Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Holidays are beautiful and magical, but as an adult, and more recently, a parent, I have learned to adjust my expectations. I haven't taken a negative view--I still love every single minute of holidays. I've had my tree and decorations up for weeks. I've been preparing crafts and stories for celebrating the advent. Our calendars are full with Christmas events. We even brought out our elf Bubba this weekend, but when I reread this Christmas Llama Llama book to Addison for the first time this year, and sweet little llama had his meltdown, it hit me that there is only so much a 3-year-old and 1-year-old(or anybody, really) can take when it comes to holidays.

It isn't about squeezing in every event--the breakfasts with Santa, trips to Opryland to see the lights, ornament swaps, open houses, work parties, church special services, or even benevolent acts of taking food, wrapping gifts, and other serving opportunities. It isn't about making everybody "happy." Don't we all feel pulled to make every friend and family member feel happy and special and satisfied that they got "their time" in? Sure, those things are important... they matter... we even want to do most of them...

But sometimes it just takes a meltdown of a preschooler and/or toddler to make us stop and reflect and ask ourselves, What is all of this for?

Even as I write this, I am frantically cleaning my house for an Open House that we are hosting for neighbors this weekend. I'm addressing Christmas cards each day so I can get them out when I set my goal. I'm trying to fit in every fun event that friends and family have planned. So I know I am challenging myself as I write this.

However, this year I am giving myself permission to say "no." Not just no for the sake of being contrary, but a no for the sake of family time, a no for the sake of knowing my kids and their thresholds, a no for the sake of sanity.

I also am going to try be intentional about the things I say yes to. I hope to remember the spirit of the season, the joy of the grace we have received, and the love that permeates this time of year. I hope to make each moment count for something. I hope to snuggle with my kids and my husband in front of the fire with hot chocolate and Justin Bieber Christmas. I am going to teach Addison about Jesus' love for us--what joy that brings! I am going to add a cotton ball to Santa's beard each day as we count down to Christmas. When we host neighbors, swap ornaments, and spend time with family, I will love every minute of it.

And if one of my kids has a meltdown due to the holidrama, I am going to scoop them up, give them a hug, show them some grace, and then shake it off. Thanks for that, llama llama.

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