Baking under the unseasonably hot (Spring!) October sky: “Hey, only two months until Christmas!” the burly, bearded truck driver beams. “Are you getting excited?”

Cooking dinner at home: “Mum, book lists for next year are here. They want them back in by November.”

Staff meeting at work two days ago: “….And finally, guys, have a look at the leave calendar and get your leave applications in ASAP, we need to be organised over Christmas and New Year.”

Christmas decorations and food were on the shelves on the first of October. Even before the Halloween insanity. Mayday, mayday, the black hole of the Christmas Season is sucking me in! Beam me out, Gandalf!


Thankfully this year I’ve been more slightly proactive in my planning. ‘Slightly’ in this instance meaning book marking some brilliant blog posts on gift ideas and advent activities (this October and last December, respectively), and by buying books and t-shirts when I got my tax return (in August). I’ve kept the loot buried in the exhausted, heavily taped moving box which has traveled over 2000kms/1242mi with me in the past five years. I’ve walked past its shaggy edges countless times this past fortnight as I unpack into my new house, fingers trailing over the warp and buckle of the top flaps. Oh, right, I’m still signed up to the card making place – phew! has flitted through my head at these times. I hope the camels made it I’ve prayed, half wincing at the ache I may be facing in finding out in just a handful of weeks. Once, dodging around the box yet again on my way to the laundry, I stopped dead – WHERE am I going to put the tree this year? Then, shrugging, I continued on realising Anywhere you want, babe. Anywhere you want.

I want a slightly different Christmas; therefore I’ve made an agreement with myself. The clauses and details are as follows:

  1. I will not be Christmas shopping in December. For food, yes. Presents, no way. (Camels not included – see Clause 4).
  2. We will put the tree up sometime around November 25th. Because I want to.
  3. The chest freezer will be stocked with our favourite mango ice-cream bars, and I’ll splurge to buy a whole box of cherries and lychees in the week of Christmas.
  4. I’m going to buy myself another camel (if I can find one appropriately awesome) to add to my Nativity collection.
  5. Our Christmas Advent house will be used, bare wood or painted, “ready” or not.
  6. I will search for five new Christmas carols/songs to add to my collection.

I hope my kids will like their books and couple of presents (I’m actually positive they will). But mostly – and the whole point of my agreement – is so we (so I) can deliberately, joyously, laughingly and enthusiastically celebrate Christ’s birth. I’m even going to bake Him a cake (and eat it, too!) Sometimes the celebration really is in the planning. Even if that planning is six items long.

Are you thinking of Christmas yet? Are you a precision planner or Christmas Eve shopper? What are you changing – or definitely keeping – in your Christmas this year?

October 25, 2013


  1. Elissa

    October 24, 2013

    Sounds like a wonderful warm Aussie Christmas to me. We have several big presents bought already and I want Christmas to be more relaxed this year and less run around so lets see how we go.

  2. Chocolate on my Cranium

    October 24, 2013

    We have so many birthdays in the fall and winter that I have found it is so much easier to have Christmas shopping done by Nov. 1st. I am more relaxed, less stressed, and everyone has time to really bask in the joyous Christmas spirit because mom’s not being a Grinch. 🙂 We have one more gift to go and we are done for the year!

  3. Catherine A.

    October 24, 2013

    I love this Kel. Beam me out, Gandolf! He he. I like your pre-meditation, your desire to zero in on what matters, to cultivate joy. Your boys are oh so lucky. xo p.s. I just sent you an email because I unknowingly posted today as well. Checking with the powers that be to see if we can revert the draft. Love you.

  4. Jessie

    October 24, 2013

    I haven’t even had a chance to think about Christmas yet–still trying to get Halloween costumes sorted out, plus the class I’m taking ends on December 9th and I have to produce a research paper before then (among other things).

    Generally I am a Christmas minimalist and have been for years. My kids have so much stuff, I hate buying them more, but usually do just for tradition’s sake. For years we have followed a tradition of one thing to wear, one thing to read, and one thing to play with–so my Christmas shopping is fairly minimal. I get them all a pair of Christmas jammies on sale the day after Thanksgiving, order some books and toys from Amazon with rewards points from my credit card, and call it good. The other extras like baking and so on are just going to have to wait until after December 9

  5. Marnie

    October 27, 2013

    Well, Kellie, you know about my Christmases so I don’t need to elaborate here, but I often feel overwhelmed by the “silly season” for reasons other than Christmas. For example, those of us in Australia and surrounding countries who follow the same school year schedule (we start school at the end of January and finish mid-late December. On the 21st this year- what the heck?!!) not only have Christmas to plan and execute, but in the months leading up, we have every stinking “end of year” break-up party/concert/dinner/program that we also need to cram in an already busy schedule. Book lists (as you mentioned) to pay for, levies and fees for the following school year, etc, etc, etc. It’s way too much in a short space of time that it’s nigh on impossible not to feel frazzled when all those ‘to-do’s fall in your responsibility basket. I like your simplicity approach. I can’t seem to pull it off effectively yet but I may get there yet.

    Sadly, I tend to ‘endure’ Christmas, rather than celebrate it. It’s been a long time since I really enjoyed it for what it should be – a celebration of Christ’s birth. I think a year without any of the extended family stuff would be a great start to a more peaceful and focused Christmas, for me anyway. I’m sure my kids would miss all the cousin madness so looks like I will be enduring it all for quite a while to come. Lol… oh well ; )

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