First of all- congrats to Maggie who won my Scotch Gift Wrap Giveaway! Thanks to all who entered via commenting, Twitter and Facebook. I so appreciate you! 

Now on to the topic of simplicity at Christmas. Aren't kids at Christmas the best? This is my daughter full of Christmas joy in front of our finally finished fireplace. Our house is still not 100% done for many different reasons but I am pretty happy to have a fireplace to put my Christmas tree in front of. It's so peaceful to look at.  

Contrary to this feeling almost every year of my adulthood Christmas has felt manic. And every year, I have sworn that the next year would be different. Less stressful, more prayerful, less running around and more enjoying the people I love. Inspired by Karen's Christmas Pledge I created my own last minute version in hopes to keep myself organized and less manic. And yet every year I have failed. 

If I am being honest what had me the most manic was the PRESSURE. Of feeling like I had to buy the perfect presents, pressure to be everywhere and see everyone, pressure to create perfect Christmas memories for my children. I realize much of this pressure has been self imposed. So this year, we chose to respond differently. 

We intentionally removed ourselves from 2 Kris Kringle gift exchanges. We committed to going to only one house on Christmas Day. We are going to a cottage with limited wifi for a chunk of time after Christmas. We are making last minute, non-pressured plans over the holidays.  And I have not felt guilty that my tree just went up and that all my shopping basically took place in one day and it was yesterday. 

The removal of this pressure and expectation has lifted a veil for me. I feel like I can actually enter into this season without feeling so completely behind and so tired I fall asleep at Christmas mass. I feel like I can actually see, and this is what I so desperately want to stare at:

I hope this season, however you are spending it, is full of joy, peace, wonder and awe. A very Merry Christmas to you my dear readers, for whom I am so thankful for. 

Image taken by my husband at St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal at the nativity museum showcasing nativity's from around the world.