"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Let it snow and other ways that I've gotten rid of Christmas stress.

This Christmas season has been one of the least stressful ones that I can remember having as an adult.  Why?  Because I took away all the expectations that I normally put on myself to have it be "perfect" or like one that is seen in a magazine. 
Didn't get the Christmas cards finished.  Oh well, my family and friends still know they are important to me because I'm making an effort to tell them that instead. 

The Littlest Gardener made chocolate treats for her friends at school
Didn't get trays of cookies and candies made this year.  Did have fun making fudge with my sister and splitting it with her (and dropping a couple of plates off to friends who needed a little chocolate fix). 

 Didn't get a real tree cut down fresh (or even from the hardware store) this year.  Did get a fake one that took the stress and future stresses out of finding time on a weekend (that are filled with sporting and family and work events) to go as a family and find one, wait for it to dry out enough to put up and then want to take down the day after Christmas because it's so dried up I'm afraid to turn the lights on anymore.  We still all decorated it together, and truthfully it looks better than most real ones we've had. 

Went to the mall once only to be overwhelmed by all the people and lack of choices, instead found better and more personal things online (including some hand made). 

Did take time to do a sewing project, something I haven't done in many years.  I sewed and embroidered the advent stockings across the mantle.  I even taught Sweet Pea how to do a little embroidery. 

Didn't worry about the big box that was turned into a reindeer by the Littlest Gardener in the middle of our tiny family room.  Normally that much clutter would drive me crazy. 

 Love that Sweet Pea has turned our house into a winter wonderland with the snowflakes and paper chains we made together.  If we don't get snow for Christmas, we still have our own homemade snowflakes inside instead.

As I read recently:  "Take time to appreciate the little things, for one day you'll look back and realize they were the big things."
All words and photos in this post are property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It


  1. I love the snowflakes and paper chains! I think you've found the real meaning of Christmas, with all the lovely projects done with your girls and family. Bravo Catherine and Merry Christmas :)

  2. Your Advent stockings are great! Good for you for slowing down and just enjoying the season!
    By the way, I picked up the "Two Gardeners" book from the library that you recommended, and am reading it now.

  3. Catherin you did what we all should do and I think christmas is just the time to spent some time with things you love to do. The paperwork is gorgeous. The decoratingwork together with your children must give a good feeling.
    Merry Christmas and a fantastic 2012
    gr. Marijke

  4. Well Catherine, looks like you have discovered the true meaning of Christmas. It takes some of us a long time to come to this realization. As I made the breads and cookies I kept thinking I just can't do this anymore!

    After reading your post I made a promise to myself to make next Christmas a lot less stressful.

    Happy Holidays.


  5. Catherine, your home looks so warm and cozy. I am glad to read that you found ways to snap out of the Christmas stress. I think it is so much more important to be able to enjoy the Christmas time instead of trying to have it perfect. I myself toned down the Christmas preparation quite a bit and feel I am much better of that way. I love your self sown stockings garland and all the paper snow flakes of Sweet Pea are just adorable. Wishing you and your family a wonderful rest of the Holidays!

  6. Good for you, Catherine! I love the homemade Christmas items! I should have been sewing these past couple of hours, but they way I complicated my own life these days was by giving myself the "Countdown Challenge!" Oh, brother! ha.

    Best wishes to each of you this Christmas!!

  7. The snowflakes are fabulous! Just think...you can leave them up all year around. I like no stress. I set myself up for it each year. Hugs. Bonnie

  8. Dear Catherine ~ Way to go girl! Having a calm Christmas is good for body, mind and soul. I really enjoyed this post and seeing a glimpse of Christmas inside your cheery and lovely home. I love the white cut out snowflakes, your hutch is fantastic and your fireplace area is decorated really nice. Homey and cozy. I can smell Christmas goodies and feel the love, joy and relaxed atmosphere.

    Have a wonderful Christmas week and a great 2012.


  9. It looks like Christmas at your house. A happy one!

  10. The snowflakes and chain garland are so pretty, and so is your tree! I really enjoyed seeing these pictures of your decorated and slightly messy house, and your kids having fun! I'm glad you've let go of the need to have a perfect Christmas.

  11. Catherine it is so important to appreciate those little things...I stopped the cards, the baking and the real tree a few yrs ago and have been less stressed...just being in the moment during the season is the best....I love the snow flakes and stockings...

  12. Your home is looking so lovely and festive! And I cannot believe how much the Littlest Gardener has changed in the time I've been following your blog. She has grown a lot this past year. I am taking a break from blogging & will be back to catch up in the new year. Have a WONDERFUL time with your precious family. Big hug xoxo

  13. I think the most important thing was that you spent time with family and the girls making new memories. All those other things we put upon are selves at this time of the year just make us crazy and no one remember them anyway, LOL!
    The girls did a wonderful job creating a winter wonderland with the snowflake garlands. Even the one made into a crown. LOL!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  14. What a lovely post. I take a similar view to Christmas. I cant be doing with all the unnecessary stress and to be honest I'm not sure why people get so stressed. On line shopping is a real bonus, as is a little thinking ahead. Love Sweet Pea's decorations

  15. OMG...I kinda love the construction paper chains...reminds me so much of Elementary School!

  16. I love the snowflakes and paper chains. :) Your perspective is perfect!

  17. Sounds like you have had a wonderful time with family and what better way to get ready for the holidays than with reindeer's in the living room, chocolate fudge and construction paper snowflakes...love it!! Merry Christmas Catherine to you and your beautiful family...xx

  18. Catherine, your cutie pie it just adorable. How proud she must be making her own treats for school.
    Merry Christmas
    TTFN ~

  19. Here's to a relaxing Christmas! We've had a fake tree for years. Our cat used to eat the live ones, and spend the entire holiday barfing up needles all over the house...not exactly a stress free way to spend the holiday! I agree about the dried up live trees too. I always see people pick them up over Thanksgiving weekend, and wonder how many house fires will be started by Christmas eve as they dry out. I love the snowflakes, and paper chains. I remember making those as a kid. Might be fun to make a few here this year! Merry Christmas!

  20. I've also simplified the holidays this year. No baking yet, though I may make one batch of cookies. Instead of a tree, we gathered greenery & branches from our land, and have them decorated in a vase. For the first time, I'm making almost all my gifts. Not exactly stress-free, but I've made good progress, and think I've given myself enough time to finish all before the last minute :o)

  21. What a beautiful, warm home you have. Hope you have a very Merry Veggie Christmas!

  22. Hi Catherine! I love your 'stocking garland'! It looks wonderful! I love what you've done and what you haven't done for the holidays!
    Your post made me think about myself this time of the year and, honestly, I don't remember ever being stressed. I always felt that I didn't do as much as other people. We never overbook ourselves with parties and other events, I never bake a lot of goodies (I remember one of your last year posts when I thought 'How bad that I don't do that!'), I usually finish shopping in November or in the beginning of December, and we both, me and my husband, start to work early on our Christmas cards and letters (100 of them). We cut our own tree as always. I haven't even been to mall this season, I shopped online and in local stores. But, now I try to bake more, and I made our holiday table more festive this year.
    I think it's also a cultural thing: I came from Russia where holidays are not so commercialized and things are more simple than here.
    I am glad you are enjoying this Christmas season! Your house looks very cozy, and you have such lovely helpers! Best wishes to you and your family. Thanks for this post!

  23. Catherine I love that statement because I too have found it to be very true.. "Take time to appreciate the little things, for one day you'll look back and realize they were the big things."

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your lovely family.

  24. That's one heck of a nice post, Catherine. Way to remind everyone to just enjoy the heck out of the holidays. Love those snowflakes and chains! We're doing stocking stuffers for Christmas this year is all, and after all the holiday madness we'll go out for a nice, long, family dinner together.

  25. The little stockings on the fire place are so cute!

  26. Lovely post and great sentiment, Catherine. I agree on many counts :-)

    I can't decide if my (training to be a chef) youngest seedling making our Christmas meal (for the first time) will be stressful or brilliant. Lol... probably a bit of both as my parents are coming this year and she'll want things perfect for them :-)

    Have a wonderful time with your family this Christmas... and absolutley those little things and moments are priceless :-)

  27. It looks like you and your family are enjoying the Christmas season. One of these years I hope to get some cards sent, but I am bad about getting any kinds of cards sent. I have been trying to keep from gaining weight over the holidays, so I haven't been making any cookies. We seem to have some in the house, though, because co-workers and a neighbor have given us some.

  28. As I get older I too have realized that I can only do so much. It is good to do the things that time allows and the tradition becomes the stress free experiences over the self imposed stress. I like all your decorations and it looks very festive with the snowflakes.Have a great New Year.


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