Tag Archives: Christmas

Celebrating Holidays When You’re Wiped Out

easy holiday preparation

Spaghetti Wednesday  is our favorite holiday around here. Mark was finally walking without crutches. It’s the first year since 2014 that I wasn’t also taking care of my aunt so I was happy to host the dinner for the 21st year in a row.

It was a late night and then a low-key, us-only Thanksgiving but I was wiped out. No doubt, the four previous months of intense caregiving contributed to my fatigue but I honestly didn’t expect it.

The question is: how to prepare for Christmas? It’s easy for me during Advent to prepare spiritually. I have no trouble slowing down and putting off the rush and crush, but when everyone around you expects holiday activity, it’s a little overwhelming.

I stopped sending cards a few years ago. It was getting to be a chore that I no longer enjoyed. The kids got ornery about posing for photos. It’s difficult to genuinely send “best wishes, peace and joy” when you’re resentful (never of the people, just the activity). So I don’t. I still think about and pray for people. I give others credit for continuing to send us cards. I still enjoy seeing the photos every year.

I love christmas lights in the house but Mark always takes care of the lights outside. The sweetest neighbor offered to help with that but we declined the offer. Mark was able to do most of his usual light hanging. My brother went up the ladder to hang the big wreath on the side of the house.

To be honest, Mark welcomed the non-strenuous activity, the weather was pretty mild and he finished everything outside in a couple of hours over two days.

Inside, I’ve just been taking my time and getting one project/area out at a time. I have the time and have enjoyed doing it at a leisurely pace. Little Mark is elf-like. I have referred to him as joy boy, which is still true. He’s always up for holly and jolly. I find myself waiting until he’s home for certain tasks just because they’re more fun with his help.

So, my advice for facing the holidays when you’re tired or overwhelmed is to abbreviate and get out one thing at a time. You’ll probably realize that a little bit of glow is enough.

holiday decorations

3 Tips to Simplify Holiday Un-decorating

holiday decorations

Whether you take the tree down the day after Christmas, New Year’s Day or wait for Epiphany or Orthodox Christmas, un-decorating can be a daunting, overwhelming task. Here are a few things you can do to make the chore less “Grinchy” and still allow you to enjoy the best parts of holiday cheer.

1. Keep Your Boxes Handy

This tip might be obvious to some of you but it took me a few years to figure out.

I used to pull out all of my Christmas decoration boxes from the attic at one time, decorate the house,  then store the empty boxes back in the attic. Our attic has a pull-down ladder and a low ceiling so you pretty much have to crawl around up there to retrieve anything. This wasn’t convenient and made the task a little too “all-or-nothing”.

Now I store empty boxes in the basement or garage which provides easier access. DUH.

As a BONUS, since we live in a small house, this provides excellent hiding places for gifts.

2. Small Steps

I take the decorations down over a few days or even a couple of weeks. I remove the things first that feel most like clutter or that I find myself stepping over (like the train under the tree).

My son is sentimental about the various stuffed Christmas toys we’ve received over the years. He doesn’t play with them but he loves to see them out. I don’t especially love these and they feel a lot like clutter to me since my children are older now and DON’T play with them. They are the last things out of the attic and the first things back.

I took our candles out of the windows today since a few have burned out and one keeps falling off the ledge. Since we still have twinkly lights in other parts of the house, I can still enjoy that comfy evening glow that only holiday lights can provide.

Basically, I’ll take the lights down last. It’s amazing how bare the house feels when everything is put away.

3. Remove Ornaments but Leave the Lights

In keeping with tip #2, leaving the tree up and the lights on it doesn’t mean you can’t put away the ornaments.

While everyone usually loves to pitch in with decorating the tree, the task of un-decorating it always falls on me so I tackle the ornaments first. I leave the lights on so we can enjoy them a little longer but the most time-consuming part of the job is behind me.

Another obvious strategy is to purge decorations and ornaments that you no longer love or use. This will make both sides of the chore easier next year.

Do you have any tips that make the task of cleaning up after the holidays any easier? Please share it in the comments.

ping pong on the dining room table?

Thinking of Ping Pong for Christmas….

ping pong on the dining room table?

Portable Ping Pong Anyone?

…but don’t have the room?

We got one of these last year and it has been an awesome, durable toy that everyone in the family loves! Our house is waaaay too small for a full-sized ping pong table. I considered getting an actual tennis-table-top, like this but felt like it would be bulky and cumbersome.

The dimensions of the portable table aren’t that much bigger than our dining room table with the extension, so I went with just the net/paddle/balls. I figured if it was a dud, we were only out $25. Although our dining room set was a hand-me-down, this hasn’t scratched or damaged the surface or edges at all. The net holders are plastic but have held up well.

Luke’s tennis buddy stayed with us for a couple of nights and they spent nearly every waking hour playing ping pong. It took Adam a couple of games to adjust to the size of the table since he has a full-sized table at home but then they competed evenly.

Just in case you’re still skeptical, check this out…..   Having trouble viewing the video clip, click here.

In case you’re keeping score, that’s Mark 2, Luke 1….and Luke’s playing righty. He usually plays Mark lefty.


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