Tuesday, December 17, 2013

5 Ways Not To Spoil Your Joy This Christmas.

I love Christmas time. I love everything that goes along with it! They busyness, the food, family, even the shopping. I love going into the stores and seeing all the decorations and the crowds.

I wish Christmas were in the middle of January.
That way we could have a few extra weeks to enjoy all the festivities!

We as women tend to raise our expectation bar pretty high this time of year...
Causing us much self-inflicted stress.

Especially after flipping through a new magazine or a viewing session on Pinterest.

Who wants to go through this Blessed season feeling like they don't have it all together?
Not me! and I'm sure you don't either. So here we go...5 ways to not let your joy be spoiled.

1. Calm Down
Jane wrapped presents...so beautifully...even used real 14k gold in the ribbon!
Clara baked cookies with organic sugar from a cane she scraped and grated in her own kitchen!
Susan is on the train right now headed into the city to carol and play the french horn to the homeless.
...and Lola, she is raising reindeer to prance on her roof this Christmas Eve.
{Shhh!...don't tell the children}

Let's go through this list, shall we?
It's sort of like the Proverbs 31 woman...she didn't do every single thing at the exact same time!
Jane ONLY wrapped presents. Clara ONLY baked cookies. and Lola...whatever!

So often we read blogs. scour the internet and find all these fantastic ideas...
but don't realize they are individual.

Instead we see them as a whole..all these great ideas lumped into one overwhelming Christmas season.
Then we feel inadequate. We think everyone else is doing ALL of these things, when they're really not. Calm down and do one thing...or one thing at a time.

2. Stay Focused

Make a list of the things that are most important to you and your family.
If you're a parent, ask your children what their favorite traditions are.
Only focus on those..anything else that comes up...save it for next year.
Eliminate something you're doing that isn't as important and replace it with the new idea.
Stick to the list!

3. What Are You Doing?
I didn't ask "What aren't You Doing?"
Don't beat yourself up over all that you're not doing and be happy about all that you are!
Your children aren't the social networkers or the magazine readers....you are.
They don't care about what they are missing as much as you think they do.
Honestly..they probably don't even know.

Children are happy just spending time with a happy and content you!

{cookies ^^made by my friend Jenny...talk about feeling like an inadequate sugar cookie baker!}

4. Little Things - Big Deal
Make the little things into a big deal.
In our house...we wrap presents...I bet you do too.
My kids think it's an event. Why? Because I present it as such.

I write "Wrap Presents" all pretty on a 3x5 notecard...they pull it from our advent calendar.
Don't have an advent calendar?...lay the card on the table..
Tell them to flip the card because there is a surprise written on the other side.

Don't have a card? Write on a piece of paper on your refrigerator door.
Hang up a new paper once a week, twice a week, three times a week! with something to do on it.
Nothing fancy..it can be as simple as popcorn and a Christmas movie!

They will look forward to that piece of paper, ask for it next year and talk about it for years to come!

Make the ordinary special.
Even if it's something you were going to do anyway.

5. Be Yourself
We don't decorate gingerbread houses like the rest of the world.
We have our traditions, other people have their own

Your traditions, what you do is what makes your family special and unique.
Your kids are going to want to have their own little story to tell when they grow up!

Make the holiday season fit your family...don't try and make your family fit into the holiday season.

We're celebrating the birth of Christ.
That is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember! Everything else is less important.
If all you do is celebrate Jesus...that is enough.
That's what He wants most anyway... :)

{our tree this year....covered in ornaments from my great grandmother's childhood..
and old pearls from my mom}

Don't stress when you see all those pretty pretty handmade stockings and pillows.
You can't do everything...remember...Anthropologie has a whole staff of women working over there! ;)

Remember....Make the simple and ordinary special...because it is. :)


  1. So often I forget that it's the simple things that the kids love! We have 2 weeks of Christmas vacation, I want to do something things with them but I'm afraid I'll burn out after the first one. I need to keep reminding myself that "Simple is good enough!"

    Love your tree!!

  2. "Anthropologie has a whole staff of women . . ."
    so true.

    Now I want sugar cookies darn it. Not to make with my family, but just to eat, preferably alone when no one else knows how much of a mess it'll all be.

    You're so right though. It's important to do YOUR OWN stuff and not worry as much about getting everything exactly right. I say focus on what you love to do, and the kids will be happy because you're happy. I think you're right about that. Their level of contentment and feeling that this was a special year comes from how they see mom and dad react to it. If you act like it sucked, then they'll take that away, but if you loved it, they'll remember that.

    You're so wise, Liz. :D

  3. Sage advice, ma'am. Especially making a big deal out of little things.

  4. great reminders. this has been the best Christmas season i've ever had as a mom. all of that with a kind of new baby, and my husband working two jobs. but it's been good because i went into it with almost no expectations. i was expecting it to be really hard. but i laid out a plan at the beginning of the month of what we were going to do to celebrate and kept it VERY realistic. i said no to the other stuff. it's been a blast. we kept the most important traditions, and got rid of the rest. instead of it being an extra stressful Christmas like i though it would be... it's been extra good.

  5. This is SO GOOD, Liz!! This Christmas I've enjoyed the whole season more than ever before ~ and it exactly because of doing what you are saying... Here, we do pre-made gingerbread houses but not sugar cookies. We do lots of days and evenings at home, but we make it special. Like you said, each family has to know what is right for them. And what freedom when we realize we don't have to have a house that looks like ANYONE else's... and that Anthropologie has a whole team working full-time on design. :) That was a great line! Love this. Love YOU!

  6. So Good. I struggled so much as a young mom with this sort of thing. Wanting to do it all! It is so important to enjoy the activities, much more than doing everything. I especially like writing on the paper and making things an event :-)
    Love your tree. I am an vintage ornament kind of gal. Ours are old bulbs and homemade ornaments...just about each one has a story.
    We will be extending the Christmas season with the kids all here from Dec. 27-Jan 3. I think we will take a survey to see what is important to everyone to do.

  7. Love this :-) It is so true. I am really spacing out Christmas fun this year and it has helped so much. I did my baking a week early so when the kids are home from school we can do our sugar cookies and not be so tired. We are just getting our Christmas tree today b/c we have been busy the past two weekends. Instead of forcing it into an already busy weekend we are putting it up later then normal.

    You are right - the kids just want to spend good quality time with us not have a "perfect" Christmas.

  8. Aww...your tree is so sweet. beautiful. Sully wanted to sleep by our tree after we got it decorated. I thought it was cute. I've let him do it once so far but not on a school night.

    Merry Christmas Dear Friend!!

  9. ... and now i'm thinking, "my tree sucks compared to liz's!!!!!"

  10. haha. kidding. although it does look very much like the anthro women helped you out. ;))

    love your list. and most of all, your sweet gracious spirit that i know lives what you write!

    you inspire me, friend.
    and today - i needed the inspiration especially much !!

    love ya.

  11. Love this, Liz! Thank you! You inspire me, my dear friend....love u! Merry Christmas!

  12. Great list. Number one is the one I need to remember most. I've also needed to remind myself that some years I can manage more than other due to health or circumstances. I need to be happy with what I can do now and be okay with that not being as much as what I used to do.

  13. Elizabeth, just found this and really resonated with it. Lovely post & very necessary reminders for the season <3