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Christmas + 2016's Theme

December 27th, 2015 at 08:42 am

I can't believe that Christmas has come and gone. I feel like I've been saying this for years now, but it just didn't really feel like Christmas this year. I'm thinking maybe it's just because I'm getting older. I'm hoping once we have kids that it feel magical again. But either way, it was enjoyable.

DH and I had our lovely Christmas Eve. We exchanged our gifts earlier in the day so we could play with them. I got him the Amazon Echo, and we both love it. He got me a Fitbit. I'm hoping it will help me shed some unwanted pounds and generally live a bit healthier. We exchanged a few other smaller gifts as well - but tried to keep it simple. He did include a spa package for me, which was unexpected and very nice Smile He really is a keeper.

Christmas itself was a lot of running around. We went to my mom's in the morning for breakfast and presents. It went over fine. I have a very odd relationship with my family, and the holidays tend to be very stressful for me. But all things considered, things went well. Mom seemed to enjoy the purse I got her (which is a relief. It's always so hard to pick things like that for people, even with general guidelines). I didn't get much of a reaction out of my siblings, but that's usual.

After my mom's we went to DH's parent's for presents. I think my MIL lives for giving presents. Gift Giving is definitely her love language. I came away from it very appreciative, and also a bit guilty that we didn't get her a bit more. It's always such an awkward experience trying to figure out what is "appropriate." I think that's why my SIL made everyone agree to do no gift exchange with her. But my MIL got her a bunch of stuff anyway. I think it made her feel really uncomfortable. Not sure how that is going to be handled next year.

After his parents we go and do his extended family party. Which is always kind of a hoot. Never a boring moment with his aunts there. Very loud, boisterous ladies, supplying much fodder for his cousins, who poke and prod them all night. haha. Beyond the fun, though, it seemed like tensions ran a bit higher than normal this year. We did end up staying reeeally late, engrossed in a religious discussion with his aunt's that was a bit more than a little awkward for me, but still very interesting. Oh, family...

I think in 2016 I'm going to try and somehow improve my relationship with my family. It's the single biggest point of stress in my life, and it's saddening that I constantly dread any interaction with my mom. A lot of it I know will be on my part - working harder to practice empathy and not let the things she says/does get to me so much. But at some point I need to be a bit more honest with her about those things. I bite my tongue in fear of hurting her feelings. But the more I think about it, if I had a daughter that felt the way I do right now, I'd want her to say something. And I know my mom would love to have a closer relationship with me. Sigh.


Speaking of the New Year, I'm really excited for it. I love fresh starts and the energy that comes with setting goals. We have a really eventful year coming up - our honeymoon in March and moving out of state in April. Then all of the fun and challenge that comes along with acclimating and building a new life in a new place.

I generally pick one "theme" to focus on every year. 2015 was the year of mindfulness. And I think that idea helped me establish some great new habits and let go of the past, bringing my attention more to the present - and practicing gratitude for all of the wonderful things I have in my life.

For 2016, I think I've landed on the idea of "Making Space." Certainly in a physical sense - finishing my Marie Kondo journey, getting rid of more stuff and creating a home that really speaks to the person I am today. But also making space in a less tangible way - letting go of my negativity to make space for more empathy and compassion. Spending less time on social media to make space for activities that recharge me instead of distracting me (like reading or crocheting). Reducing the junk food in the house to make space for healthier, delicious options. Stop spending money on stuff I don't really need to make space for working toward my financial goals that matter. Generally making space to cook more food from scratch, spend more quality time with DH, to focus on those important projects that get caught in the whirlwind of everyday, unimportant tasks.

I constantly gripe about being busy and not having enough time, but I know that's not entirely true. My time management could be 1,000 x better than it is, and if my priorities are true priorities, the things I want to do in my life will get done. I just have to let go of the garbage time. And truly focus on enjoying every aspect of the things I choose to replace that time with.

So there you have it! We will be setting some more specific financial (and general) goals for the year, but that's the framework.

What are your resolutions for the new year?

8 Responses to “Christmas + 2016's Theme”

  1. ceejay74 Says:

    Lovely resolutions. I do think you'll enjoy Xmas more when you have kids; it'll also give you some traction, if you continue to not enjoy family interactions, to start creating your own traditions in your own home.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Great theme for your year! My mother refers to it as 'naming her year'.

  3. Jenn Says:

    I like your 2016 focus. It reminds me of a concept I read (and then acted upon) a couple of years ago: creating a to-don't list. The things to stop doing so you can make room for the things to start doing.

  4. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Hmm.. If I had to give 2016 a name, it probably would be "The Year of Big Changes." or maybe ... The Year I finally do Adult things.

    I hear you about Christmas / holidays. Really, ever since my dad died I just haven't had the same holiday spirit. Though even before then, I never really got into decorating wherever I lived for the various holidays. Mainly because I had to decorate classrooms, but even when that wasn't the case ... just has not been a big priority on my to do list. If I had had kids, then it would definitely have been different. The holidays "magic" really is for the kids I think.

  5. PatientSaver Says:

    I hope you DO talk to your mom about whatever she's saying that bothers you. It's not good to keep things bottled up, and there are tactful and diplomatic ways you can broach the subject without it becoming an argument.

    Seeing as how I met my financial goals this year but not at all the social ones, I haven't yet set goals for next year as I like them to be attainable.

    Well, I guess one goal could be the 365 days of gratefulness, where you take a photo daily of something you are grateful for. I love using a camera and sharing pix here and on FB, and during these times when I am so worried about my own mom, and really mentally preparing for her death, it could be a helpful reminder there is still beauty and truth and goodness in the world.

  6. pjmama Says:

    @Ceejay: That's how I think of it as well. I'm excited to start building new traditions when our family starts growing!

    @Creditcardfree: I love that! May have to borrow it Smile

    @Jenn: Also might have to borrow this idea! I did some of that this year as well. Saying no is something I struggle with, and I'm someone who tends to collect hobbies... it's easy to get pulled in all different directions!

    @FrugalTexan: I giggled about your "Finally do Adult Things." I feel like I'm perpetually trying to feel like a legitimate adult - but big changes certain throw you into that mindset where you really have no choice in the matter Wink I did decorate this year, but for me I think it's more about the feeling than it is about the surroundings. I guess I see Christmas as a time of togetherness, and I've felt a little outside when it comes to family.

    @PatientSaver: I plan to. And I think that your goal is a great one! I've tried (and failed) to do a 365 project, but gratitude is such an important practice, and I'm sure will help you feel closer to your mother and the beautiful footprint she left on the world and your life. I look forward to see the world through your eyes!

    @All: Thanks for the comments, everyone! It's always so comforting and lovely to see that others are listening, and I appreciate the feedback Smile

  7. CB in the City Says:

    I think Christmas does get less exciting when you get older -- you are aware of all the undercurrents and awkward family situations, which can take the shine off the season. Children do bring the magic back. The difference is that you make the magic yourself, instead of being the recipient.

    I was already thinking I would have a theme in 2016 rather than resolutions, and I can't believe that your last year's theme is mine for this year! I swear I'm not copying. I had already decided I would devote the year to attentiveness and mindfulness. I can be such a space cadet.

  8. pjmama Says:

    @CB: I am sure you came to it all on your own Smile And even if you didn't - it's such a great theme, and did me very well this year. Good luck bringing yourself back to the present!

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