Pacing the Christmas Marathon

My firstborn was five months old when a friend said, “Don’t go overboard at Christmas. You have too many years ahead of you. We burned out.” She meant activities, not presents, which were not a temptation given our budget.

Our Christmases were quiet for a couple of years, and then, the activities began. By the time our children were in high school and would remember more, I was exhausted, and they were bored with some routines.

The traditions that have lasted are a decorated tree, carol singing, decorating homemade cookies, sporadic family Advent readings, Christmas Eve worship, Christmas Eve cookies and snacks, Christmas breakfast— with cranberry coffee cake—and our gift exchange routine. 

Daily family Advent readings, other Christmas sweets, making gingerbread houses, outdoor lights, indoor garland, and neighborhood caroling slipped away. Our Advent banner is no longer hung. Christmas movies and concerts are less frequent.

Most of the meaningful traditions have stayed. The ones I miss might still exist if I had carefully paced our Christmas marathon.

Do you have traditions which should be saved for later years when the children will enjoy them more or remember them better?

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