11.25.2014

dialing it back



Thank you all so much for the beautiful comments you left on all my wedding posts.  I am so grateful to have readers that are so into details.  Not a single thing went unnoticed by you.  You are wonderful, wonderful friends.

So now that the wedding has come and gone in a split second it's on to the holidays right?  The last couple of days I've found myself getting angry while driving because the traffic has been so ridiculous.  It's not even Thanksgiving and the shopping centers are packed and it seems as if the worst drivers in the world are on the loose.  The Canadians have it right putting Thanksgiving in early October.  It's all just too much.

So in an effort to dial it way back I'm swearing off any and all retail centers for the holidays.   I will go to the market and will make a trip to the yarn store but that is it.  I don't know of any other way to avoid the crowds and the marketing b.s.  I think my family will be okay with knit scarves for Christmas. They are all grown and really need nothing so a handmade present will be nice.  Anything home baked is good too.

The image I chose for this post really says it all to me.  What else is needed?  A little food, a few friends or family and you are set.  I really think pulling off a wedding for 100 people in just 2 weeks really put things into perspective for me.  How much hype is put into the planning of things?  How much hype is put into making things perfect.  I've fallen for it for years myself.  I'm ready for a change, are you?



62 comments:

  1. Good for you. My shopping is limited this year and I don't mind. We live in a small town so it's very easy to shop local without huge crowds. And I order my books online if I can't find them here. But I hear you on paring back - it is just nice to hang with family without a huge fuss, isn't it? Happy thanksgiving!

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  2. I thought about that too -- the Canadians celebrating Thanksgiving in October and wouldn't that be nice! However, IMO, it would just give us about six weeks MORE of holiday preparations! And then there is the whole Black Friday thing!
    Good for you -- thing scarves and home baked would be great presents. We all need to get more simple for Chrsitmas.

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  3. Knitting scarves for Christmas sounds like a good idea. I used to knit all the time and now my boys are older that they are curious about knitting. I was just thinking about making scarves for them :) This year I'm going to ask my in laws to let me take an online photography course for Christmas. I'm a big fan of exchanging experiences (theater tickets, restaurant gift certificates etc.) rather than materials. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Janet xx

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  4. I agree with you about homemade presents. Financially pressured what you can't afford. Charging too. Been there. Now its more thoughtful gifts. Geez, think of the cost of a wedding. Pay off bills, maybe a down payment on a house. I think your sons wedding was perfect. Have a scrumptious Thanksgiving with your family and friends. Suppose to be nice in Cali. Like here in Az, Kathleen

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  5. love love love your wedding photos and everything about it
    just a note to say hi
    xo k

    ps homemade always is appreciated

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  6. My thoughts exactly Janet! I have just spoken to my daughter re Christmas presents. Again, as in previous years. I'm called the Christmas Grinch every time I bring it up. The traffic, The noise .I hate it.
    It's not the "giving" I'm against, I just hate the commercialisation of it all. It's like ...spend, spend, spend. Go crazy!
    But, we are a sentimental lot and in the end it is lovely to give and to receive. Every year it's the same quandary for me.
    Sigh...Linda C.

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  7. The reason we Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving earlier than Americans is that we party harder than you guys and it takes us all this time to recuperate from the festivities! And that's the real secret to why we celebrate it earlier. ;)

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    1. Lol! That's right, Lisa. We're a bunch of party animals ;)

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  8. You bet I am! Let's not fall for the b.s. this year.

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  10. Thanksgiving for us in Canada is the most relaxed day. All the stores close the night before (by 8 pm) and do not open until the day after Thanksgiving at 8. Families have time together. There is zero retail component. Most people pick branches with pretty leaves and candles and there is no pressure to have the house decorated.

    This year I am having Thanksgiving in the US too with a large group of neighbors who call themselves the "orphans". Not that they don;t have family, they choose to stay local, stay out of family conflict, or just want to gather with friends. We are all cooking madly and doing potluck. I am nominated for dessert. I have discovered that Americans love PIE....all requests are pies.

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    1. I recently saw on the Internet a hilarious video of people in England saying what they thought American Thanksgiving was all about. Most noted that it had something to do with football and lots of pie. Very cute!

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  12. Great post. Keep reminding me of this!

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  13. I've been wobbling between buying shiny things for my loved ones and making something meaningful. I just decided to make this change with you! *Raised right hand* I commit to avoid distracting crowds and shiny new things and concentrate on making my loved ones feel special. Love is easier to dispense unwrapped and open-handed anyway :) --Esther

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  14. I read your comments aloud to skye guy and he said that it sounds very familiar as he hears me saying this all the time.
    Like Linda C. said - it's not the giving, it's thinking that more things will make someone happier.
    Thanksgiving is our favourite holiday because it's all about being thankful for the family hanging together and the prepping, cooking, eating and enjoying the FOOD and the people we love.
    ~skye

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  15. I've always wondered why we celebrate Thanksgiving in October...and we don't have the shopping right after but we do have boxing day which is the day after Christmas and that is as close as we get to Black Friday...although I have seen some recent ads for Black Friday here locally.
    I love homemade gifts...we buy toys, books and clothes for the grandchildren.
    The adults don't fuss much about gifts...
    Mr. HB and I do "Santa Sacks" which are filled with small things wrapped in tissue...books, toiletries, candles, teas etc.
    I am looking through my cookbooks for Christmas recipes to make hostess gifts as I like to bring something with me when we are invited out...homemade marmalade, jams and spiced nuts are always well received.

    Enjoy your relaxed Thanksgiving Janet.

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  16. Oh Janet thank God I'm not the only person getting angry when driving... it doesn't happen very often but when it does it's not pretty! I still remember the first time I heard my Mom curse at someone behind the wheel. Except she did it so politely. :)

    I'm with you, I hate the crowds! I drove by Trader Joe's yesterday thinking I would stop in but I pretty much knew beforehand that there would be no place to park. (there wasn't) I decided I will go on Friday instead when it's a ghost town.

    I will probably make one trip to the mall with my daughter to do the bulk of our shopping but honestly it's mainly an excuse to hang out with her. Some of my shopping will be on line. Overall though we don't go nuts on gifts, at our age do we really need more stuff? I am buying myself a Vitamix for Christmas but it's only because I will get it on sale and I have close to $400.00 in credit card rewards that I have been saving all year. But that is something at least I will use every day.

    More than anything, I just want to spend time with the family. And eat good food of course!

    Linda
    xo

    P.S. I've had a great couple months on eBay...sold $550 in the last 2 months. :) About 50 transactions since I started in March! So glad I took the plunge.


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  17. It's nice to see like minded people here. Being retired has resulted in my feeling much more relaxed about the holidays since I have time to do the parts I enjoy..cooking, putting up the tree, making some simple gifts. When we lived in Canada last century, everything was closed from Saturday noon until Monday and it was a sanctuary, like a big sigh at the end of the week. I keep thinking about the happiness quotient of people who have less versus over stressed urbanites who "have it all" and want more more more.

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  18. Hi Janet, you are preaching to the choir. I could not agree more with all the commercialism. What happened to Thanksgiving? its so understated. If we didn't have an 11 yr old, our holidays would be so low key as well.

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  19. Happy to hear you are also a knitter :)
    The season from November to January is all about family for us, no matter whether we are celebrating birthdays, St. Martin's day (goose, yum!), St. Nicholas (Dec. 6th) or Christmas - it's people and food. I used to have expectations but managed to let go of them pretty well :) This weekend is my 50th and we will be 17 people in the mountains - that's all that really counts!
    Sadly, I even saw an ad for Black Friday over here in Europe (where it means nothing!) just pushing for consumerism and looking for an excuse. Ugh.

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  20. I love the festivities, but I'm perfectly happy with a casual setting. It's all about the people and the food for me, everything else is secondary. That said, I do love a beautifully decorated home and dressed table - it's eye candy!

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  21. Just four of us this year...thankfully. I do not know how my mom and aunt did big holidays every year. I had a good chuckle about going to the yarn shop. You made it sound like you would just get what you needed...some of 'us' have an addiction to yarn. That, or it just follows us home. LOL

    I totally hear you on the traffic. OMGoodness! And they are still working on Redlands/Alabama. I was over there the other day and it was still one lane on both sides. Who's crazy idea was that to still be working on it during the holidays? We live over by the University and have noticed some folks just going through the four way stops...who needs to stop, right? Patience folks, patience. Nice to hear others wanting to make gifts. I had to do that as a single mom for 17 years, that now it is just second nature. So much so, that if someone does get a store bought gift I am asked if I had been ill?

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
    blessings, jill

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  22. The usual spot-on post from you. Before I forget, a Happy Thanksgiving to you, Janet. Happiest.

    Don't you just love the pristine, clean look of a plain white plate; only thing my husband will eat off of...

    I agree with you about the shopping. I have a blogger-friend in the Azusa/Glendora area who was mentioning how rude people were in the grocery stores the past couple of days; no patience; under too much stress, probably. SO not the point of the holiday...

    I couldn't even believe how many people were at the post office today nearing closing time at 5pm; the line was literally out the door. Why? Is everybody just on vacation this week, so more people are out on the street I guess?

    So, I don't have everything I want for the Thanksgiving dinner but I'm not about to go into the stores now, so will improvise. I like the standard peas as a side but will go with brussels sprouts instead because that's what in the freezer. Will plan better/earlier for the Christmas sit-down, that's for sure.

    Janet, I had an encounter with a cow. I was driving in an industrial area, only car on the road, and a gigantic steer came loping right at my car in the middle of the 2-lane asphalt road. I blinded him with my headlights. Dumbfounded, I realized there's a small slaughterhouse nearby and he'd escaped as they were loading him from a trailer. I cannot forget...ever...the bewildered, frightened eyes. As a 'beast,' he was magnificent. I have a really small car and I do believe he was taller than the roof of my car and that's no lie. "Run!" I thought silently. He eventually moved to the side of the road but he had nowhere to go; just urban ugliness, chain-linked in. So, he just stood there; dignified and still. I heard later they shot him. I've been upset every day since. I've backslid many times on eating meats; it's been my influence and background with meat-eating relatives. I'm supposed to be on a plant-based diet anyway due to cancer. This was the final cure for me. I am not preaching this to anyone. My husband's feeling is that these beefs are raised to feed people; he grew up with farmers. But, for my own Thanksgiving, I will try your squash chili...

    It's so cool that you know how to knit. It would be lovely to be the recipient of a lovingly-stitched, handmade scarf. I have lost my entire first family by now...holidays are very hard...and I curled up yesterday in one of Mom's crocheted afghan throws. Makes me feel close to her, safe and warm, like her arms are wrapped around me.. What better gift, no? I can't stand to hear the word Black Friday. They can have it!

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    1. Vicki,
      I have a bit of the blues because of being several states away from my 1st family at Thanksgiving, once again. No kids here this year either, but I am made of strong stuff and I will push through and make it a lovely Thanksgiving for my husband and myself anyway. I hope yours will be full of pleasant moments-lets look for the unexpected beauty in the day! To everyone here, a very blessed beginning to the holiday season.

      Janet, thanks for creating such a warm and comfortable spot for all of us here!

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    2. Oh Vicki, so very sorry about your lost. My mom is still alive, though she has dementia. She recently started introducing herself to me...I knew the day would come where she probably would not remember me, just was not really for it.

      I do hope you and your husband have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Brenhna.
      blessings, jill

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    3. Such kindness. Thank you. Both. (Also Janet). And to you happy times as well...making it happen and much for which to be grateful.

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    4. vicki the story of the runaway steer brings tears to my eyes. how many times have you driven down the road and passed the huge semi trucks full of cattle and you make eye contact with one. their big soulful eyes are just too much to bear. that's why i cannot bring myself to eat meat again. they deserve better.

      i lost my mom several years ago to alzheimers so i know that heartbreak too jill.

      and brenhna i love your words of wisdom. we are strong and it's just one day, just another day really, to get through and lets all seek tranquility and beauty where we can.

      happy thanksgiving to you all. xo

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  23. I've enjoyed "the change" for a few years now! Highly recommend it :)

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  24. Hear hear! I couldn't have putting better myself.
    Happy Thanksgiving - a celebration that seems so much more relevant and kinder than Xmas, i wish we did it! x

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  25. Couldn't agree more! Happy Thanksgiving!

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  26. I agree! The whole business of sending each other into debt to give those we care about what they really don't need is the antithesis of what the holidays should be about. Janet, they'll love those handmade knit scarves!

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  27. Well said!! Yes, I am so ready for a change!! Hope you have a great Thanksgiving. We seem to have lots to be thankful for. I am so thankful to just have enough. Sometimes having enough is what we need. Have a wonderful holiday season! And thanks for the peek into your life, which is so fun and different than mine!

    Lisa in Fort Worth

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  28. I'm totally ready for a change!! And have made it. I've been knitting gifts, and ordered two things online. I was born and raised in Canada and can attest to the better timing of Thanksgiving.
    Frankly it's not just the retail stores. The mass consumerism driving our society is really starting to drive me crazy!! Of course that's not a long trip:).
    Shopping has become a hobby and obsession for many, which is unhealthy in my mind.
    Enjoy your Thanksgiving!
    xoJennifer

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  30. I deleted and am revising my comment. As I thought about this post, one's mind is bound to wonder dicing 21 pounds of carrots and polishing football fields of silver, I think I actually am in your book. Just on a different page in another chapter. My holiday obsession and push isn't about retail at all. Occasionally I will buy gifts if I see something I know someone will love. My family cut out gift giving as an institution a few years ago. We're a family of business owners, so surging through the recession was priority #1. My grandpa still gives gifts, but that's because he wants to see us enjoy his money while he's here (sounds macabre, but it's really very nice). My grandma loved gifts so much and would literally be moved to tears by tic tacs wrapped with a big bow. Now that she can't be here, it seemed empty to open gifts on Christmas without her sitting there opening for hours, weeping sweetly with gratitude. My mom wasn't sure she could even face Christmas. I thought a lot about it and decided my family needed to keep moving forward, but with totally new traditions. We consolidated our two night festival into one blow out dinner. I'm so glad I pushed the whole family into it. It is a great party and we all genuinely enjoy the time together. Even though I'm sure everyone bitches about me on the way here. That being said, I love the lavish and outrageous nature of the holidays. My favorite times are the times spent preparing and planning. Perhaps it's because it brings out a rarely-seen optimistic side of me! All of this came into focus for me this morning when I got my coffee. They're going to be open 24 hours tomorrow, and I'm disgusted. I'll be making my coffee at home. Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks for inspiring me to reflect and evaluate. Now I'm off to cracking the whip on my mother to make her finish our Thanksgiving tablecloth and barricade myself in the kitchen with a case of Pinot Grigio.

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  31. I couldn't agree with you more !

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  32. You are speaking to my heart! I plan on doing just the same this year. Cheers to you Janet!

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  33. If I could move a holiday, I'd move Christmas to January. The weather would be worse, but we need something bright and cheery in the middle of the January blah and blech.

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  34. YES, I'm ready for a change to a simpler, slower way for all things - HOLIDAYS included!! It's all blown out of proportion - it's all way too much! Family, food, board games and Christmas movies for us! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

    Laura

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  35. I'm completely on your side Janet.

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  36. I am with you, girl. We ate at a mall restaurant last Sunday and all said that it was our last trip to a store until after Christmas. We just give the under 21's a gift and they get money or gift cards toward some big item that they need (my niece is studying drama in London so we got her play tickets). We adults just exchange favorite homemade foods or occasionally we give something that the person has admired like a pair of earrings or a family heirloom. We love Christmas and exchanging token gifts, but we would rather give something much loved or needed.

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  37. Amen! It has all gotten so commercialized. People get mean this time of the year and it is so sad.

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  38. You are so right! Thank you for the reminder. Happy Thanksgiving! :)

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  39. I agree with you 100%! If we stop to think and be grateful for what we have, do we really need more stuff? I personally don't. We don't need the added stress or drama. Do we need to stuff all the extra food in our mouths just for the sake of tradition? We need more kindness and consideration towards others. Thanksgiving has become 'the biggest food day of the year' followed by 'the biggest shopping day of the year'. Too much! Your photo for this post looks so simple and peaceful. Thank you for sharing it. Janet, I'm grateful for your blog/online friendship. I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!

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  40. Dearest Janet, I am so thankful for your friendship and all the wisdom and thoughts you share here. We are long overdue for that coffee on the porch date. :) Thank you for being a special friend.

    I wish you a kind and gentle thanksgiving, full of many many good things. ♥

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  41. A perfect holiday is a peaceful home and sharing a meal with people you love. It isnt found at any mall. Happy Thanksgiving!!

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  42. Yes! Yes! Yes! Let us know how your season goes, and Happy Thanksgiving!

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  43. Hi Janet...your post was great so I came back to read the comments too. I love that an intelligent, chic, lovely person such as yourself, says she's going to "dial back" just as the holiday machine begins to ramp up. I'm with you...if you read my post "A Day in November" you will see that I am feeling much the same way. This season is just too much and as a quiet, reflective person by nature, I want to slow down, experience kindness, gentleness and peace and have experiences instead of stuff. I want to touch hands instead of communicate on social media, and I want the chance to really say what's in my heart. Donna from alovelyinconsequence.blogspot. Thank you!

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    1. I read you all the time. Glad Janet added you to her faves here. But I'd read you even before that; your blog is soulful!

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  44. I WANT to say I am in the minority here, I guess, b/c I love, love, love it all. The traffic, the shopping, the music in stores, the happy faces, the excited grands. That said, I have used the same white plates and beautiful turquoise and fall color napkins for years for Thxgiving dinner and still love them, so I guess I am not splurging there. Doing two small sit downs, today and Saturday, so not overboard on food. Have begun a bit of holiday shopping as I like to shop the "deals" and will stack coupon codes, etc., to get the best prices (its a fun challenge!), probably about 25% done at this point, so shopping smart. Loving all the sparkle in some decorations this year and woodland themes for others, but I will use my beautiful vintage theme ornaments on my 31 year old artificial tree (yup....love this thing) and mantle pieces in my new (to me) little fixer ranch. I guess what I am saying is....I my wee little mind I love all the glitz and glam of the holidays, the hustle and bustle, the shopping, the finding a gem that I know someone will love so I THINK I don't agree, but in reality, I already have what I love, the "items" I return to use every year b/c they give me pleasure, and am learning that I while I THINK I am all about new and updated, I'm really just a vintage/traditional girl at heart. Soooooo on your side even though I feel like I'm not! Grateful that you all keep me coming back to read about Janet and her commenting friends. We are like-minded souls for sure.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you ALL!
    fourhens

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  45. I have run the gamut from dreading and hating Christmas (bad memories) to learning to love it and going way overboard. I think I have finally found the balance that I need to enjoy every moment without stressing or overspending. I also "dialed it back" in my own way. I take a trip to Boston to shop, visit my sons and take in the holiday decorations. I so look forward to the trip. My house is simply decorated with only those holiday trimmings that I absolutely love. My extended family decided last year to limit gifts to the grandchildren and we all relish watching their excitement as they open the gifts at the family party.

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    1. you know kristien that's exactly what i'm looking for, the balance. i've done the same as you. like Lor, i do love the music and happy faces but it's the massive commercialism that leaves me feeling empty. i'm really happy with the idea of making presents this year so i'm hoping that will help me find my balance. x

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  46. We have started a tradition, rather accidentally. We go away for Christmas. It's just to the coast, which is 2.5 hours drive for us but so worth it. We do put up the tree, the stockings and decorate the railing with lit garland. The Nativity scene I have goes in the front eyebrow window and I love it, with a little battery operated candle. The dining table gets a few items as well but that is all. I really scaled back on what I have out. Going away means comfy clothes and go with the flow. Mostly, we spend the days walking the dogs on the beaches and eating yummy food. Nothing traditional for us. And we have a young son but he seems happy with the arrangements. We do gifts but kept it small, even for our son. After a catastrophic Thanksgiving 3 years ago, we scaled back and it's just the 3 of us now. I realized I had to set boundaries. I admit I am somewhat of a simple living type and I don't like a lot of people in my home. I just never was an entertainer at home. I will gladly go visit or meet at a restaurant but I like my home to be my home. As I get older, I just am honoring what works for me.

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    1. i love that you are doing what works best for you and your family. i love it!

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  47. Love every part of this! We are doing it simple this year. Going to a cabin in the hills where there is no TV and no wifi. Cooking, spending time with family and friends, playing board games, popping popcorn. Did a simple tree this year also, real with only white lights and piece of burlap for a skirt. Love the wedding photos, thank you Janet for sharing it all.

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  48. thought i had left a comment but i'll try again.
    in today's world, it seems we are always all about "the next" and "the latest" - so often just gathering to share a simple meal or some sort of morsel can suddenly be really what life is all about. to gather. to share.
    dialing it back or dialing it forward. carry on dear. you are amazing.
    pve

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  49. Love it all, Janet! So nice to see the happy couple beaming with smiles from ear to ear.

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kindness is never out of style.