And So This Is Christmas…After a Move

Christmas Vingette

Happy Monday, friends and readers. I so wanted to have a holiday home tour ready and up for you today; but alas, it’s not done. And instead of missing another day here on the blog, I kinda just want to have a little heart-to-heart instead. Is that okay? I hope so. I need it. Maybe you do too 🙂

In recent weeks, I feel as though the crazy pace I’ve been keeping since we step foot in Kansas has completely and totally caught up with me. A bunch of tight deadlines, being gone for Thanksgiving, a slew of personal health stuff, and a huge headache on the backend of my blog in recent weeks have all left me drained and in a serious creative funk. It feels like no matter how much I work or how hard I try, I just can’t get on top of the things I want/need to do to make some legitimate forward progress…whether it’s on the house, on the blog, or on our holiday preparations. Projects are feeling laborious instead of fun, and I am having the hardest time getting into the holiday spirit. In a word…I’m tired.

As I was talking to a girlfriend recently about a variety of struggles, I finally admitted to myself that I have every reason to be tired. While the blogging and the parenting and the teaching and the socializing certainly add up, I tend to overlook one really big thing that happened to us this year: we moved our family (halfway) across the country. That’s no small thing. I think because we military families move so much, it becomes easy to downplay the stress of it all. Moving may be routine, and we may have it down to a science; but man is it stressful, and it sure does take a heck of a lot out of you. Mentally, physically, emotionally. Moreover, from the second we arrived, I hit the ground running with projects, a blog overhaul, exploring our new community, getting back to work at the gym, and more. It’s been a crazy 7 months; but when it’s mere months before the trucks are due to come again, you have to act fast. Knowing we’re heading into another move in just 6 more months brings its own stresses. The clock is already counting down.

This year, all of my exhaustion and overwhelm have shown themselves most in our holiday preparations. You guys, I am having the toughest time decorating all out for Christmas. Admittedly, each year I struggle with the clutter and the re-arranging and the glitter (every.where), but I can usually channel my inner elf eventually and pull together a pretty legit holiday home. Like your’s too possibly, my blog and Instagram feeds have been flooded for WEEKS now with one spectacular holiday home tour after another…and boy was I feeling the pressure to decorate my house to the hilt and share it too. But I can’t do it. This year, everything feels so forced and so rushed. I wasn’t liking anything I pulled out or any vignette I created, and the excess clutter and decorating were stressing me out more than it needed to.

I’m learning that for me, the holidays right after a move are the hardest. It feels as though all of our stuff just came out of boxes and I am just getting everything where I like it when it’s time to decorate. Moving everything around and creating more chaos just for holiday decor makes me feel less settled and more anxious. For weeks, I’ve been staring at our Christmas boxes in the garage, willing myself to create some holiday magic. This weekend I finally put them all away and gave myself permission to stop. Stop the decorating, stop the stressing, stop the comparing to other home bloggers who have fabulous holiday homes. Instead of beating myself up for the holiday home I don’t have, I’m choosing to acknowledge the struggle and salvage my holiday season. (I guess this was all my very long-winded way of saying, you probably aren’t going to get a holiday home tour from me this year 😉 )

Here on the blog and in person, I often get comments like “How do you do it?” “How do you accomplish so much?” “How do you handle a move with such ease?” “How do you pull a house together so fast?” Well, this is me…exposed for all to see…that while it may look like I’m handling it all just swell…it all catches up at some point. I can push hard for quite some time, but eventually, I crash. I always do. It’s December 14th and I’ve yet to buy a single Christmas present. We haven’t taken photos for Christmas cards much less sent them out, and we haven’t taken in any of the holiday events and festivities here in KC. And while I am painfully behind on my blog projects for the remainder of the year, I am feeling the need to press the breaks and catch my breath anyway. I don’t want to spend the next few weeks stressing about blog deadlines. Instead, I want to enjoy the holiday season and spend some quality time with my boys while they are on school break (son + husband both have school break!). I need it, and I know it.

Don’t fret, I’m not going away…I’m just going to ease off my usual posting schedule for the remainder of the year. I am planning on checking in at least once a week with few projects I do have in the works, as well as a few end-of-year posts I’m excited to write…so be sure to check in regularly. As always, thank you for reading and for giving me the space to be real. I work so hard on this little corner of mine on the web, and it means the world to me that you spend some of your precious time with me here. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go shopping!

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28 Responses to And So This Is Christmas…After a Move

  1. Megan I completely get how you feel. We have in recent years cut WAY back on decorating, cooking and holiday events. We celebrate more what the season is about now not the commercialism. We don’t do presents anymore either. Instead we do experiences that we can do together as a family. Our daughter can’t remember what she got each Christmas but she can remember when we went ziplining over live alligators, hot air ballooning, or snow skiing for the holiday.

    I would suggest you ask your son what he likes best about your decorating for the holiday and do that one thing for him. Our daughter’s favorite thing was setting up the Little People nativity which we still do and she’s 17 now. She named every single animal and person in it (and there are at least 75). She also has the wise men walk across the house to meet Baby Jesus. We never know where they will be each day. These small things are what makes our holiday special not the overdone trees, endless parties and expensive gifts. Slow down and enjoy the season and enjoy being with your family. Have a Merry Christmas and rest up!

  2. I *just* moved in March and while we still have a few boxes left, we’ve done almost zero in the decorating department. We have lots of big and little plans for our house but are really struggling with jumping in and getting started. Combine that with a 1.5 year old who was not mobile last Christmas, we have done very little in the way of decorating this year. We got our tree up, a few favorites from my nativity collection and our Christmas story books and that is it. I’ve definitely been impressed and inspired by your progress, but I’m also encouraged that it’s OK to have doubts and be overwhelmed! Thank you for sharing your real life and I wish you and your family a very blessed (and relaxing) Christmas season!

  3. Stop and rest. God rested on the 7th day after creating the world. So we too must rest. Enjoy your family and make memories in KC. You’re only there for 6 more months. Your loyal readers/followers will be here when you get back. Wising you and your family a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!

  4. I’ve just started following you a few months back and I must say I love this post of yours most of all. I will admit to living vicariously thru Home Bloggers. I never seem to have the time, money, space, energy to get my home decorated or in order that they have and this year it’s even worse since I’m going thru a move of my own soon. So it’s nice to see that the Bloggers I follow and design lust over their pages are just as imperfect as I. We get caught up in the pretty pics and ideas we forget there are human beings behind those that have lives just a busy of our own. It’s a good reminder to have. Especially this time of year when our focus shouldn’t be just on whats in our houses but on spending time with those we love. 🙂

  5. I thought that this summer we would slow down a bit and I could do a few things I wanted to. Didn’t happen, if anything summer was super busy, but in a good way. Then I thought when school started I could carve out a little time for me and do some things I wanted to. Nope it seems we have been more busy. Add in that every time we get daylight savings or take it away it throws me off my game, it has been one crazy last few months.
    I pulled out all my Christmas and told myself that if I didn’t use it to decorate with this year it had to go. I have 4 large totes of Christmas as well as a couple of boxes and a very large Christmas tree box. I yearn for simple easy times and days.
    I also don’t love that this time of year there is so much pressure put on being to this party or finding the perfect gift. Thankfully in October my hubby and I sat down, made a list in our google drive, and have tried to check everyone off while doing it simply. We picked out razor scooters for all of us, kids and adults, with the idea that we could spend a little time together. They are all wrapped and under the tree. The parties are hopefully almost done, and then we can sit and relax together.
    I agree with what other comments are. Take some time. Your family is only like this once. Enjoy the couple of traditions your son loves and leave the rest for next year. Because Christmas will come again.
    I hope you get to enjoy the “school break” with your boys!

  6. Good for you! You deserve a break! You put 100% into everything you do…but that would take a toll on anyone. Enjoy some much needed downtime.

  7. Thank you for your honesty! 🙂 We just moved in April and I feel like I am just now getting one room about how I want it. Trying to decorate for Christmas has been hilarious, digging through boxes to find the most basic items. (The lights were all together in a labeled box, but the tree strand was alone tucked in a cabinet.) I find that what I remember from year to year is the glow of the tree and the warmth of our decorated house when I come home from work in the dark … no details, just the impression of how peaceful and joyful I found them. So, that’s what I focus my energy on first, and I just take anything else that I can manage as a wonderful bonus. If I don’t manage anything else, then I’m still totally happy. A little can go a long way 🙂

  8. From a happy, new follower — Amen! When I saw that you posted three times a week, I thought “Lordy, the girl is busy!” This Christmas is a weird one for our family too (a terminal diagnosis for a brother, illnesses for parents and my 99-year old grandpa, college kids melting down, work craziness….yada yada yada!) So we all decided that 1) the decorations will be ultra simple – a tree, 2) the linens, silver and china are getting a rest, 3) gift cards for one year are AWESOME, and 4) the most important is our time together – because it is short. Have a great vacay, and come back in the new year refreshed!

  9. Give yourself permission to not be perfect. To slow down and enjoy the season. To make memories instead of blog posts. To do the things that matter most to you. To look at your family, not your phone. To renew and recharge and be in the moment.

    Peace.

  10. Frankly, I don’t know how you’ve kept going this long! I know you see moving as ‘routine’, but something that stressful is bound to catch up with you eventually. Better to recognise you’re struggling and try to find a bit of your holiday spirit without putting so much pressure on yourself, than to collapse in an exhausted heap in the new year. We’ll be here when you’ve found your mojo. x

  11. Take a break and refresh yourself. Christmas is about love and family, not home tours. Truth to tell, I don’t care for home tours. I’d rather see a quality article about a particular project, that is well-thought-out and the person making it is excited about that project. One good article is worth more than ten not-so-good articles. So hug yourself and your boys, then enjoy the holidays. (P.S. If you feel the need to stay in touch, repost some popular posts from the past.)

  12. I am glad to learn that you recognize the need for a rest. I only recently discovered your blog and am so grateful for your generosity. I’m married to a sailor, we moved last year and will move again in 4 months. I hope you enjoy your holiday and time with your family. I will read whatever you post, whenever you post it and go through the archives, too! Happy Holidays to you!

  13. Hi Megan, I enjoy your blog and have never commented, but I wanted to say BRAVO and THANK YOU for your honesty here. So often it feels like bloggers have these amazing homes that are completely unrealistic in real life with kids, families, jobs, and other obligations. It’s nice to see someone who has their priorities in check. Your family matters most. Please do not feel bad about stepping back to take care of them or yourself. Thanks for the quality of your work. Your readers will be here when you’re able to post! Merry Christmas.

  14. Megan, these personal posts are my favorite. I want to send you a big hug and some inner peace. I can’t believe you’re already counting down to the next move! I also want to share that I have not set out a single Christmas decoration, because we’re moving this weekend! And next week for Christmas we will be out of town visiting family, so this one year in our first house I will not decorate. I’m a little sad about it, but I realize it’s just not necessary this year. Breathe deep and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  15. Hi Megan
    I do love your personal posts ! It’s nice to see the girl behind the blog is a real human being. Sure, you may be tired and overwhelmed, I know what moves are and the need of a rest comes months after, and before as you only stay here one year ! So take care of you and your family, have the best time together, no matter the ornaments, the cards, the gifts, do what brings you joy and it will be the best time . So a merry Christmas and enjoy ! Michèle

  16. Dear Megan,

    Thank you for being “real” and honest. Sometimes it is scary to open up and share;but we feel so much better afterwards. As women, that is one of our special gifts to articulate how we are feeling and to love and support one another because we have empathy. As others have commented, I also wish you a lovely time with family and to relax. I enjoy your posts and will be here when you are ready to return. If you only post once a week, or once a month, your loyal readers will be here for you. God Bless you and yours. Merry Christmas from Canada!

  17. Dec. 15 and not a single Christmas decoration up. We went on a retreat and then my husband was TDY. We have a daughter who dances in the Nutcracker and that’s always crazy. Another one runs indoor track. It’s too much. Grace upon grace for yourself and others. There are plenty of ideas out there if someone needs something. Take care of you and your family. Enjoy what’s left of the season. We will see you in 2016!

  18. You’re definitely not alone in feeling the holiday stress! This is a busy time for all, but it’s always important to take care of yourself — especially your health! As others have said here, take time to enjoy the holidays with your family, relax, and breathe! 🙂

    Merry Christmas!

  19. Well babe, I think your readers and I are in agreement. You deserve a Merry Christmas! So I am going to put a pause on the claymation holiday home tour movie we were working, and find some cookies to eat. I love you!

  20. Good on you! No need to compare yourself to others and stress about it! Enjoy your time with your family…nothing else really matters. Merry Christmas!

  21. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. For being real and honest and vulnerable. I believe more busy moms feel the way you do than say it and I am one. I purposefully did a lot of things early this year just so as not to hit the stressed out wall of trying to be everything and do everything for everyone. Gave it my best shot and got close but also had to stop and be happy with what I already decorated and what I’ve already purchased and just spend these days enjoying family and the holiday season. I loved your blog before but I LOVE LOVE LOVE it now-kindred spirits. 🙂

  22. I wish I could be the one to myself permission to stop – It starts with my hubby’s attitude & has filtered to the kids. I personally learned long ago I CANNOT be everything to everyone all the time – but still they keep demanding-the other day at work I was told my manager wanted me to work the next day( I was scheduled off) I explained that I could not do this- especially with less than 24 hours notice- I had a doctor ‘s appointment and a physiotherapy appointment and cancelling w/ less than 24 hours notice means incurring fees for which my employer wouldn’t pay – let’s not even talk about the Christmas errands needing done- Hubby won’t do them as I have this day off and work less hours outside the home( but gee lucky me- my employer will pay me for my shift- I actually come out about $20 ahead after I pay the cancellation penalties and gas)I was hauled into the manager’s office and told the company needs and expects flexible employees. A subtle threat- keep every day open or potentially be replaced by some desperate person who will – My sister in law was hosting Christmas until this week where she figured out that starting a full kitchen gut and renovation in mid November might mean your kitchen isn’t finished for Christmas. Now I am volunteered to do Christmas for 12- with very little notice and a husband who thinks the 15 pound turkey I keep as a back up in the freezer will be fine. The inlaws have invited themselves to stay with us – experience says they will treat my home as a hotel w/ me providing maid service and a big screaming fight if I say “no ” or ask for help. I don’t have an issue w/ saying no – every one around me has an issue with hearing it.

  23. Love your openness and honesty Megan! Thank you for being real. Just another reason why I really enjoy reading your blog.

    I think you should join your husband in those cookies! 😀

    Merry Christmas!

  24. Although we didn’t move this year, I find myself nodding right along with you. I did a major overhaul on my home – which was suppose to start in September and finish in October and due to circumstances beyond my control, it all got pushed to November with just me doing all the work. It meant many 4:00am mornings. I just finished (ish) and it was time to decorate for Christmas and welcome out of town guests. Now the festivities are over. There are so many fun things I wasn’t able to do with my daughter over break because of “everything” and I’m exhausted and feeling defeated. That’s a very long winded way of saying you’re allowed to absolutely feel the way you do and good on you for acknowledging your feelings. Happy New Year!

    • Thank you so much for sharing, Missy! It has been so nice to see the genuine reaction to this post and my feelings. Love my readers!!

      I’m sorry to hear you had a long and hard fall/holiday season…those renovations (and even small projects!) take a lot out of you, don’t they?! I hope you are at least able to enjoy the fruits of your labors in the New Year!

      Happy New Year to you and your family as well!
      Megan

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