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Holiday Hush

Holidays are hard. Whether you love them or hate them, they are coming.

I love the holidays, I truly do, but even with my love for them, I find them exhausting.

Winning the lottery is technically a good thing, but it can be destructive if you do not manage the stress of it.

The holidays can be like that. All the food, all the family, all the traveling, all the invitations, all the baking, all the wrapping; all inherently good things, yet it can be stressful.

I am a home body, but I also love people. These two things conflict for me during the holidays. I love being with my family and friends, but I also suffer when my schedule is out of sync. Naps and bedtime routines get up ended and the kids become overwhelmed and exhausted. I love my family, but even my favorite members start to rub raw when their proximity has been all up in my business without a break for several days on end.

I think this year I am maybe even a little more aware of this. With a one year old and a two year old in the house, naps and bedtime are lifelines. Toddlers are a constant presence, with no breaks, no room to breathe, so the added pressure of being in a full house feels a bit suffocating to me.

The best thing I can do for myself this year is to prepare. To hold tight to my Yes's so that I do not stretch myself too thin. To take the time to sit in the quiet and set my perspective right before jumping into my day. I am learning to put myself first and then last.

I have begun waking up before anyone else (and I hate mornings, despise them, it goes against my very nature) but if I have a chance to sit and breathe for twenty minutes before anyone needs me, it gives me the time to appreciate the world around me. I can appreciate the quiet, the time alone, and then when I wake the rest of the house, I am prepared to give them my best… most days.

The other thing I have been doing is minimizing all of the gift buying. I keep an eye out throughout the year for gifts. I either buy it when I see it or write it down in my bullet journal so I can get it later. This makes the gifts more intentional, something I think they would really love rather than purchasing something generic just so there is a gift under the tree.

For several years now, we have kept gift giving minimal in our house, both for monetary reasons and to keep the focus off of the gifts. My kids get one or two presents from us, but for them the most exciting part is going to see all the family at each of the holiday get togethers.

It's easy to talk about keeping the holidays simple, but practicing it is hard. It is so easy to get swept up in the gravitational pull of the lights, presents, and fanfare. Jesus came quietly in the most subdued celebration. He came to save us from all the crazy, so remembering him by causing a manic fuss seems a bit ironic and misplaced.

I am going to take a deep breath tomorrow as we roll into December. I am going to remind myself that it's ok to say no and it's ok to say yes, whatever is right for me and my family. I will keep my expectations well within reason, because unmet expectations are the killer of joy.

It's the small things that are saving me these days. Here's a few ideas if you are looking for a way to pull yourself out of the holiday funk.

* Here's a great post on scheduling in space to breathe during the holidays.

* Every business in this holiday gift guide gives back, so you can feel good while checking presents off your list.

* I just listened to this podcast yesterday and her guest literally wrote the book on finding quiet time in the morning! I will have to check it out.

* This commercial will make you ugly cry and remind you to spend time with the people you love.

* This is how I juggled the holidays last year.

*We are going to try to do this advent calendar this year, but there will be a lot of grace for days we will inevitably miss.

Have a beautiful holiday season filled with love dear friends. Hang on tight to you sanity, give yourself grace, and live life well.

With love,

This is the season of Advent, the season in which we reflect on the birth of Christ and anticipate His return. There is no better news. The God who made us, the God we’ve run from, the God we’ve di...


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