What to Do When You Want to Skip Christmas

December 14, 2017

I am already exhausted just thinking about it. Is anyone else caught up  in that place where you are asking – “Can we please just skip Christmas?”

Christmas will be here before we know it. It is exhausting just thinking about it. Is anyone else caught up  in that place where you are asking – “Can we please just skip Christmas?”

As I sit here organizing my long Christmas to-do list, gifts to buy and people to see, I am wondering how on earth I can add more to my already overtaxed schedule. As I get down to the 99th item, I realize only –

One thing on the entire list has to do with Jesusdecide what Christmas Eve service we will attend?

Of course, there were things on the list that God would be proud of, but I can’t help but think something has got to be wrong with how we do Christmas.

Don’t you want it to be different this year? We don’t want to be asking, “Can we please just skip Christmas?”

I want to remember why keeping things simple is better. How simple allows for so much more like:

Making Jesus the reason for the season and connecting with God’s people.

In my 30+ years of being an adult; I have probably only succeeded a small number of times in making the month of December what it is meant to be. Let me tell you about the year I discovered how the season could be.

Prior to Christmas I read a fantastic book called,
The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands by Lisa Terkeurst.

No, it is not a Christmas book, but boy did it change my life that Christmas and beyond. It is one of those books that transformed my life not just at Christmastime but also all throughout the year.

Before reading the book, I was a “yes” kind of girl even when it was detrimental to my well-being. If someone had a need, want, or desire and asked, my answer was usually “yes.”

So I set out that distinct Christmas determined things needed to be different. I thought of it as an experiment to see if the principles of the book would work during the holiday season. I came up with a new set of Rules for Christmas.

A New Set of Rules for Christmas

Give yourself permission to disappoint others.

Say “no” more often than “yes.”

Attempt to keep things “simple.”

Strive to keep “Jesus” as the focus of your heart, mind, and soul.

Maybe that sounds easy to a few, but I have a hunch some of you can relate to the internal struggle of wanting to please others and going beyond what is healthy. Or maybe you make unrealistic to-do lists while striving for excellence in every single item.

Excellence is good but not when it tips over into perfectionism that robs us of joy.

Then, of course, some of us nominate “ourselves” as the responsible party to make sure everyone loves the holidays. But guess what year after year we find out…

Pleasing Everyone Is Impossible!

Like me, you may have found out that all of these things mixed with the holidays can make a stressed out, overwhelmed, and unenjoyable month for everyone around, including myself.

So this particular year with a new mindset I discovered a few things.

  • Costco has some excellent ready-made food.
  • Stick on bows or maybe even none at all is okay.
  • Spending Christmas Day in pajamas is incredible. (It was the first one in my entire life)
  • Serving a formal dinner in slippers is comfy.
  • China is beautiful but not necessary.
  • Skip the Garland on the stairs.
  • Decorations can be simplified.
  • Two – Christmas to-do lists are necessary – One list of must do’s and another for- if time allows and it brings joy.
  • Lowering expectations doesn’t diminish the celebration.
  • Remove the “should do” items on the list.

Don’t get me wrong; I love doing extra’s and traditions, but when that begins feeling like a chore maybe it is time to rethink what we are doing.

So are you wondering if I disappointed others that year? Probably, but remember – I gave myself permission to do just that.

If people are disappointed with your “no,” most likely a  “yes” will not meet their approval either.

I can tell you this – the people in my immediate circle, the ones God entrusted to me, those that mattered the most were pleased with the new me.   They found a person with a holiday spirit who promoted peace, joy and a love that was unhurried.

So this holiday season I encourage you to join me in not skipping Christmas but embracing what God intended it to be.  It just might be a Christmas like one you never expected.

Try giving yourself permission to disappoint others, say “no” more often than “yes” to the things that bog you down, keep things simple, and most important – strive to keep

“Jesus” as the focus of your heart and mind.

I would love to hear any tips you have for keeping advent in your soul, Jesus on your mind, and Christmas simple.  I say let’s not skip Christmas.


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18 Comments

  1. Reply

    SunSparkleShine

    Beautiful, Maree Dee. I’m giving myself permission to say no, experience joy in the little things and stopping long enough to take it all in. I think I’ll do well to take some notes from your book. 🙂

    Blessings to you, as you slow down this Christmas.
    Marva | SunSparkleShine

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Marva, Thank you for stopping by. Wonderful to hear you are slowing down to experience joy. Wishing you a Merry Christmas! Maree

  2. Reply

    Melissa

    I decided to simplify this year, too. I didn’t do Christmas cards because of the time it consumes and the cost. The people that are the most important in my life I will see in person and I can send out a blanket Christmas blessing on social media. In years past I have made eight different types of cookies to bring to celebrations. This year I’m only making two and then buying an assortment. I know that will disappoint a few people. The wrapping of presents aren’t as elaborate. The menu isn’t as extravagant. I’m finding I have more times to rest and be still. It’s a pleasure!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Melissa, I am impressed. As I try to do a little baking this Saturday, I am going to take your lead. I agree, It is more fun when we do less and leaves so much more time for what is important.

  3. Reply

    Cheryl

    Sweet friend! This is an amazing post and so spot-on! My little family and I started a minimizing journey a few years ago that has totally transformed our lives. It has absolutely impacted our Christmases in the most peaceful of ways. We have let go of about 90% of our stuff, and moved into a much smaller home, with a lot less space, and there is no room for unnecessaries. This is so wonderful…it has liberated our lives of so much stress, chaos, and encumbrances! We have minimized our schedules, too, and, again, this has impacted our Christmas in a most positive way. Jesus didn’t live His life encumbered, and neither should we. He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly, and that is polar opposite what this materialistic, consumerism-driven world around us dictates and demands. If we follow Him and the simple life He lived while on earth, we will remain free from the bondage of others and what they think we should and shouldn’t do. God bless you for proclaiming His truth here and for the encouragement you are to me. I am so sorry you are going through so much, and I pray the peace that passes all understanding will fill your heart always.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Cheryl, Thank you for sharing a little bit about your minimizing journey. It sounds fabulous. I want to do some minimizing in 2018. You are so right with what you said, “Jesus didn’t live his life encumbered, and neither should we.” What a great motto to carry in my thought. I am so glad you stopped by and left a comment. Blessings to you, Maree

  4. Reply

    Lisa notes...

    The thing I’m having such trouble with this year is the Christmas gift list. I just can’t get it together to decide what to buy everyone. If we could cut out that part of Christmas, I would love everything about the season. 🙂 Lysa’s book does sound good for any time of the year, but especially the month of December. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Lisa, Gift giving is not my thing. It is not my love language, so I find it challenging. I want the gift to be spectacular and unique but always feel I come up short. This year was a hard year for us, so I went simple. I gave gift cards to almost all of my nephews and nieces. For those, I did buy for I know I didn’t get enough, but you know what I am okay with it for a change. I find myself saying, “you know what it is good enough” and I believe it. I didn’t wrap with bows and ran out of tags. So not like me, but again I was okay with it. I am finding I can enjoy the season more letting things go. Good luck getting your Christmas gift list done.

  5. Reply

    Sarah Geringer

    Love this post, Maree. This will be a hard Christmas, due to mentally ill family members. I know you can relate. Yes, I’ve felt like I want to skip out on some of it. But your list will help me stay in the game. Thank you for the encouragement, and Merry Christmas to you!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Sarah, Yes, I can relate to the struggles of holidays when a loved one has a mental illness. I am so glad my list will help you. I know I keep going back to it myself. Merry Christmas to you, Maree

  6. Reply

    Brenda

    Wow. So, so good, Maree. — I’ve been doing a more simplified Christmas the last few years, and it is freeing, but at the same time, I’m the one who does take responsibility for everyone in the house having a good holiday. Thanks for the challenge to be free of that, friend. — I liked The Best Yes, too. Good book. — Hope you’re finding moments of rest this holiday season. ((hug))

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Brenda – Simple is pretty good, isn’t it? I am finding the more I simplify, the more I like it. The hard part is letting go of thinking I am responsible for everyone joy during the holidays. Hugs back at you and a Merry Christmas to you. Maree

  7. Reply

    debbieputman

    The idea of two lists is brilliant! Merry Christmas!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Debbie, Thank you, the two lists work well for me. I use the idea all of the time. Merry Christmas to you, Maree

  8. Reply

    Rachel Lee

    Maree, another wonderful post! I can relate. I have had to be extra intentional this year, about slowing down and embracing the season. I love how you said, “lowering our expectations doesn’t diminish the celebration.” So true! And yet we so often believe the lie, that it does.

    Also, I love Lysa’s books too. Not the Best Yes, but the one that preceded that, How to Say Yes to God, (I think that’s what it’s called), dramatically changed my life! I mean, DRAMATICALLY!

    Isn’t it refreshing to know that we are not alone?

    Blessings to you during this season! <3

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Rachel – Yes, it is so refreshing to know we are not alone. Thank you for stopping by. I will have to look for the book you mentioned. Merry Christmas to you! Maree

  9. Reply

    Tiffany Parry

    Hi Maree! You and I are on the same page today. I too am purposing to simplify Christmas and let go of all those “shoulds” and “have-to’s.” There is such freedom in focusing on what truly matters and letting the rest go. And a wholehearted yes to Christmas day in pajamas – I wouldn’t have it any other way!! Blessings to you and so glad to visit from #tellhisstory.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Tiffany, Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. It is so nice to find people on the same page. I have to say keeping Christmas simple is not that easy. I decided no Christmas cards this year, but now I am considering Happy New Year cards. Good luck in keeping it simple and focusing on what truly matters.

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