Stay Calm and Holiday On

P1160066Life comes at each of us fast and furious and it is hard to take it all in.  Today I am finding it to be one of those days when I realize that each and every moment counts.  I live in a little bubble sometimes—-isolated and protected from the outside world, oblivious to the distractions and going ons of the rest of the world.   I try to be aware but I know that my world is very far removed from the world that others live in.

The holiday rush is upon us and I, like many, am trying to keep calm and steadfast in my resolve that the holidays will not own me.  I want to enjoy each moment and not be overwhelmed by preparations and to do lists.  But it is so hard.  There are decorations to put out and I feel the pull of the neighborhood as all of the other houses on our cul de sac have outdoor Christmas lights.  Our house has simple garland, wreaths and bows with no outlandish light displays.  When someone asked directions to our house the other day I told them to look for the one that looked like Grinches lived there.   Our decorations pale in comparison but you know what?  I am okay with that.

The cookies are almost all baked, the presents are purchased but in piles in my office, the Christmas cards are on the kitchen table ready to be labeled and stamped.  But wait—I still have to buy the stamps, don’t I?  Another thing to put on the list.

We have no parties to go to this season but I did take in a delightful performance of The Nutcracker and we will go to a fabulous choral concert this weekend featuring Una Vocis—-a local group with amazing talent.

I am trying to focus on being calm this season.

Embracing the moments as they arrive.

Savoring each card that makes its way into our mailbox.

Smiling as I shovel yet another shovelful of that white stuff we call snow.

Pausing to take the time to be appreciative of all that we have been blessed with.

Making a point of having tea in the afternoon and a little sit down time to reflect.

Trying to give all the cares on my heart over to God.

Preparing my heart for the coming celebration of the Nativity.

It’s all about the calm for me this year.

What about you?



  1. My work ends tomorrow when I’m looking forward to getting caught up. No tree, no decorations, no baking yet…but thank goodness I have a delicious nonscheduled week next week.

    • A non scheduled week sounds fabulous and just the ticket for being able to get ready. I just think we get too frenzied at this time of year. It is so much better to be more laid back about things, in my humble opinion.

  2. I comment because of your cause and I’m commenting because I feel a kinship with your post! Still we have no tree, but we need to get that. Presents are purchased, but I don’t wrap until next week. Still much to do and time is whittling away! Keep the calm! ♥

  3. I love your outlook, Beth Ann! It really can get out of hand in a hurry, even when the best intentions have been set. Thank you for guiding me back to my intentions, before I find myself completely derailing. As for you decorations, they sound lovely! I always finds the simplest decorations to be the most charming. I guess it’s all in how you decorate your heart that really matters ~

    • Carol, Thanks so much! It has taken me a few years to get here and it also helps that we don’t have little ones at home OR that I have a job that is stressing me out. So many pressures on so many people at this time of year and it can turn into such a harried time. I really do want to enjoy it all….calm…calm..calm!

  4. Simply excellent advice. I’m pretty calm right now as I don’t go all out with the baking and decorating. No tree here yet. Nothing outside decorating the house. But then only one house nearby has lights.

    Cards are all sent. The gifts I have are wrapped.

    I expect my stress will kick in at the end of next week when I have food to prepare for two back-to-back family gatherings.

    My focus now is being joyful about the son arriving home from Boston next Wednesday evening. I cannot wait. And then on Friday, all of us together for one evening. Pray for good weather and travel.

    • I will pray for good weather for you all! I know what you mean about being joyful. I am going to focus on that every single day. I think it helps that I am not working in a job where there is so much going on around this time—a church is definitely a stressful place to be working when Christmas comes around. Stay calm, Audrey—-all is well.

  5. I am so busy with my campers this time of year that I have learned to embrace never being caught up, and being owley eye tired, a little frantic, and talking it as it comes. I LOVE CHRISTMAS. I was married on December 23rd, so I always use that year as a bench mark of how much crazy I can handle. We tend to change around our traditions–last year, I added the elf. Cole was 16 :-D. But he loves it. This year we are putting up the tree the weekend before Christmas and plan to leave it up longer. No outside decorations, except the tree in the window and a very weary polar bear that dearly departed Joe was very proud of…I’ve toyed with Luminaries on Christmas eve—one day. Shopping–on-line and one day at the mall. Christmas cards are a very big deal and the picture will be shot next week. I love the Solstice and we always find away to celebrate it. I do know one thing tho—I will NOT be shopping on Christmas. I like your philosophy and suggest you put out a sign–We’ve earned the right to enjoy your decorations and lights. Thank you. Maybe light it up with a red flash light. 😀

    • Thank you, Katybeth, for your enthusiasm for the season! You have gotten it just right!! You love it and it shows and that is what it should be —even if it is crazy it is YOUR kind of crazy and you thrive on it! That is all that matters. Someone suggested I put a sign up that says ditto with an arrow pointing to the neighbor’s light displays. I can’t even get that creative!!!

  6. Great way to do the Holidays Beth Ann. It’s just CH and I so it is easy to keep it simple. We do our family Christmas the Sunday before Christmas and do a simple gift exhange. I enjoy every minute from Thanksgiving till Christmas. Every Christmas song, the FOOD, our family time together and the peaceful time at home with just our little foot and a half tree and homemade noodles and chicken on Christmas Day. Enjoy your December Thursday Beth!

    • Yum…chicken and homemade noodles sounds delightful!!!! I agree it is easier to relax and keep calm when it is just the hubby and I although we will be traveling to be with the boys this year. Last year was such a disaster with the weather issues we encountered and this year we are praying that the travel is MUCH easier. It quite honestly was horrible for every one in our family who traveled. Flights canceled, roads closed, blizzards on both ends of our travels, ugh. This year will be a piece of cake since we are going to North Carolina and not Ohio. Enjoy your lovely December!!!

  7. Simple is a good way to go and leaves room for thought. I get so annoyed with all of the holiday gift lists being shoved in my face. We usually just get people gift certificates to local businesses. I might bake sweet breads this year for hostess/host gifts. For the first time, parents asked for a donation to a charity instead of a gift. And I think your house looks more festive than you make it sound;) Just because you don’t have blinding light displays doesn’t mean it’s grinchy!

    • You are so sweet!! I love the charity thing–we have done that in our family for so many years and it has really destressified our lives a lot!!! And when you get to “our age” all the wants really are wants and not needs so they aren’t really all that necessary. I love your idea of baking for gifts—to me that is a gift from the heart!

  8. I am trying hard as well not to get overwhelmed. I am still working full time and agreed to work over Christmas (with Dec 25 and 26 off of course) as everyone else wanted time off to visit family etc. There have been so many parties (which I love)three this week alone. But I do feel on top of it and am trying not to get stressed out and enjoy the special season. I took today off to buy the last of the gifts and then wrap and send them off. This may well be the last Christmas i will be working. Big changes coming next year.

  9. I am trying to take the holiday season as calmly as possible too but I can’t help but think right now that there are less than two weeks till Christmas and I feel like I still have lots to do and get done. The number one thing though for me is to take it all in and see the smiles from my kids as we make memories together as a family. Great post and reminder Beth Ann!

    • You have a few more things on your plate than I do, Val. I have the luxury of not having kids at home, programs to go to, no job, etc. But yes—your greatest thing will see the smiles on the kids’ faces!! Priceless!

  10. I can’t believe that Christmas has snuck up on us! I’ve been in bed sick all week but I have every intention of getting the tree decorated and drinking some hot cocoa this weekend if it’s the last thing I do! (It very well may be the last thing I do, I feel right awful).

  11. I think that is why I got so sick this week — it forced me to slow down, stop and just enjoy some quiet days by the fire while the kids are still in school. Most of my shopping was done, and I can putter away at decorating. Probably shouldn’t bake while I have the cold – but I still have next week too. Tree tomorrow.
    After next week, the kids will be home for 2 weeks and it will be Non Stop Go Go Go!
    I’m okay with tea, fire and a good book right now.

    • It is so hard when you have kids who are involved in stuff and you have places to go like crazy. It is just crazy all the things that go on at this time of the year and it is no wonder people get sick. I hope you are back to feeling better soon!!!!

  12. So far so good — I’m staying fairly calm. I think all the changes going on around here are keeping me distracted from stressing about the holidays and the fact that I only have one gift so far!!! 🙂

  13. I’m joyful, this season. Last year i must have been depressed, I didn’t want to hear another carol or see another tree. But I didn’t realize it, then. This year I”m into the joy.

  14. As I read this I’m sitting in bed, despite the fact that I’m having a dinner party here tonight for 8 couples (ok it’s only 7:30 am, but still). Yes, enjoying the moment is so important!!! Thank you for the reminder.

    • Enjoying the moment is VERY important—you will rock that party and have a great time at the same time because you have it all in perspective. Have fun!

  15. Lovely sentiments. We host a holiday party every year. This year, for some reason, I’m not stressed about it, as in years past. It’s always a happy day, our guests always seem to enjoy themselves, we never run out of food or beverages. What’s to worry? Enjoy your holidays!

  16. I wasn’t feeling the season as I thought I should last year. For me, it was transitioning away from Christmas as it was (when kids were living at home) while still expecting to experience it the same way. So I established new traditions for myself beginning with “tip days”. I pick a place, go there by myself, order a meal and leave a 100% tip. And it works. It jump starts the spirit and and I don’t have to have people living here to carry it out.

    • Susan—what a fabulously wonderful idea!!! I love it!! Thanks for sharing the wonderful way that you started new traditions. You are putting smiles on faces as you do that! Thanks for stopping by!

  17. I am way behind but I decided that I am not going to worry about the late Christmas cards I will send or the letters I want to write. The important part is to celebrate the birth of Jesus and what He means to us.

  18. My head is still above water! We have lights in the windows and a new wreath for the door. We’ve opted to skip the tree this year, seeing as how we’re getting a late start, and will be traveling some this month. Still waiting for the stamps to come! Tracking said they’d be here a day or two ago. I didn’t get to the cards today, anyway.

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