Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Book Love: Loving my Actual Christmas (and fighting the holiday crazy)

This season is kinda known for being stressful and crazy and expensive.  Also for Jesus' birth and Santa and all the other things.  But also the stressful stuff.

(That is, partly, why I start my prep in October.  Most of my baking is done!  Cards are out!  We've made good progress on gift buying!  The house is mostly decorated!)

It's very easy to spend most of November and especially December overwhelmed by all the things that need done, activities that need attended, the never-ending to-do list.  There is a lot of pressure on this time of year, maybe more than any other, to make things lovely, wonderful, and constant memory-making.

Of course, that is impossible.  There is still laundry to be done and jobs to do and your family probably wants (or at least needs) to eat something besides cookies every day.  Our real life doesn't stop for all the fun, at least on days that aren't December 25th.

I recommended Alexandra Kuykendall's last book, Loving my Actual Life in the spring.  I loved her practical steps to make her life a little happier, a little easier.  When I saw she was coming out with one about Christmas I immediately put it on my to-read list.  I read it a couple weeks ago, pre-Thanksgiving crazy, and was inspired to make sure our December isn't crazy, that I'm not losing my mind by Christmas, and that we spend plenty of time focusing on the real reason of the season (that's Jesus, not Santa).

She breaks the season down to the 4 weeks of Advent, the time traditionally observed by Catholics, and maybe other religions, as time to slow down focus on Christ's birth as well as His second coming.  It's when we are supposed to be preparing our hearts and not just our homes (really, the heart stuff is more important).

(This is also why the various secular advent calendars drive me a little crazy.  Lego Star Wars, as much as we like it here, has nothing to do with "advent"!  Even though we've been very tempted to buy one every year.  But have so far resisted.)

So, every week she gave herself a few things to focus on as well as a few activities to do with her family.  Activities outside their home and as well as things like decorate cookies.  She evaluates how she did at the end of each week, what her take-aways were, what she can apply to her life.

She ends with practical tips and logistics about food and presents and a whole host of things.  I found many to be very applicable. I love some good lists of advice!  And maybe you just need some "permission" to let some things go!

She also mentioned multiple times that the Christmas season doesn't end with Christmas.  The "Twelve Days of Christmas" (from the song) are following Christmas.  We don't have to fit in all the things before Christmas.  Many people, all school kids, have a break between Christmas and New Years and that's a prime time for additional activities since most of your gift buying/exchanging is probably done.  I LOVE this week.  SO much.  It's so chill and relaxed and wonderful, even if I keep with my goal to barely leave the house!

To make the most of this wonderful, wonderful, season you can't be beat by Christmas Day.  You need energy for actual Christmas!  So that means some planning, some pacing yourself, and, maybe, saying no to some activities this year.  Maybe you take a year off cards or baking every kind of cookie.  You don't have to accept every invitation.  Traditions can change and evolve and that might be ok.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who finds this time of year to be overwhelming or even if you just want some ways to make it more enjoyable.  Also, the book is only 130 pages so not too much to add to an already busy time.

We should love our actual Christmas.  There's a lot to love about this time of year!
Goodreads | Amazon

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission.  Thanks for helping support this blog!

No comments: