Monday, December 5, 2011

making a list and checking it twice.

I am not one of those people. I do not have it all together this time of year.  I haven't completed all my shopping by Thanksgiving.  My Christmas cards aren't stamped and ready to send December 1.  My house is never fully decorated.  I get stressed out and overwhelmed with everything that has to get done during the holidays.  And because of that feeling, I often am not completely present in the moments of Christmas that actually do bring so much joy.  

When the first inkling of stress began the day after Thanksgiving, I practiced my yoga breathing, slightly calming myself.  This year I was going to focus more on the actual doing, and waaaaaaaaaay less on the getting done.  To that end, and in keeping with holiday tradition, I made a list, but not a list of "to dos" or "to buys."  The list isn't about accomplishing anything or checking things off of it.  I titled it "Things I Enjoy about the Holidays."  Over the last couple of weeks, I've been adding to it, while at the same time carefully curating, so as not to include anything out of pure obligation or because the collective "we" has been doing it forever.  

I carry my list, written in a spiral bound notebook, around with me in my rather large handbag.  It's written in my swirly, slightly messy script and I can refer to it whenever I need reminding of what is  important to the four people that live in our little house.   I realize that I can't completely eliminate the stressors or the "have-tos" of the season, but I can check my list when I'm feeling overwhelmed, harried, or irritated.  I can choose to come back to those experiences that remind me of the spirit of Christmas and why I do love it so.

A few of the things from my list: 
(in no particular order and included here because I have it captured in a photograph)

Hiding Rocky the Elf every night before I go to bed and experiencing the 6 year old's joyfulness when she comes running in our room at 6 am to tell her sleepy, bleary eyed momma where she found him.

Taking the night train to see Santa at Irvine Regional Park.  So much better than waiting in line at the mall.  (And oh how I love this picture.  Does that make me a little bit evil?)

Decorating gingerbread houses with the six year old and her bestie.  

Searching for the "perfect" tree.  (Sparky always finds it within 45 seconds of being at the lot and I always make him look for at least 20 more minutes.  This has been going on well before we were married. ;)

Preparing and sharing yummy food with all of my loves.

Christmas pajamas!

Watching all the gorgeous boats go by at our friends Kim and Kevin's boat parade party, as seen from the Bay Club.

Gettin' a little bit fancy to go out with Sparky (sans children.) 

Please visit my friend Torrie over at ...a place to share.  She's written her own list which I can't wait to read.  And Torrie doesn't know it, but she, in part, inspired me to make mine.  I love her blog.  She always keeps it real, sharing not just the "looks good on paper" stuff, but also some of the relatable struggles of life.  Dontcha just love a friend like that?!


  1. Just as I knew there would be... so many things I love about this post... your list... & not to mention, the pictures (side view of you & G? Adorable!). You've articulated exactly what is in my mind- within the very first paragraph (damn. i wish i could do that ;)).

    I'm def. transferring my list to one of my [gazillion] lil' notebooks so I can refer to it whenever "that feeling" starts to set in... or when I have to decide, "Do I REALLY enjoy baking 7 dozen cookies for cookie parties???" =)

    Again- I absolutely love the list, and ... that night train? I gotta look into that... Ooooooh do I have Santa picture horror stories (& I really, really want[ed] that to be on the KEEP list, but- last year I just couldn't bring myself to do it)!

  2. p.s. thank you for your very kind words!!!! =)

  3. Holy hot mamma in that outfit. Seriously....I love this post but I can only focus on that outfit right now. Perfection!

  4. A) You look amazing B) I'm glad you're back to posting again!


  5. Look at you hot mamma!!!! What a great post Stephanie..I think we all get stressed between Thanksgiving and Christmas..feels like it all just happens so fast. But I like the idea of focusing on the things that really truly make you happy. Thanks for the important reminder!

  6. my daughter has those same jammies! so cute! and your sparkly skirt is so festive!! i love this post!

  7. Haha! Awwww I love the Santa photo and eating one, precious!

  8. that fifth picture... i don't think i've ever told you how much i love it. everything about it.