I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Christmas.

I love the way it brings a warm-hearted, twinkly element into a cold, dark time of year. I love its simple aesthetics…. greenery, snow, bare branches, touches of red, and candle flames. I love how it reminds us to show appreciation to the people in our lives, and to be generous to others who could use some help.

But there are lots of things I can’t stand.

Like how it makes us run around too much, spend too much, eat and drink too much.

And the hyped-up expectations and overwork it engenders…especially for women, who take on the brunt of it. (Most men don’t seem to give Christmas a thought till about December 23rd!) For a mom, it can feel like directing a stage production that includes props, costumes, set design, a soundtrack, and catering. We’re all pretty busy with our lives already…who has time for that?!

When the kids were small, I re-read Unplug the Christmas Machine  every December to help me keep some perspective. One bit of advice I tried to embrace was to identify a few elements that were most meaningful us, and then just do those. We don’t have to do it all.

Good advice still!