minimalist Holidays



Welcome to the January 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting:
Recovering from the Holidays


This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about how their families get back to normal after the holidays are over.

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In my previous marriage, we both had divorced parents. This made for a mess come holiday season. Of course 2-3 households wanted us to come visit at 2 o'clock Christmas day. And at least 2 households had gatherings Christmas Eve. Its one thing when its just you and a partner, but add babies and then there is all this supposed obligation.

Now? I'm remarried to a man who is from Florida. (We're in Oklahoma.) I've never met my in-laws and don't actually expect to meet them. I used to think we'd travel there, but right now... I don't see it ever happening. Then my mother passed away and I wasn't in the habit of going to see the rest of her family. That leaves only one place we have to visit for the holiday.

Then, of course, there is all the in-house stuff with the kids. But back when I had so much to do (and literally 30+ people on my shopping list!), it was SO stressful that each year one or the other of us would swear off Christmas the following year. One year I actually dug out the calendar and marked out December (as if I refused to let that month exist). There was always a fight about when we would see whom and how long we would spend there.


Not only have my obligations gotten lighter, I've become a minimalist. I got rid of the trees and all but a few sentimental decorations. We also have stockings for everyone. All the kids got this year was stocking stuffers and 1 pop-up tent thing for Sasha. It was a cheap, minimalist year. I even made every single one of the gifts given outside of our household!

And you know what? When the holiday was over, it was just over. No recovery needed. I had gone through and culled toys out of rotation a day or two in advance so there would be room for new stuff. Maybe I don't get into the holiday enough, but I think if you can keep it simple, it can be done when you want it to be done.

How do you feel when the holidays are over?


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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting this March!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Pinterest Inspiration for Easier Winter Holidays Shannon, writing at Natural Parents Network, shares inspiration for having more relaxed winter holidays from their Handmade Holidays Pinterest board.
  • Seven Recipes for Beans - Post Holiday Cleaning — Destany at They Are All of Me shares her favorite bean recipes that she hopes will help her body recover from overindulging her sweet tooth during the holidays.
  • The Recovery in the Change — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen made changes in her life and attitude throughout 2012 and was pleasantly surprised at how those changes impacted her holiday recovery!
  • Could this question change your life for ever? — To get your new year off on the right footing, Mrs Green of Little Green Blog is challenging us all to love ourselves with commitment and discipline. She asks you to focus on a simple question which might just bring you back in balance...
  • Holiday Recovery — Meegs at A New Day talks about how the holidays can be overwhelming for a toddler, and how she's helping her 3 year old recover.
  • 5 Ways to Detox After the Holidays — Brittany at The Pistachio Project gives a few ways to help you detox and get back on track after the holiday season has passed.
  • 3 Simple Ways to Establishing Rhythm After the Holidays or Any Time — Sheila at A Living Family shares 3 simple ways to reestablish a rhythm of connection and calm in your family after holidays, visitors, travel or any time.
  • Gemstones For Holiday Hangoverss — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama delves into the power of gemstones as an often overlooked means of dealing with the holiday letdown.
  • Getting back to Healthy — Bess at A Warrior Mom talks about the struggle of getting young ones back to eating healthy after several days to weeks of getting more candy and sweets than normal for the holidays and gives some suggestions on how to get them back to eating healthy in the new year.
  • Post Christmas Juice Feast — Sam at Love Parenting explains why she has created a new tradition of juice feasting, and how she includes her toddler when detoxing.
  • The Java Monkey On My Back — Christy at Eco Journey in the Burbs realizes it is time to kick her cup of Joe habit as a first step toward detoxing.
  • Minimalist Holidays — Jorje of Momma Jorje doesn't find much need for recovery after her minimalist version of the holidays.
  • Do something for you — Lauren at Hobo Mama urges you to find a silly and indulgent reward of me-time — and she has hers.
  • do we recover? — Kenna at Million Tiny Things wonders what recovery really means in the context of the tragedies of this past holiday season.
  • 37 Easy Ways to Save Money — Shannon at GrowingSlower is sharing these money-saving tips to help get your budget back on track after the holidays.
  • A Two Year Old's ResolutionsThat Mama Gretchen is putting the holidays behind her with a spin on traditional resolutions — New Year's goals for her two-year-old! Sound crazy? Read on for an explanation!
  • How to Find Balance after the Holidays — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells her favorite ways to start a new year with hope and calmness.
  • Fresh Awakening — For Luschka at Diary of a First Child, the new year has coincided with a return to restful nights. With sleep, she's found new directions in life, but while she can't make too many changes to her life right now, she's inspired and excited about the future.
  • Learning to slow down after a busy Festive Season Stoneageparent describes the joys and lows of this year's festive season, as well as her New Year's resolutions.
  • Detoxing' Your Toddler After the Holidays — Does your family suffer side effects from the holidays? Join Christine from African Babies Don't Cry to learn how she detoxed herself and her toddler off the treats and festivities of the season.
  • Scheduling is OK! — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep explores the possibilities of the — SCHEDULE!!
  • We're Saving their First Christmas for Next Time — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot takes it easy after moving with her husband and new babies to Scotland.
  • A Vacation from the World — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children retreats with her family at the end of every year in order to recuperate and enjoy one another.
  • On the Road to Recovery — Dionna at Code Name: Mama isn't just recovering from the holidays, she's recovering from a lifestyle.
  • We Never Left the GrindErika Gebhardt compares a typical day pre-holidays and post-holidays.
  • Remembering and Recovering from the Holidays (One day at a time) — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM is recovering from holidays slowly--taking one day at a time--while trying to remember all the sweet moments that passed too quickly.
  • 5 a Day — To get back on track Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy needed a simple system to help her family learn new values.
  • Holiday Detox & Healing: Bieler Broth — Megan at The Boho Mama shares her secret for a gentle, whole-foods-based post-holiday detox: Bieler Broth!
  • I'm Mama Not Supermom — After a year filled with changes Angela at EarthMamas World has to remind herself that she does not have to be supermom while recovering from the holiday chaos.

14 comments:

  1. We've been working on paring down and keeping things simpler. We asked the grandparents not to go crazy, and I also culled out some toys before Christmas to make room for the new stuff. We had less familial obligation this year which was a nice change, too. We're moving in the right direction, but I'm definitely still tired when the holidays are over. There's still simplifying to do!

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  2. That sounds SO nice. We really didn't do *that* much, esp. considering my roots. My mother is a Christmas fiend. We'd have presents flooding out from under the tree. Now she has THREE (omg) trees. Getting the tree up and down is a PITA, but I love all of the handmade ornaments that my friends and I exchange every year. Almost all of our gifts were handmade, but we did buy a few for the kids (mainly b/c I didn't realize how much we really had made for them; next year I'll put them all in a pile before buying anything else!).
    ~Dionna @ CodeNameMama.com

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  3. Thankfully, some of our obligations were lessened so we didn't have as much chaos. And I'm really glad to hear that someone else did a toy purge before gifts arrived. I think another is coming soon, but at least for the moment, things are under control :)

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  4. I love the idea of not having as much to do over Christmas. Our childhood routine of visiting my Mom's family on Christmas Eve and my Dad's on Christmas Day is still in effect. Fortunately, we see my husband's family on Thanksgiving we don't have to try and see them.

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  5. Ah boy, do I relate to so much of this. My inlaws are both passed away (my husbands siblings were busy), my father lives thousands of miles away and my mother is also deceased. We had absolutely nowhere to be this year.
    As a minimalist, we had a tree and some stockings and that is all. We kept the gifts simple and I too made the gifts that went outside the house (two sets of gloves for my dad and stepmother which are still waiting to be mailed).
    I also needed little recovery emotionally and mentally - though I overindulged my appetite and I'm still recovering from that!

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  6. We go for minimalism when it comes to gifts too - we bought our son a watering can and a few gardening tools and that was it. He was delighted! Happiness comes in ways that are real, like love and quality time. He doesn't need a mountain of things. Glad you have found a way to make Christmas work for you! Sam

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  7. I love how you have simplified your holiday celebrations to make them work for you.

    My husband's family has divorces all over the place and it made for very complicated Decembers. While that situation still exists, we decided to simplify by limiting our visiting to our home. We have young kids now, if you want to see us, come here. It has increased my stress because then we are hosting more, but it is good stress for me because I (usually) enjoy hosting, and this way I get to be in charge. If you can't behave in my home please don't come back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh how I wanted to take that approach back then! I just didn't have the balls to do it! Plus my mom was handicapped, so she couldn't get into our house.

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  8. I like that you pointed out that when you simplify the holidays, no recovery is needed. I need to work on that next year. We keep it pretty simple, but even simpler would be better!

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    Replies
    1. I love that you have that awesome nostril of yours right there in your profile pic! And that we're both up at 2:30 in the morning, read each other's blogs.

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  9. I love the idea of lighter obligations, it seems that obligations often get in the way of holiday fun for the family. I love your light tree by the way!!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! It didn't turn out quite how I had envisioned (despite a couple of attempts). I think I'll do something a little different next year...

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  10. I always feel a letdown when the holidays are over, but that's just because I like 'em.

    When we got married, and since we lived away from both sets of parents, Sam & I decided that we wouldn't let our extended families determine what we did for the holidays but would make our own traditions. Some years we still spent with family, but mostly we've been on our own, as we'd chosen. Now that I've had time to think about what a tribe would look like or the values of being near family, I can see how it could be beautiful the other way, too — with long-standing traditions and lots of relatives nearby — but this has been working well for us, and I love that we can keep it low-key.

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    Replies
    1. I'd love to live further away and have the holiday visits seem more special. We have plenty of family around here, then some members that do travel a little to get here. It is, at least, special to have EVERYONE (or nearly) together at one time. Even for kid birthdays, it doesn't seem like we can all make it.

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