Advice for a Simpler Christmas, Part One

Are you feeling just a little frantic this December? It’s a busy time of year, and with so much to do, it can be easy to be stressed during a season that’s supposed to be about “peace on earth.” Some of our authors are here to give practical advice on ways to slow down a bit this year at Christmas.

One of our decorations in the Bethany House library.

One of our decorations in the Bethany House library.

Mitchell_SiriIt’s always been difficult for me to enjoy Christmas because there’s just so much to do. When I found myself cooking the traditional batch of family candy all by myself one year, I began to think that maybe some of “our” Christmas traditions might not really be all that important to anyone else. My advice for a simpler Christmas? If it doesn’t give you joy and no one else in the family cares, then stop doing it! Eleven months’ worth of happy memories shouldn’t have to be crammed into one month every year.

Siri Mitchell, author of Love Comes Calling

CAMDEN_ElizabethI’ve often heard people suggest a halt to gift giving is a great way to simplify Christmas, although it is perhaps easier said than done. One easy gift solution for adult friends and family is to select an item from one of the many religious groups that sell homemade goods to generate revenue.  Handmade soaps, jam, candles, or candy make for inexpensive but still useful gifts, all while helping support the people who have given their lives to help lead our religious orders. I usually order a caseload of a single item, and then everyone on my list gets a jar of jam or a similar modest gift. If you don’t know of any religious groups that sell such products, Monastery Greetings is an online website hosting dozens of monasteries, convents, and seminaries which sell their homemade goodies. Happy shopping!

Elizabeth Camden, author of With Every Breath

Nathan Ham Photography|www.whataham.comOne way to keep the holidays simple is to decide upon one special event that will create a memory for the family to enjoy. Rather than rushing around and attempting to “do it all,” sit down and discuss some ideas with your family.  The event needs to vary depending upon the size and age of your family, but here are a few ideas: Have a family or special picture taken that will be treasured later in life; go to a Christmas play or musical that your family can enjoy together; go sledding or ice skating together if you live in a cold climate; drive around town and look at the variety of holiday decorations and then go out for a special meal; have the family help you make holiday treats so you’re creating memories as well as cookies—and if you can all decide upon someone to bless with those treats—all the better. Whatever you decide upon, make certain you find time to enjoy each other as you celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Judith Miller, author of The Brickmaker’s Bride

If you had to keep just one Christmas tradition, which would you pick?

2 thoughts on “Advice for a Simpler Christmas, Part One

  1. I like Judith Miller’s idea about attending just one special event such as a Christmas Party or musical plus do a special thing together. I also like the idea of making something together such as candy or cookies or certain kind of cakes so that you’re making memories. My husband’s niece did this while her daughter was growing up; they made cookies together every year. Also, some of the girl’s from the neighborhood who were her daughter’s age helped with the process even though when they were young it just made more work for our niece. O, but what wonderful memories she created for them all! She made cookies to give to the neighbors as presents (they looked like they came from the bakery). Some great ideas were expressed by the authors.

  2. Pingback: Advice for a Simpler Christmas, Part Two | Bethany House Fiction

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