It's the Homebodiest Time of the Year
It’s finally here. That time of year has arrived, when the entire world feels like it’s spinning a little slower and everything smells like cinnamon. It’s now considered acceptable by pretty much everyone to put up Christmas trees and deck your halls. The turkey has been eaten and all of the daily “thankful” posts on Facebook have pretty much ceased. This means it’s finally December, and in my world, that can only mean one thing: it’s time to be lazy.
Now before I dive into this, I want to acknowledge that I recognize I am writing this from a place of privilege. I am self-employed and my work is somewhat seasonal, so things are naturally winding down for me from a professional perspective and since I work from home, this means I have a handful more hours each week to devote to, well, doing nothing. However, when I worked in the corporate world, I still found ways to maximize the laziness on my weekends off and I’m not even remotely sorry about it.
Finally, I can turn my TV onto the Hallmark Channel and soak in every single cheesy, feel good flick that I can fit into my day. I can bake, wrap gifts, and sing along to Mariah Carey at the very top of my lungs without a care. It’s mostly cold outside, which means I can snuggle under blankets and put on fuzzy socks. For as many minutes as I want, I can peruse Pinterest for decorating and wrapping inspiration or craft projects I’ll likely never complete. This is the time that I wait and prepare for all year long.
You’re probably asking yourself how this happens. How does a person with household responsibilities, children, laundry, and pets get away with this? Well, I plan for it. Several years ago, I realized that I was wearing myself thin during the holidays, and made a point to try to streamline the things that were stressing me so that I could maximize the other, more enjoyable things. I bargain hunt for Christmas gifts and utilize day-after-Christmas sales to stock up on wrapping supplies & decor for the following year. This is frugal, obviously, but it also ensures that my precious free time in the month of December won’t be spent inside a store (unless I want to be there). For the majority of the year, part of my brain is always in Christmas mode. I am forever thinking ahead & planning for the next year’s holiday festivities. Trying to tick off as many boxes from my checklist as possible before that twelfth month arrives. I plan for this, and so can you!
If you also want to stay home on your days off and not feel the constant pressure of holiday obligation, here are some of my very best holiday homebody tips:
Shop day-after sales and stock up on things you found yourself needing most. For us, it’s gift bags, tissue paper, gift tags, and gift card holders. Make a list this year as you go, but don’t buy unnecessary things before December 26th, as everything will be at least half price by then.
Use the Santa’s Bag app to track your purchases throughout the year. This app is amazing, and has saved my homebody hiney more times than I can count. It allows you to track gifts by recipient, and include as much or as little detail as you need about each gift.
Pre-plan for next year anything that you find yourself scrambling to complete or find too overwhelming. Elf on the Shelf is a big one for a lot of parents. Lay out a timeline. Pre-make little trinkets or letters for your elf to arrive with so that you can just grab and go.
Check your TV/Netflix listings for holiday movies. Hate cheesy romantic Hallmark movies? That’s fine, I won’t judge you for that, but I will tell you that Netflix has several Christmas movies this year that have been a big hit with both kids and adults and that regular TV programming generally has all the classic Christmas movies available.
Get that tree up as early as you can possibly stand it! I know not everyone is like me and wants their tree up all year long, but I speak from experience when I tell you that getting that sucker up and decorated early will let you check a huge task off your to-do list and allow you to enjoy that magical twinkle a little longer.
Finally, I recommend learning to say no to things that don’t fulfill you. This is obviously not exclusive to Christmas, but may be more applicable to some during this busy time of year. Take a look at your holiday calendar. Do you find yourself trying to fill every spare moment with an activity simply out of obligation? Could you do something more enjoyable with your time? I’m not saying give up completely on holiday traditions, but I do think it’s important to weigh out whether those traditions are being carried on because you want them to be, or for some other reason that may not be as important to you in the grand scheme of things.
Our family has a handful of consistent outings: driving around to look at Christmas lights, seeing Santa, and our newest one, having photos taken while baking cookies with Mrs. Claus. I’m not giving up on those things, but I am okay with letting go of the things that invite more stress than happiness. I want my daughter to remember that December was a month of magic and peaceful excitement. Mostly, I want to enjoy this season as much as I possibly can. I hope that I can pass on to her the tradition of filling our holidays with things that bring calm comfort, and the best way I know to do that is by sitting on my sofa, watching Hallmark movies, and seeing our tree lights twinkle for as many days as possible.