When it Needs to be a Simple Christmas

This year we are doing “Simple Christmas” not because we want to create some more space in our lives, or we are intentionally making room to give more to the needy. This year it’s out of total necessity.

As most of you know, two weeks ago I had surgery, but it turns out it was a double-whammy: both a gastric sleeve (elective) and a hiatal hernia (not so elective). We knew the sleeve surgery was a big deal, but it turns out that what we thought was a simple procedure for the hernia, turned out to be just as big of a deal as the sleeve.

And then one week after my surgery, Roger went to the same surgeon and found out that he needed a hernia surgery. This being his third surgery this year with this doctor, if he had it done before the end of the year, we would have almost no out of pocket costs. (Yes, it’s just like buy three yogurts and get the forth one free.)

Simple Christmas blogSince Roger’s surgery would be completely covered by insurance, and it comes just two days before he has a mandatory shutdown at work, we would have been crazy not to do it.

But there is a lot of crazy in the decision to go ahead as well:

  • I’m just coming off surgery, and will probably just be fully recovered as Roger goes in for surgery.
  • I have a book due in January and another one due in March and planned on using that time to write while my healthy husband handled life for us.
  • It’s Christmastime.

I’m sure you’ve had a year just like this. OK, maybe not four surgeries in twelve months, but some other circumstance that has forced you into not just wanting to simplify Christmas, but needing to do it as well.

The need to simplify usually comes from the lack of one of these three areas in your or your family’s life:

  • Time – There is a huge time crunch in your life. It could be from a work situation, or something going on in your family, but there aren’t enough hours on the clock to complete the Christmas miracle you normally plan each year.
  • Energy – You’ve been sick, or you’re caring for someone who is. Or maybe there are external pressures (like a job change, a move,) or a recent tragedy that has left you drained. Whatever the situation is, you know that the wisest thing to do this year is pull back.
  • Money – Job loss, job cut backs, increased expenses, or a firm resolve to not go into debt. There are a thousand reasons why you won’t be spending the same as you have in year’s past.

So I want to spend this week talking about how you do Christmas when it needs to be a simple one. Each day we will discuss one of those areas listed above: Time, Energy, Money.

And if you have any wisdom about how to scale back, please leave it in the comments below. Painful choices you’ve made in the past may give someone else the freedom they need to make hard choices for their family.

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