Christmas blackboard with "Too much to do" written on it.

Are you working too much at Christmas? Here’s how to let go.

Homeschooling and Christmas

Life as a junk drawer

Once upon a Christmas long ago, I wrestled an armful of packages, three little kids, and a baby in a car seat out of the minivan and waddled my way through the post office parking lot. I arrived at the door just as Scrooge did on the other side. He locked it. No amount of groveling could convince him to let me in. I had to waddle back to the car, reload everything and everyone, and try again another day.

That was before the online shopping fairy made mailing packages at Christmas go away – poof! Wouldn’t it be great to make other things on your Christmas work list go away – poof?

Here are some of the jobs homeschooling moms do at Christmas.

__ Cooking

__ Baking

__ Cleaning

__ Decorating

__ Cutting a tree

__ Sitting through Christmas recitals

__ Going to parties

__ Having parties

__ Sending cards

__ Writing the annual Christmas brag letter

__ Having visitors

__ Going visiting

__ Buying presents

__ Wrapping presents

     Mailing presents

Did I miss anything?

__ Oh yeah, and finishing up the fall semester!

What would you add to this list? How many jobs did you check off?

I got 12 out of 15. I gave up sending cards and writing the brag letter, and thankfully aged out of sitting through kids’ recitals (one of which went 5 hours and put my butt into a coma).

Other people give up other things – like cutting a tree. A mom I know gave up presents (her kids are grown). I haven’t gone that far but I have cut way back on presents. Why give these things up? Not because these things are bad but because they no longer work for you.

Think of purging your workload the same way as purging your clutter. It might be perfectly good; you might have loved it once, but it is keeping you from enjoying the stuff you really want. Let someone else enjoy it. You no longer need it. It has to go.

So think of what you really want for Christmas. Purge the things that get in the way of that.

Here is what I really want for Christmas – to honor Our Lord’s birth, have fun with family and friends, and take a break from work. Let me guess – you want that too.

Let’s not use our time off to work overtime.

I have struggled with working too much at Christmas for years. So 12 out of 15 ain’t bad. Then again, I sing in the choir which means I go to church so often I brush my teeth there. I’m not purging that because…

Jesus is the reason for the season free clip art. Source: clker.com/clipart-607379.html

Church stuff is essential. It is holy. It is not really fair to call it “stuff” at all.


Clearly, something needs to go but it can’t be church. I know – food.

I’m not saying to fast on Christmas. Try potluck.

After 27 years of homeschooling, I could teach a course in potluck appreciation.

This is how you eat wonderful food that you do not have to produce all by yourself. For years we have done a family potluck for all the major holidays. Yes, even the kids who live at home sign up to make a dish. It spreads the workaround and adds a fun element of mystery to our holiday dinners. This is especially awesome if your daughter’s mother-in-law, who is a chef, comes. If you still have little kids who can’t help out, keep the food simple. You can even make it ahead a little at a time and freeze it. Even if it’s not perfect, Christmas will still come.

Let’s purge another, shall we? I choose cleaning – not all of it – just the dishes.

Here, I have the zeal of a convert because I own a complete set of wedding china. It is a delicate blue, white, and silver floral pattern. I also own a set of clear glass dishes and cups with red rims that I got at a church rummage sale that I am inexplicably even crazier about than the china. I used to also own a set of unrealistic expectations because my mother always used her lovely china on holidays and she always washed every piece herself, thereby ensuring its survival in our family of 8 kids. For years, I did the same. It was my filial duty. For what purpose do you have exquisite dishes if not to use them on holidays? But guess what – using my dishes did not give me joy. It gave me work and if I am being honest, resentment.

Why is everyone else goofing off while I pamper the gravy boat?

So this past Thanksgiving I enjoyed my gorgeous china by gazing at it through the hutch window. We ate off colorful paper plates with matching cups and napkins and these sparkly, golden plastic forks I found at Ollie’s. True confessions: I did wash the golden forks. They were too fabulous to throw out. My conversion to disposable is a process.

Isn’t this whole tendency of working too much at Christmas also a process? It takes time to find out what works for you, what you really want, and what you can live without. Be patient with yourself.

Have you ever had unrealistic expectations at Christmas? Leave a comment.

What are your expectations now? Is there something you wish you could change about the holidays but don’t know how? I’m a homeschool consultant and I’ve been there too. Let’s talk!

May peace come upon your little plot of earth.

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