For the Christmas Challenged.

My friends will tell you I’m kind of a freak.  They would tell you I’m an overachiever, that I rarely relax in social settings because I’m too focused on a perfect meal or perfect food.  They would tell you that I clean… compulsively.

They also wouldn’t recognize my home right now if they walked in it.

Christmas is a season that I go into overdrive in all areas.  Fancy Christmas cards, activities, gifts, etc. I think many of us do the same thing. We want every magical moment to be captured. If you have a child or children, this desire is compounded. You want to make the season as memorable and magical as possible.  There’s pressure from Pinterest and elves on shelves, Advent activity calendars and photos that are both unique and professional. You can either work yourself hard to make sure all these things are done well… or you find yourself quietly despairing over your lack of super mom-ness.

I find I usually do a combination of both.

I’m about to say something about this that is in direct conflict with my normal behavior:

It’s okay to skip it all. 

Really. It’s okay to have Christmastime “suck” this year.  It’s okay if you don’t do a single fancy thing for Christmas. Your kids won’t be scarred for life, I promise. If you don’t make Jesus a birthday cake, I don’t think He will mind. In fact, there’s a lot of birthday cakes to go around.  If you only do some take-and-bake cookies, you’re a step ahead of everyone else. Use bought frosting and prepackaged decorating kits and pat yourself on the back for doing anything at all.

Your kids won’t remember all the activities. They won’t care if you do one thing or twenty five.  Santa will hear their lists even if they don’t sit on his lap.  They will remember, however, being with you.  They’ll remember the overall love.

You know what I remember from childhood? Looking at Christmas lights with my parents and baking Christmas cookies with my grandma.  Just those two things. Both were because I was with people I love.  My dad rarely had time to spend with us, and that was one night we had him and Mom to ourselves.  We sang off-key Christmas carols and creepily drove up and down streets.  My grandmother would let us decorate cookies (while our parents snuck off to shop).

This year I’m kind of skipping it all.

I don’t feel very well right now and my only goal is to do a few fun things with Bluebelle. We look at Christmas lights every chance we get. We watch some Christmas movies. I let her have the tree plugged in 24/7 because she loves it. I plan to read to her the Advent story. There’s a lot of stuff we’re not doing this year… and I have to be okay with it.  I also remind myself that she is two and hardly at an age where I’m ruining her Christmas by not doing everything and then some.

I’m allowing grace this Christmas. That’s the gift I get. That’s the gift that matters. If there’s something going on in your life, it’s okay to skip it all too.  In fact, I recommend it. 🙂 The people who will remember and judge you for it aren’t people who really matter.  Those who love and know you will just be happy you’re surviving.

If you’re doing it all this year — congrats. I hope to join you again soon. Until then… could you bring me some cookies?

Are you doing it all, nothing, or something in between? 

More about April

3 thoughts on “For the Christmas Challenged.

  1. Kristy

    Great post. We are doing something in between. Decorating inside but not out. Not buying each other gifts but buying some for family. Christmas seems a little “off” this year. I fully know why but I am finding it hard to fully embrace. I’m giving myself Grace as well.
    Enjoy your low-key Christmas. Who knows, it may be the best yet.

  2. Sarah K

    Hi April! It was so awesome meeting you today!
    You are such a delight to listen to! 🙂
    I hope we have more future gatherings! I think your decision to skip all the craziness Christmas brings is totally okay! 🙂 It’s sometimes better that way.
    Anyway, enjoy your light christmas and hope you feel energized and refreshed after!

    My blog is at (since I didn’t have a business card! dun dun dun)

  3. Amanda E

    It’s true – we don’t have to do it all and we can still enjoy Christmas – ha! We have decorated but I’ve come to learn that sometimes it’s ok not to do everything. I get caught up in it all, especially since I’ve had Mallory but I know that I want Mallory to know the true meaning of Christmas and the birth of Jesus and not just know about all the extra “stuff.” Definitely puts it all into perspective when you try to see it through the eyes of a child. And I’ve told her to put down baby Jesus from the nativity scene many times already this year 🙂

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