I want to focus on the season and meaning and feeling of Christmas and create good memories and traditions and spend high quality time with my children. So I cut back and remove all non essential portions: no big outings to the city, no extravagant decorating, not too many social functions. And as soon as I do that, I worry that I'm not doing enough for the holidays, that there isn't enough magic and activity, and that I'm just failing at the whole thing.
I'm sure one of these years I'll feel that I got it just right and it was the perfect combination between magical and simple. Until that mythical day arrives, we'll just keep doing what we always do, trying to find the little extra holiday magic where ever we can.
No matter how many carols I listen to or presents I buy, the Christmas season doesn't feel like it really starts until our tree is up.
This weekend, we went out in the unseasonably warm weather to the same local tree farm we've visited nearly each year we've lived in Iowa.
This year's tree hunt was a little extra magical, because I let the boys have the final say in what tree we took home.
And Duck was overly excited about everything, from the trees, to his Santa hat, to the farm's bunnies.
It's so strange how much decorating the tree has changed. It used to be that I decorated the tree by myself. Then the boys got a little older and I let them hang a few ornaments. That progressed to them hanging all the ornaments themselves, and me rearranging them after they went to sleep. Now, the tree is completely decorated by them, without any parental revisions. Bug oversaw the process and would move things around as he saw fit.
Seeing the extra bit of pride in my boys that they picked and decorated this tree themselves added just a little extra magic.
Each year, we try to add a few new ornaments. Some years, I just buy them because I really can't do anything more. This year, we made some. We tried some painted ones that are still drying on the kitchen counter. I think they are going to be lovely. Add the minimal amount of mess and that everyone had a great time doing it, I think they were a win.
As we continued to decorate our house, adding garland above windows and paper chain in the hallway, the boys were delighted that our house was looking like a completely different home. Which motivated me to continue to add little touches. Some long stored away red towels were placed in the hall bath for some holiday color. LED candles were tucked into random corners. Colored lights were draped over the curtain rods in the bedrooms.
Then, on a whim, I decided on one last project.
Taking some red washi tape, I added a little extra magic to our stairs.
Now, there really is Christmas in every corner of our home. And the smiles that brings, both to my children and to me. That's all the extra magic we need.