Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Make It Stress-Free

Everyone knows the rush and worry of getting things ready for Christmas--make it easier on yourself by determining to ENJOY the season for a change. I've probably said this before, but it's when we slow down that we can refresh, refuel, relax--and enjoy. That's what my Regency Christmas Package is all about. (It's not just a book--with 39 bonuses, it's a whole package for you!)

If you're still new to the concept of a 19th century Christmastide, let me review: In the early part of the 19th century, the season of Christmas was more about
family and fun than gifts and giving. Sure, there was room for presents, and they did add to the fun, but they were just a small part. Focusing on the frenetic fifteen minutes or half hour of tearing into a pile of gifts is what gets us in trouble today. We spend an inordinate amount of time, money and energy preparing for that one *tiny* part of the holiday.

I'm not here to try and deprive you of that part of Christmas. It's still important. But I do want to help you with perspective, increasing the time spent in areas that will leave you feeling fulfilled and satisfied afterwards, not with the usual lament of All that effort--all that money--and they're still not happy!

(Believe me, I've been there, done that! I started Christmas shopping some years right after the holidays, beginning in January and going on until I felt I had "enough." Well, the definition of "enough" seemed to grow when I started early. By September I felt pretty much done with my family shopping and most of my friends, but I can't think of a single year when I didn't still get little extras right up until the big day. Little extras that add up to big expenditures. And all for fifteen to twenty minutes of chaotic present-opening. It's fun, too, of course, but it just isn't what it's all about!)

A 19th Century Christmastide, right in your own home, can bring a feeling of satisfaction unlike anything in a wrapped box. Here's the idea:

Decorate a little differently, making an effort to use as much live greenery as possible. This may mean waiting an extra week or two to put up a real tree, or real fir wreaths, real ivy and holly, etc. In my Christmas Book are instructions for making decorative sugarplums to beautify things even more. (Edible ones, too!)
It's a look that just can't be copied by artificial things, though the store-bought counterparts are lovely, too.

Next, download bunches and bunches of "Fireside Reading" and "Party Games"--both available in many shapes and sizes from the Christmas Package. Decide on a game or two, choose a story or two. (The choices are varied, and there's something for everyone, from "American Christmastides"--glimpses of the Yule Season back when the country was young--to "Tales of Wonder and Joy" [for kids from three to ninety-three]--and plenty others. You'll find much to interest you or any member of your family. For each 19th century night you want to have, pick something different.)

Before settling down before the fire or hearth (or wood-stove, or an arrangement of scented candles), prepare an authentic olde English recipe (choose from dozens available) such as mull'd cider, wassail, or negus; berry scones or English "biscuits"--or, use one of the many modern cookbooks that come with the Christmas Book, and treat your family to brand new mouth-watering delights.

Do you need my book to have a 19th Century night? No! You can take these ideas and adapt what you already own or have and make do just fine. Be sure to turn off lights (EXCEPT Christmas lights--they are one modern element that is worth keeping); and all noise. If it's a game night you're having,(using games from the book or a bonus book--not computer or video games) some light background music is acceptable. In the book, there are suggestions of period music for a more authentic experience, but you can choose any you like.

If you do get the package (which I've put at the very family-friendly price of only $14.95--less than a large pizza with toppings!--)you make things easier on yourself, and of course get to read all about a Regency Christmas. (What Jane Austen REALLY ate and Charles Dickens remembered.) PLUS the 39 downloads of stories, games, readings, cookbooks, candy-making, gift-giving, etc! You get old carols, ballads, poems and more. Customs, traditions, myth-busters, history, facts, and dozens of beautiful illustrations. I'm even throwing in a new children's coloring book for the littlest members to enjoy while you snuggle up with "Old English Christmases" or "A Puritan Christmas," (or many others).

Making room for just a few 19th century nights during December can change the way you feel about Christmas this year. Choosing just the right "Fireside Reading" can thrill your spirit and give you more Christmas joy than you've had in ages.


PS: It's a blessing for me and my family when I use the games, stories and recipes from the Christmas Book Package, and I know it will bless you and yours.

Here's a sample recipe from one of 458 pages of yummy treats (from just ONE of your 39 free downloads!)

New England Christmas Cookies

3/4 cup melted shortening
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup of sliced blanched almonds
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Cream sugar and melted ingredients. Beat eggs and add to creamed mixture. Sift together all dry ingredients and beat into dough. Stir in almonds. Form dough into small rolls and wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate overnight. Slice thin and bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE.

(If you slice very thin, you can have two or three with your favorite Christmas drink, coffee or tea, and still not go overboard on carbs. Just watch carefully during baking because they'll bake up fast.) Enjoy!

1 comment:

Karen and Chris said...

These ideas of a more simple Christmas are delightful. We'd love to link to this article on our site.
As co-authors of Save Our Sanity: The Christmas Calm Manual, your suggestions align very much with our own tips.
Our readers have also found it useful to take the earlier step that our book includes. We help frazzled parents (women especially) to look at their perspectives, traditions and expectations, identify what's not working and take action to make their own Christmas as joyous as it is for their loved ones!
Your readers may be interested in getting our Tips for Christmas Calm at our site http://www.SaveOurChristmasSanity.com