Christmas Crunch Time-Be Flexible

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It is almost THE DAY…Christmas…the culmination of the “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.  Over the next week, families will gather, travel to gather,split their time between various households, attend church services and all other kinds of “good stuff”.

It is all of this “good stuff” ( the who, what, where and why) that often leaves people just wanting the whole holiday thing to be over or simply dreading it before it starts.  Perhaps it is just me but creating Hallmark Card or ABC Family Holiday Movie quality Christmas memories can be difficult.

I struggle with the “who, what, where, hustle-bustle and gift-buying” part Christmas every year.  Even when I thought I had the whole thing figured out and I put my foot down on some things….plans changed.

So my mantra this Christmas is to be Flexible.

Everything is NOT going to go as I planned and that is ok.  Better yet, that may be for the best. (I will have to remind myself of this over and over…because things just go better when they are done my way. Hehe!)

People’s lives change–weddings, deaths, births, sickness.  What has ALWAYS worked for years may or may not work this year or EVER again.

Top all the plan changes, gifts, and family  with the realization that somebody will probably dance on your happy and you have a recipe for the famous “Unmet-Christmas-Expectations-fruitcake”!

As the moments progress….pretend you are playing twister and remember to be flexible.Image Source: Wikipedia

“If we aren’t careful to be intentional, the joy of the holiday season can quickly be replaced with hard feelings, anger, and disappointment. More than anything, sometimes extending grace to ourselves and others is the simplest way to allow us to experience the most wonderful time of the year.”-Kelly Gordon (www.simplemom.net)

Colossians 3:12-14 (NLT)

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

I put the Christmas Lights Back in the Box-Pour Your Heart Out

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I have traditionally NOT been a Christmas person, (especially since having children)…gasp I know.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the look of excitement and anticipation on my daughters’ faces but all of the things to do prior to their looks of elation on Christmas morning,  just stress me out.  I usually end up doing tons of things because I felt like that “I should”.  Since I probably really didn’t “want to” in the first place, I procrastinated every year.  Shopping, decorating…all last minute and by the time Christmas actually got here…attitude in the tank!

So I decided to be proactive this year and get started with everything early.  I soon discovered, getting started early did not help my “want-to”.  I had my husband lug all the decorations up stairs from the basement and we put up the Christmas Tree this past weekend. (I realize the weekend after Thanksgiving is not “early” for Christmas decorating but it was early for me!)  Anyway,  we have an old pre-lit artificial tree that challenges us like crazy every year to hook up correctly so the lights will come on.  This year, no matter how many times we plugged and re-plugged…the tree did not light up.  So, we had to go “old-school” and string lights around the tree.

Divas, after I strung those lights and the girls helped but the ornaments on, I had NO DESIRE to put up any more decorations.  So I put all those Christmas lights and such back in the box and took them back to the basement!  At first, I felt a little guilty…I felt that “you should ” coming on.  After a few moments, I felt empowered and down right peaceful.

I can feel it in my bones, this Christmas is going to be different.

This year, we have decided to only buy a few gifts for our girls and that is it!  Every year, we buy gifts for family, close friends, close friends’ kids, teachers, and the list goes on and exhaustively on!  Even with my daughters, …….no more buying just to be buying,

For the first time in YEARS, I am looking forward to our annual Christmas Breakfast.  Instead of doing it on Christmas day as we always have, I decided to do it on the Saturday before Christmas…at 11am instead of our traditional 9am.   Doing it on Christmas morning was just too stressful for me but that is the way it has always been.  Perhaps it is this whole turning 40 thing but…….. I put my foot down.

We are going to have a theme for the breakfast this year….”ugly Christmas Sweater”! I can’t wait to spend time together eating, laughing and poking fun at each other’s sweaters.

Ahhhhh this feels good.

“Remember, as you unbox all your decor and start penciling in the squares of your calendar, that “more” of the holiday season isn’t always better.”-Trish (Art of Simple.net)

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:10-11 (NIV)

Check out this interesting article on Zen Habits about NOT buying Christmas Gifts. (I know it sounds so Un-American but it is good food for thought!)

This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Shell over at Things I can’t Say.

Post Holiday Clean-Up

Ahhhhh, Christmas is over! I really enjoyed the wonderful family time and watching my children’s excitement but all good things must come to an end. Now for the part I can’t stand,—-CLEANING UP AFTER THE HOLIDAYS!

Yea, forget Santa coming to town…when will the Clean Up Fairy be arriving at my house?

For some reason, I just don’t have the same energy in taking down the decorations and packing them away as I did in putting them up. I also don’t have the same zeal in cleaning after the family gathering as I did before.

Let’s not even talk about CLEANING UP DE ‘OL Diet! (That will be my next post.) :)

What is a Diva to do?

Well, I did a little research and y’all know I like to KISS (keep it simple sista), so here are MY 5 tips for after Christmas clean-up.

1. REFLECT—- So often, I experience something and just move on. Taking the time to reflect on what went well and what I would have liked to see done differently is a skill that is very helpful but one that I majorly UNDERUSE. I found an awesome article on post-holiday clean up on a blog called Organized Christmas. The article contained a great printable called a “post-holiday debriefing“. The post-holiday debriefing worksheet is a tool to help you record the highs and lows of the most current holiday and plan for better results next year. LOVE IT!

2. Decoration Removal- Take down Christmas Decorations and put them away. Easy to say but not so easy to do. Some people leave their decorations up well into March simply due to feeling overwhelmed about taking them down. I actually organized my decorations a few years ago so putting them away is a lot easier. Everything is in clear plastic totes! Yea, don’t get too excited, the Christmas Decorations are about the only things organized in my home! I found a great article on Christmas Decoration storage.

3. Tackle One Room at a Time–I don’t know about y’all but when I am returning things to their proper room, I seem to get sidetracked on what needs to be done in that room instead of staying focused on the room I am working on! Focus Divas!

4. PURGE-When putting away gifts, take notice of over-stuffed drawers and duplicates. If you are not going to use it or wear it and if it doesn’t bring you joy…. PURGE IT! Regift, donate, etc.

5. Practice a Mini Osoji- Osoji is the Japanese tradition of thoroughly cleaning homes and businesses before the New Year. The word osoji literally means free and clean. Although the Japanese do a whole lot more than a little straightening, any amount of wiping, sweeping and vacuuming are good things!

I like to think of Osoji more broadly as getting my affairs in order before the New Year. Stuff like clearing up overdue bills, making good on old promises, cleaning up, and prayer time are all great ideas to help me enter the new year ready for whatever awaits me.

Psalm 51:10 KJV
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.


What are your post Christmas Clean-UP tips?

Embrace an Imperfect Christmas

So here I am AGAIN, just a few days before Christmas with that same ol’ dread feeling that I get every year.

Even with saving via a Christmas Savings Account, we are over budget with just a few more gifts to buy. There also have been so many parties with opportunities to overeat! Hmmph!

I woke up this morning with the impending feeling of doom over all that still needs to be done. Most of all, I have the “I’ll be glad when all of this is OVER” feeling.

Every year, I vow that the next Christmas will be different. I dream of using our Christmas money to go away for the Holiday instead of the mindless shifting of gifts between people who have EVERYTHING!!!!

Ahhh, by just typing that I feel better! Don’t get me wrong, there have been some glimpses of what I dream that Christmas should be like:

1. My company adopted 5 families and we supplied their entire Christmas. I so enjoyed shopping for my team’s family!

2. My girls are sooo syked about Christmas. They were in a live Nativity play last week at church and it was so sweet.

3. I have taken some steps towards being less stressed this year. I only have a few more gifts to get although they are so NOT in the budget. I also took more time off of work this year to spend with the girls and to have more time to wrap gifts, tie up loose ends and hopefully get some rest.

The issue is that it is now crunch time. How do I face the few days ahead without dread and wishing that it is all over? Christmas shouldn’t be like this, should it?

Simple Mom has been issuing a challenge called Peaceful Christmas. Some of the ideas have been fabulous and I have put them on my list for next year. Last week, the challenge was to embrace imperfection:

“Your task this week: Embrace imperfection



Enjoy the blessings of cooler weather, the nearness of family, the handmade crafts plastered to the fridge, ornaments on the bottom third of the tree arranged in the most bizarre way possible, and the squeals of excitement about the upcoming day.”

“Let it go and enjoy Christmas how it is now, for what it is.”

Christmas isn’t about perfection. It’s celebrating the One who saved us from our impossible need to be perfect.”

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Shell at Things I can’t say. Click the photo below to read other folks’ hearts.

Not So Christmas Card

Snow Kiss Green Christmas
Design your Christmas cards with Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Ok so, I totally waited to the last minute to complete our Christmas Cards (surprise surprise)! So, I am sending out NEW YEAR’s cards this year! (Whoot! Whoot!) I used Shutterfly to create our card. Shutterfuly is super easy and a wonderful way to archive your digital photos.

Check out Shutterfly on their website: (http://www.shutterfly.com/) or simply click on our pic, they have some really cool stuff!

All I want for Christmas is a little PEACE and QUIET! To help me in my cause, I am taking the rest of the week off from blogging! See you Divas next week!

Disclaimer:

By embedding our Christmas photo card on this post, I will receive a Shutterfly Gift Certificate.

Friday Follow–Mr. Grinch had it right!

Narrator:
Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!

He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling:

Grinch: How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages boxes, or bags!

Narrator: And he puzzled and puzzled, till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before:

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.”

As I have stated MANY times, the Holidays have traditionally been my LEAST favorite time of the year. However, I have been very intentional this year about changing my attitude.

I decided to decorate our downstairs half bath in an effort to kick off my Christmas cheer and share it with our guests. I found a fabulous FREE subway art download over at eighteen-25. I uploaded the file and had it developed at Costco–$6.24 with tax!!

I picked up some UBER cute hand towels at Kohls for 55% off and put them on top of some other towels we already had. (Can you say design on a dime!!–I used to love that show)

I finished the bathroom at night so my daughters did not get to see the finished product. When my six year old went into the bathroom the next morning, she squealed with delight! “Oooh Mommy, it’s Christmas!” She twirled around and took it all in and then she zoomed in on a little lighted snowman.

“The lights! The lights!” She screamed. Lights? That snowman globe is all of 3 inches. Really? In that moment, I could imagine what the Grinch must have felt like when his heart grew three sizes.

How wonderful to see her amazement and innocent joy. Mr. Grinch you were right, Christmas does not come from a store, it is really so much more!

Out of the mouth of babes and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
(Psalms 8:2 ESV)

Here are some pics of my Christmas Bathroom: (You have to forgive the quality of my pics–I took them with my phone. Hopefully hubby will get me a real camera this Christmas!)

I just LOVE the print from the Eighteen-25 blog!! (GO Here to download one for yourself!)

Post-It-Note Tuesday

Only Parent Chronicles




Advent is the season marking the four Sundays before Christmas and developed as a way of helping Christians prepare not only to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in his First Coming but also to help them look forward to his glorious Second Coming. The term “advent” comes from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming”, “appearance” or arrival of something very important.

There are many ways to celebrate Advent. The Advent wreath and the Advent calendar are by far the most popular. The tradition of the Advent calendar is known to have existed in some form since the middle of the 19th century. For Christians all over the world, it has been used as a devotional tool to countdown the days of the Advent season which culminates with the Christmas holiday. It has also been used to amuse children as they await “Santa”.

My family is going to use the Advent Calendar as a way to daily focus on the birth of Jesus Christ–the greatest gift to all creation. I am excited about spreading the love, hope, peace, and JOY of the Lord!

Luke 21:34-35 (Contemporary English Version)
Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the earth.

“This is not a time for fantasy, for delusions about how the world is all better now that Jesus came 2000 years ago. Instead, Jesus calls us to watchfulness, to poised attentiveness, to be ready for action. It’s a time to resist those powers of success, pride, prestige, over-consumption—what Jesus names as dissipation, drunkenness, and the anxieties of life. It’s time of heightened sensitivity to what’s going on around us.” Excerpt from an Advent Sermon (Pastor Isaac)