This blog post has been on my heart since early October. Actually this feeling, this need – better – this agreement with myself has been heavy on my mind since early October. That I absolutely refuse for this Christmas to leave me weary and ragged. But that’s up to me. Nobody else is setting my schedule. So I am responsible to reshape this awesome, but busy season for my family.
I’m a small business owner and a mama to two small kids. And I’m heavily involved in our youth ministry and now a college ministry, and church. Not to mention obligations to friends and family. Probably sounds a lot like your never ending list of beautiful blessings. But now, they all scream for equal attention this one time of year where we – in the best intentions – want to express our love and gratitude for all of these people in our lives.
I’m worried of being white noise out there – another blogger writing about remembering the most important things this Christmas. But I’ve tossled this idea around long enough because I think it is what all of our souls are screaming by the time Christmas week hits, is STOP! Just all of it, stop. So that’s what I’m deciding to do very early on this year. Stop the chaos before it begins and I’m knee deep in it.
Like I said, I’m a small business owner and part of stopping it all was saying no to creating a Christmas line this year. I LOVE Christmas, it’s my fav. But, I felt like I had been spinning my wheels for months. Actually, a solid 18 months and the thought of creating this line just wasn’t bringing me any excitement or joy. It’s been hard to see everyone’s beautiful and creative ideas all over social media thinking “I could have done something beautiful too!” But the sanity it brought my family I have decided is greater.
I also sat out a lot of the big sales (which conveniently happened while I was out of the country anyways) so that took the pressure off of me trying to worry about creating promotional material, making coupon codes or changing prices in my shop. Lots of hard work that normally I would be excited over, but would have been entirely overwhelming while traveling a zillion time zones away. I hated to not give my customers a big sale but then I realized, you know what? I’m the boss, this is my business and I can do an awesome big sale any old time I want, because I say so. So that’s exactly what I’m planning to do. Heck, what is so awesome about running your own business if you just follow the rest of the retail world’s rules and don’t just make your own sometimes?
We started decorating our new house for our first Christmas in it and everything in my little heart wanted to go all Joanna Gaines on it and start throwing the greenery, cotton and flannel everywhere I could. But I told myself to stop it. Stop. It. We used all our usual decorations, I picked up just a new garland since we actually have a real mantel for the first time in 10 years and that was that. I plan to take the kids on a nature walk one day and maybe clip a few pieces of greenery and gather some pine cones with them and place them around a bit but other than that, I’m just letting it be a simpler Christmas even in my decorating.
And the Christmas cards. Is it just me or does sending out mass mailings stress anyone else out? We simply didn’t have time in our schedule, or the budget this year for family photographs. Which, I could have gotten all upset over and been pouty when everyone else’s cards start rolling in, but really, it’s just not that important. They are beautiful and nice and I really adore them when we can do them, but honestly with social media, you all see enough of my family anyways. So that is one area I just let go of this time around.
All the gifts and parties and service projects are amazing. But why don’t you take some time now and decide, If I’m going to really have the Christmas I want, the slow meaningful one I must say no to some things. Last year I did an Instagram post a day of scripture writing that led up to Christmas, I loved how it focused my heart, and I had so many people tell me how they joined along and it really encouraged them. So naturally I’ll do it again, right?! No. Even really wonderful things must be told no sometimes. I’ll probably put it out there as an option this year but otherwise it will be just for me, and not a cloud of guilt hanging over my head to get it done.
I’m just reaching for peace in my home, being present for my kids and husband and making room for Jesus this Christmas season. So my husband and I came up with a few small traditions we like to do every year and that is ALL we will do. Pinterest, I love you for so many reasons, but these lists of “25 Christmas Memories For Your Family” have got to go. Those should be renamed, “25 Ways To Physically and Emotionally Run Down Your Family Until You All Hate Christmas.” So needless to say, our list of must-do traditions is nowhere near 25.
Plan, yes, plan lots of days of NOTHING! Physically leave specific days open just for rest or hanging around with the family. It allows space for simple joys, growth for your relationships and recharges everyone’s batteries in a busier than normal season. Say no to some things because you know it will produce more peace in your home.
Finally, I want to prepare room for Jesus. I’m aiming to be very intentional this Christmas in my time alone with Jesus. Just me and Him. I want to take in my portion of His word daily. I want to sit and savor the grace He has shown to come down to us, sinners, sit in our mess with us then rescue us from it. I want to have prayers that lead into song that lead into silence. I want to worship. Can you taste the goodness that is in moments like this? I can, and I’m excited. And from that overflow I want to sit with my kids and teach them the same as we go through a very simple but intentional advent plan with them. To turn their focus on Jesus, the excitement of His coming and to bless others.
I just feel this draw inwards in my heart, a pull towards home and being there for my people. To the quiet. So we will go with my word for this year SIMPLE and make a very simple Christmas for us. I hope as we start this awesome, fun, joyous month of celebrating our Savior, you also look for what you can stop doing and start savoring in its place! I bet if You and I are intentional about this, we won’t be sorry come January how we spent our December.
“The battle for our hearts are fought on the pages of our calendars.” -Bob Goff