Written by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers
It’s official. The Christmas season is upon us and many of us are already feeling the stress of the holiday crunch.
It’s a shame that the time of year that should be focused on Christ, peace, and hope becomes such a busy stressful time – but that’s reality for many of us.
The truth is that Christmas is not a holly jolly time for everyone. For many, it is one of the most difficult times of the year.
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There are some who are missing loved ones who have passed, who are away from home, or who are estranged.
There are those whose Christmas won’t look like a Norman Rockwell painting due to financial, emotional, or relational struggles.
There are moms who struggle with guilt over all the “shoulds” or frustration from trying to do it all, and are wondering when the spinning plates are going to start shattering around them.
There are many who are counting down the days, not until December 25, but until December 26, when all stress and unrealistic expectations can be put behind them for another year.
If any of those describe you, I just want you to know that this Christmas, it’s okay.
It’s okay to feed your kids grilled cheese and canned tomato soup or mac-and-cheese every day for a week because it’s easy and that’s all you have the time or energy for.
It’s okay to buy store-bought crispy treats or deli cookies for the co-op Christmas party. It’s okay to unwrap them and put them on a pretty platter and let people assume they’re homemade.
I mean, don’t lie if you’re asked. That’s not nice.
But you’re not responsible for people’s assumptions.
It’s okay to put every single gift you purchased in a gift bag because the thought of wrapping them makes you break out in hives.
It’s okay to tell your kids that if their gift can’t be ordered from Amazon and shipped with free 2-day Prime shipping, they need to choose something else. (True story.)
It okay to not serve at the soup kitchen when it’s all you can do to serve at home.
It’s okay to skip all the Christmas unit studies or watch an hours-long marathon of Christmas movies and call it a unit study.
It’s okay to not put on your fake smile and tell your friend that everything is fine when she asks. Tell her the truth. She’s probably happy to pray for you – and you may just find that her smile is fake, too.
It’s okay to be real with each other.
It’s okay not to make gingerbread houses and homemade ornaments.
It’s okay to spend an entire day snuggled with your kids in front of the fireplace reading Christmas stories – or your favorite books that have nothing to do with Christmas.
It’s okay not to make one single, solitary, homemade gift.
It’s okay to be sad.
It’s okay to put taking care of yourself and nurturing your family above all the “shoulds.”
Wherever you find yourself this holiday, it’s okay.
Do you find the Christmas season to be a difficult time of year? What do you need to give yourself permission to do or not do this month?
I love this and honestly, I needed to hear it. Thank you so much for your encouragement.
Shawna @NotTheFormerThings’s latest post: To The Single Mom At Christmas
This is such a great reminder for more compassion this season! I know it can be a miracle for me to manage getting the minimum accomplished for my family – but when we show up to a party all smiles and bows somehow I assume everyone else’s families made it with ease. It’s interesting to me the shadiness of guilt this time of year – like you said – from all the “shoulds.” Oh, how I pray we can read your words here and accept the lavish grace available to us, and offer it freely to others too.
Cara@TheHomeLearner’s latest post: The Homeschool Mom’s Holiday Survival Guide
Anne’s latest post: Book Review: My Pantry by Alice Waters
What a great post! I seem to fall into this trap every year of feeling like I need to do the Unit studies, the crafts, the candy making, homemade gifts, and the list goes on & on….. I & the kids usually end up not feeling very joyful or jolly like we should ! Thanks for the encouragement to just let go & enjoy my family this Christmas & reflect on Christ’s birth. Now to go kick back & watch a Christmas movie with the kids! 🙂
Gah!!! Loved this! Made me cry! I already know 2 people who have lost their fathers in the weeks leading up to Christmas. It reminds me of the same loss almost 8 years ago. I, personally, have had foot surgery this week and have been unable to do most of the things I’ve always enjoyed this season. You’re right.
Thank you! And love the Amazon reference. That will probably be me this year (the free 2 day shipping is encouraging me to procrastinate).
TRUTH, reality, honesty…things much lacking in the church/homeschool community. Thank you and God bless you!
Thanks for this. I’m sitting here with tears because, it’s ok to let go. I’m not failing.
I’ve found a lot of boxed/bagged cookie mixes are really pretty good. I just tell people they’re “fresh baked” cookies. And they are. No need to mention they aren’t fully homemade. I try to keep some in my pantry all year for when I need something last minute. I’ve pretty much always got an egg and water to mix them with.
Magical words. Thank you!
Erin @ thh
“It’s okay to not serve at the soup kitchen when it’s all you can do to serve at home. ”
Thank you for that!
Kris @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers
You’re so welcome. It’s been one of those years.
Wow, just what I needed to hear. It’s the 15th and the thought of even putting up a Christmas tree just boggles my mind. I just can’t. Am dealing with a kid who got a transplant Oct. 30 and just got out of the hospital and has to stick around Omaha, NE for up to six months. Tired of going back and forth and that makes me feel guilty. And remembering another Christmas without our son who got killed in Iraq four years ago. Thanks, I really needed to hear this.
Kris @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers
I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. Our neighbors are spending their second Christmas without their son, a Marine who made it safely through two tours of duty only to be killed in a freak motorcycle accident when he came home. They’ve been on my heart so much and were part of the thought behind this article. Prayers for you and your family.
Kris @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers’s latest post: Kid Craft: Christmas Dinner Napkin Rings