|Our Christmas tree (2017)|
For every good thing about the holidays, there is something stressful. Love the lights? You'll be putting them up for hours. Love your family? There are ten people, one bathroom, and way too much alcohol. Love the food? Hope you like cooking for days.
With this in mind, my husband and I have a private Christmas. We've done it a few years now, and plan on doing it well into the future. We keep two simple things in mind: It must be festive. And it must be as relaxing as possible.
We picked a day far from any major holiday or family birthday (January 23rd). It's close enough to our family Christmas to keep the decorations up. There is still snow on the ground.
Music and movies:
The Internet has radio stations playing Christmas music year-round. Streaming services, DVDs, etc. take care of television and holiday movies.
Pizza from our favorite pizzeria. We rarely buy it, so it's a real treat. We already had turkey, ham, cranberries, and the rest of the "traditional" foods during the family Christmas.
This year, we gave each other a few little surprises we picked out at The Dollar Tree (where everything is $1). We sometimes get more expensive things, but the gifts aren't that important. The object is to not stress over money while still having something wrapped (or put in gift bags if we don't feel like wrapping) beneath the tree. We've made things for each other in the past, too.
Leading up to the day:
We watch Christmas movies, listen to Christmas music, check out the Christmas clearance left at the stores and shop, wrap gifts, and more. We don't send out twenty-one cards. We don't make ten kinds of cookies. We don't pack to go somewhere.
The day before Christmas:
We watch everything Cartoon Network used to run on their Christmas Party marathon. It's something we grew up watching and most of it exists digitally in some form.
We have hot chocolate in the evening along with cookies we just pop in the oven to make; our apartment smells great when they're baking and we get "fresh" cookies without the mess.
We open presents upon waking, then order pizza when it hits early afternoon. We watch our absolute favorite Christmas specials all day long while talking, checking social media, or snuggling.
It was a lovely number of days. On our Christmas Day, my loved one came home from the hospital. She's still not feeling well, but is miles better than where she was.
February will be busy and hellish. But, maybe my birthday will be good, anyway. Maybe I'll be free of cancer.