Happy New Year, everyone! Since the last time I wrote one of these posts, back in December, the holidays have come and gone. The kids and Jim had an extended vacation from work/school/post-school activities. We watched movies. We read. We cooked together. We played games. We watched football games. We finished some household projects. We basically took a breather from everything and just enjoyed each other’s company doing so.
Christmas was a low-key affair, which is how I like it. My family drove up for the day on Christmas Eve. We caught up on all the news, opened presents, ate goodies, and had a pleasant afternoon. For Christmas itself, we kept it small. I had been wanting to cut down on Christmas for a while now; the commercialization of the entire season actually makes me slightly sick to my stomach. So when Ti mentioned this whole “Need, Want, Read, Wear” idea, I was all for it. I pitched it to my family, who approved and embraced it with gusto. The idea is that we all got four gifts, one is something we want, one is something we need, one is something to wear, and one is something to read. Not only did it provide me with the opportunity to cut back and diminish the commercial aspects of the holiday, the presents meant more because we truly thought about the best idea for each category. Judging by the very happy faces on Christmas morning, this was a knock-out success. Connor was so thrilled with his “Read” present that he declared it his favorite present of all time while Holly has not stopped using her “Want” present for the last two weeks. I can’t wait to do it again next year.
New Year’s Eve was equally quiet. Connor did not want to attend the party to which he was invited so he stayed home. Holly had her best friend over for a sleepover, which meant Jim and I got to listen to two tweens giggle and gossip for most of the night. We all had a marathon of The Hunger Games movies, as one does. I had some work I had to do, something I was able to do from home. We had easy but delicious appetizers that Holly requested to serve to her friend. It was homey and very calm. Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
As for New Year’s Day, it was more of the same. With some major changes to our production for 2016, I had some major behind-the-scenes work to do to get our systems ready for when they started production back up yesterday morning. That took me all day, but I managed to get it done while wearing comfortable clothing and from the comfort of my house. Plus, a new Sherlock episode. Bonus!
Saturday was my lazy day. I finished my first book for 2016, which was epically awesome. Jim and I lounged around in our pajamas for most of the day. Holly went to spend the night a friend’s house, and Connor did what he has been doing all vacation long – gaming. Quiet, peaceful, and relaxing. I even went for a walk yesterday; it wasn’t the warmest but the sun was shining so it was nice to get some fresh air. It was a nice after working all day yesterday.
In preparation for the new year, I spent a lot of the last two weeks in major self-reflection mode. The result was my word for 2016, “Whole“, which I unveiled yesterday with an explanation as to how I came to select this word and what it means to me. Having spent this time looking inward, I feel better than I have in a long time. I am nowhere near close to being whole just yet, but I am feeling a sense of calm and peace that has been missing for months. I have taken steps to getting the help I believe I need to make me whole and feel better as a result. I am taking back control of my life little by little, and it feels…right.
Today, I think we will all be getting ready to start the new work and school week. Groceries, laundry, making lunches, back to the grindstone for us all. I think the kids are more than ready to resume their regular schedules. I can’t say I am totally thrilled about going back as I could use another day or two of rest away from the stresses of work, but it is what it is. New year and new month which means closing books, publishing financial statements, prepping for the year-end audit and all that shit. You know, sometimes I really regret choosing Finance as a profession.
Regardless, I plan to enjoy myself as much as possible today and watch what should be one hell of a football game tonight. I hope everyone has a wonderful week and great start to the new year!
Wishing you & your family a Happy 2016! Poor Aaron Rogers took some rough hits at the end of the season but he’s still in the playoffs. Good luck to the Pack.
Hm, I like this “Need Want Read Wear” model and I am trying to figure out how my family could adapt it for our own Christmas. There are ten of us at a minimum each Christmas (sisters and parents and uncles and aunts), and currently everyone buys presents for everyone else so — it’s a lot. But cutting back means people aren’t buying presents for people they WANT to get presents for, and it’s just tricky to find a fix for it.
Dang! That is a lot. I know my husband does not exchange any gifts with his five other siblings due to cost. I did buy the 17 nieces and nephews gifts for years, but even that got to be too much. I can’t imagine if we would do all siblings, parents, aunts and uncles. I can see how that can get very tricky indeed!
We also used the Want, need, wear, read model in regards to the 3 kids Christmas gifts, not so much for Kevin and I…goodness knows I have the read category covered. The kids liked it, even if they balked at the read category…I have a family of reluctant readers.
My word or phrase is Embrace Change, and it’s really part of my mission statement which I’m still forming.
Wishing you a wonderful year Michelle, and I can’t wait to share it with you!!
I think it is such a fun way to give gifts around the holidays. The kids really got into it, especially since what they expected to get for Need/Want/Wear/Read was not necessarily what they received.
Embrace Change is a great phrase. We all need a reminder to do that, but I can see how that will be particularly important for you this year!
Ooh, I like the idea of the want, need, etc. We always get the boys four gifts and a stocking stuffer for Christmas. And each other. There’s usually a larger (more expensive) gift, a medium, and two smalls. But I like the idea of switching it around for the four pieces – PLUS I think it would be awesome to add a fifth category for whimsy or surprise. 😀 I might just employ this next year.
Christmas, as you know, isn’t low-key for us, but it’s never about the quantity of gifts. It’s about spending time laughing with family, everyone interacting and giving each gift-opener the time and attention they deserve, sharing food and recipes, seeing family that we only see a few times per year, etc. I think that’s why I can celebrate the holiday full-tilt without believing in the Christian meaning of it at all. It’s all about family and togetherness for me. 🙂
The kids really embraced the categories this year. And all three of them have read their “To Read” gifts, which I think is awesome. We will definitely being doing something similar again next year.
I can see that. If I were part of a close-knit family, I suspect my opinion about all of the holidays would be drastically different. I am unfortunately not close to my in-laws or my family, so holidays to me are just a big chore that I dread more than I anticipate. However, I of course want things to be different with my kids and their future families, so I am trying to make it more special even with just the four of us.
It sounds like you and your family had a terrific holiday. A low-key Christmas is definitely my favorite kind.
It was wonderful. I just don’t do crowded holiday events very well these days.
I’m glad you enjoyed the holidays. I love the gift idea, and have never heard it before! Sounds like it was a big hit with your family. Hopefully this first week back won’t be too too stressful (I’m dreading it, too). I too am playing catch up today, did the grocery shopping, laundry, etc. Getting myself mentally prepared for returning to our regular schedule tomorrow.
I am working on that mental preparation as well. I think I am almost there. I am trying to ignore the niggle of dread I feel at the thought of walking into the office tomorrow. I do have plans to hit the gym tomorrow at lunch; I am looking forward to that physical and mental break of the workday.
I’m way behind on comments and just saw your question on what’s so special about a Hydro Flask water bottle. The big selling point is that they keep water cold for a really long time — allegedly up to 24 hours, but I haven’t tested that out. I do know I can fill it up in our cooler at work before I leave for the day and still have cool water in the bottle the next morning, which is super weird but awesome. They’re made in two layers, with a vacuum in the middle, so cold can’t escape as easily. They definitely work, and it’s satisfying to have cold water so long after you fill it up.
Gotcha! Thanks for getting back to me!