23 December 2010

Trying Too Hard

I've been gritting my teeth, determined that this week shall be filled with Christmas Spirit.
I wrote a list (I checked it twice).
The plan filled our days with Christmas activities, including plenty of focus on giving.
Watch the Nativity Movie.
Choose gifts for the poor kids in Africa from the Smiles catalogue.

Catch the train into the City and visit Santa in the Enchanted Forest.
Go to the giant telecom Tree, phone Santa, walk to see the Christmas lights on Franklin Road.

Gather up unneeded items from home and donate to the City Mission.
Do a photo-hunt for Angel Wings around the city - each photo posted on the City Mission's FB wall gives them $5 from their sponsor.
Make a gift box for our neighbour who recently lost her sister.

Finish off with our traditional Polar Express Movie Night complete with hot chocolate and popcorn.
{somehow fit in all the other Christmas Prep. Food. Present wrapping. All that mundane stuff.}

After a couple of days of thwarted plans, whinging and complaining kids, I was seriously asking myself: Why did I bother??

The Nativity Movie was of course way too slow moving for my kids. We gave up not very far into it after having to pause it so many times to shush them. When they were finally in bed and we'd pushed play once more, Mr G got a phone call and went off to answer it only returning as the credits rolled. Suckage. I really wanted to focus on the reason for the season.

The visit to Santa involved a one-hour wait in a long hot line of wriggling kids and tired adults. Only to have Scrag refuse point blank to go anywhere near Santa, as he pressed himself wailing into a corner and trembled with fear.

The Christmas lights were also a bust. "I'm tired!" "My legs are going to break!" "Why couldn't we just take the car??!!?" "I'm leaving this family!" (because we are so mean making him walk and forcing Christmas cheer upon him). Grrrr.

By yesterday morning I had all-but given up.

"What are we doing today, mum??" they all wanted to know. "Where are we going??"
Nowhere. We are going nowhere. Staying home. Postponing the angel wing photo hunt. Postponing the Polar Express night.

We cleaned up and sorted out things to give away instead. Miss Fab helped me sort through her stuff and clean her room in readiness for Christmas. Then I attacked the linen cupboard and the boys room. We collected quite a haul to take to the Mission. Nice clothes, outgrown. Duvet sets and cot bedding, no longer needed. Books, toys. And a gift each wrapped for "the poor children" by Miss Fab, labelled by her "to a boy from our famuly" "to a girl from our famuly".

Later we rode bikes to the park. Then put up the paddling pool and the kids splashed around.
An early night tonight, I reminded everyone.

Miss Fab wanted to wrap more pressies. We had been shopping for gifts for her to give. She wrapped each one thoughtfully and carefully. I sat there watching her and holding the sellotape, thinking, this is what I love. Seeing her enjoy giving.

Later I began wrapping my mountain of pressies while Christmas music played. Dash crept in and said, "Watcha doin'?"

I invited him to help me. We sat on my bed, wrapping gifts and he asked me about Christmas when I was kid. What was my favourite thing? What kind of things did I get for Christmas then? What did I hope to get this year?

"You just wait mum, I think you're gonna love it!" he said, referring to the gift he has picked out for me.

Today we will go to the Mission, take our pile of donations and hunt for some angel wings.
In a more relaxed fashion.
Because as I have discovered (the hard way), it's the little things. The simple things. Wrapping a gift together. Cleaning up rooms together.

So here's to a relaxed happy and un-try-hard Christmas.
Merry Christmas to you and all your family from me and mine.

God Bless and I hope at some point you do get a warm fuzzy moment where you capture the Spirit of what Christmas is all about.


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Anonymous said...

yep, going with the flow is a good thing. Much less stressful!! Love the pictures. Love the face on Joshua in that one pic, too. I've seen that face here on my boy!!

Merry Christmas to you and your family, Simone! :)

PaisleyJade said...

Oh yeah - we've discovered just the same things. Seems like some of the traditions don't quite go down the same the next year...so we are just going with the flow and trying to no squeeze too much in.

Sarah @ Catching the Magic said...

Phew, you sure have been fitting so much in. Enjoy going with the flow x We've been chilling at home most of this week, with a few simple Christmas crafts and writing cards for friends, donating toys, sorting, cleaning and playing the garden. We exhausted ourselves last week with the build up to Sophie's Birthday! Nice to be chilling out and avoiding the shops this week. The children always prefer our time and the simple things. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family x

Shell said...

An un-try-hard Christmas. That is exactly what I need!

Gail said...

Yep, we are go-with-the-flow peeps. I can't be bothered scheduling things simply because we are all tired and needing to take things one hour at a time!
We are doing the lights tonight.... but loose with that too. Maybe tomorrow night!

Renegades said...

Go with the flow sounds so peaceful.

Widge said...

while reading this I was instantly reminded of the Mary/Martha story. Im soooooo still learning to be more of a Mary around this Christmas time and I have to say minis a few instances I have improved HEAPS this year. Some things we do just have to let go. For example gooseman was too tired to go out Christmas light looking the other night and mr 11 didn't even want to, so it was just me and the 3 youngest and we still had a great time. I didn't let it bother me and the kids knew no better. all was good :)

we are packed and ready to leave for our mini holiday so Merry Christmas Graham family. Enjoy!!

p.s I haven't done a million things that I wanted to have ready for our special Christmas but letting it go...letting it go ;) ;)

Sammy said...

No matter what you do you make it special Simoney! It's your gift/ talent xxx

Lyns said...

Wow - your list is cool but exhausting I think!
Being here on our own-ish this year has allowed a quieter pace in our house. Well til tomorrow when Nanny and Grandad arrive from CHCH.
Merry Christmas lovely, to you and your family. Catch up soon xx

Leonie said...

wow! you have a big list of exciting things.
This year I have just gone with the flow as with moving countries in four weeks there's too much other stress.
But surprisingly it has been AWESOME! we spontaneously went out to the mall on Tuesday night, had dinner, kids bought presents with money from grandparents, had a photo with Santa, then we went to view some christmas lights. We've baked, watched movies and just taken things slowly. No pressure, no plans...And I cant believe how relaxed we are. Im loving it!
I love your comment from one of your children about wanting a new family - that is something my Mr 7 says everytime he doesnt get his own way - funny!!! Of course my kids have whinged and fought and practised their communication skills with each other but its so nice just to 'be'.
Next year though, I am going to factor in more intentional giving to others in need, we haven't done enough this year.

alicia said...

Yep. I'm afraid I tend to fall into this category as well. This year I'm just tired though. Hope you enjoy the rest of your Christmas week and unwind a bit. Loved the pics. Very festive.

Sonia said...

I hear ya'! Our Advent calendar activities have gone haywire every single day so far - and that includes putting up the Christmas tree on Dec 1 - with crying and hysterics. By the end of it, my hubby went 'Right! I'm putting up the star at the top' and stormed out. I'm hoping for a little more cheer next year:)
p.s. I'm new to your blog and look forward to reading more of your posts in the new year. Merry Christmas.

jacksta said...

Merry Christmas Simoney and Co :)

Meghan Maloney Photography said...

Sometimes simple is best! And sounds like your kids got so much out of doing the City Mission Angel Wings too. Way better than a forced commercial experience hey. Merry Christmas lovely Graham family :-)

Allyson & Jere said...

I'm still wrapping my head around the kids swimming for Christmas. I always forget that you guys down there are in summer. Not that I live in a winter wonderland, but at least it's cold-ish.

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas. I'm trying to figure out how to get the motivation or energy to finish all I need to do. Meh!

Anonymous said...

My motto for the new year is keep it simple. I'm starting early.

Penny said...

Wow lots of fun stuff, but staying at home and enjoying each other is also lovely. Hope you have a great day together xx

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