The Christmas of Yes

The Christmas of Yes

It is December 1st. Not too long now before Christmas is upon us. Stores have already had aisles full of decorations for weeks. My kids have been telling me what they want since before Halloween. I have been dreading it all year. I can’t be the only one who is weary of the consumerism, the sales, the need to have the prettiest decorations. I want to love this time of year and I do. The part of it none of us talk about or celebrate. The part where my family spends more time in the living room together because we love the way the Christmas lights glow in there. The part where my kids squeal with glee when we drive past houses that are lit up. Not fancy – just lights. And a tree. That is us this year. The scrooges with just lights and a tree. The ones that curl up at bedtime and read books about The Christmas Story. The ones that want to emphasize love and joy over all the other stuff.

I decided months ago that I wouldn’t make anything, bake anything or do anything I didn’t want to do this season. I just want to enjoy simple quiet moments with my family in our little living room under our white lights.

It may not be fabulous or photo worthy or blog worthy, but it’s how we’re doing it this year. I want to say no to consuming and decorating and baking and making things more complicated than they need to be. I want to say yes to dancing with my kids to carols in the kitchen. I want to say yes to reading books about the season. I want to say yes to the very small list of gifts they’ve requested. And I’ll say yes, knowing that it means I am saying no to so many other things. The yeses make it what it should be.

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  1. I love this post! I feel just the same. So much hype for the holidays, and I feel myself pulling back and attempting to keep things as simple as possible. Keeping the focus on what Christmas should really be about. Thanks for sharing!


  2. A woman after my own heart, thank you for the reminder to just focus on what fits my family and not the expectations of the whole world. We usually remember this pre-Christmas season etc but often give in to pressure in December, a great inspired post.

  3. Our Christmas will be like that this year, too – and it was last year, having just moved & being absolutely BROKE.

    And, it was okay!

    This year, I do have all of my decorations up. I sometimes resent the sentiment that putting up decorations means you can’t embrace Jesus at Christmas. However, we are the only ones who truly know how we do things here, and our Christmas is still beautiful, peaceful and Christ-centered – even with the decorations!

    Love your idea of a simpler Christmas! I’m saying “no” to lots of things this year as well.

    Emily Reply:

    Christi, I definitely don’t mean to imply that decoration means not embracing Jesus at Christmas. I have decorations up as well and enjoy the tiny touches throughout my home and remind me of the season and the reason for it. For me, if I focus too much on the other stuff, I lose the heart of what the season is. We all express what we feel this time of year differently and none of those are wrong. In the past, I have spent too much time making, baking, creating, decorating and not enough time just being and celebrating. This year, I am fixing that.


    Christi {Jealous Hands} Reply:

    Emily, no worries – I know that was not your intent!! :-)

    I didn’t mean YOU specifically, and I should’ve clarified that.

    {heart} you!

  4. I love you more and more each day :)

  5. Thank you for a very liberating post! It felt just like I was receiving permission to be who I truly am this season. And, to repeat what Carol said above, “to just focus on what fits my family”. YES! This can be the season of the year that wears me out OR it can be the season of the year that I am renewed, refreshed and restored. It’s my choice. It’s my family. It’s my style. That’s what counts :)

  6. I know just how you feel and I’m embracing the same perogative.

    It’s tempting to create, create, create, and decorate up to wazoo especially when you see such beautiful and creative ideas around blog land…but I need to constantly keep my motivations in check and like you, only do it because I ‘want’ to, not because I feel like I need to ‘keep up’ or because I ‘should’.

    Honestly, I’m just pleased as punch to have a little extra space in our new residence to put up a larger and more life-like fake tree. ;)

  7. Great post, complete with a warm & cozy photo.
    *sigh* :-)

    Thanks Emily!

  8. My friends and I are embracing this idea but not concentrating on the doing and just basking in the being. We are enjoying playdates together instead of slaving over the stove or shopping furiously for the perfect gift! I love it!

  9. I couldn’t agree more! I did a similar post on my blogsite last week — Holding Off Christmas! Love you blog.

    Judy :)

  10. I’m with you on this, and have been trying to keep things simple for years. It is hard though being a blogger because you feel like readers will be bored if you do things simply and without a lot of “projects” along the way. But for me, I have to be true to myself and where I am spending my time by choice. Some people naturally LOVE to do projects and it is fun for them. For me, I keep it simple and hope “my people” will appreciate the heart behind it and hopefully some will find peace in it as well!

  11. Beautiful!

  12. A hearty AMEN to this post! I’m also tired of the consumerism and excess that come with this season. I’m saying NO to a lot of things myself. I’d rather my daughter have memories of peace in our home than beautifully decked halls.

  13. I love this. Simple is best. I am SO right there with ya.

  14. Denise C. says:

    Well said. I am really, really, really trying to keep things simple. Our tree, is up, just a basic pre-lit one. Our tree topper broke, we’re not replacing it. Our daughter was on a smashing spree (not intentionally), & a bunch of our ornaments got busted. They are not being replaced either. I was thinking of baking cookies, peppermint bark & truffles for our neighbors, after seeing the price of chocolate squares today, I thought, no way. Baking some basic sugar cookies with my kids for the four of us to have (plus some for Santa) will be perfect. :) Have a wonderful evening.

  15. I loved this post so much. It is so timely. We all need to keep in mind that the important thing is remembering the reason for Christmas and spending precious time with our loved ones. My goal is to spend a lot more quality time with my family this year.

  16. Good for you! I am with you on this one. Christmas had become such a dread for me because of all the consumerism. I am say yes to the right things this year, and focusing on family and the real meaning of the Christmas season.

  17. I agree with this, I declared earlier this week that I would not be going to every Christmas party, doing cookie exchanges or anything else that I did not want to do, or took time away from what I wanted to do. Enjoy your Christmas.

  18. As far as decorations go… If we are celebrating Christ birth why wouldn’t you decorate as you would for any other birthday party! Just a thought!

  19. Right on! Now how to fend off the grandmas and grandpas who dote on our children in exorbitant ways without breaking their spirit or worse starting a war? My children are still little enough for me to give the extra gifts away to more needy children, but I won’t be able to do this for long. Help!

    Marilyn Holeman Reply:

    Kristina, We raised our 4 kids in a small house–600 square feet for six people. (But it’s paid for!) So we REALLY tried to keep the gift-giving in check from the grandparents. It’s hard if they don’t share the same values that you do, but try having a real heart-to heart with them–telling them what you believe and why. Suggest things like museum or zoo passes–things which they can do WITH the kids (assuming they’re local) or which make memories, not physical items that will break or get lost. Exceptions could be for good quality basic toys that will last for their great-grandchildren, like a good set of blocks, or perhaps a dollhouse. (We got a great set of blocks from Community Playthings in Rifton, New York that is still going strong twenty-seven years later!)

  20. I love your commitment to saying yes this holiday season.
    It’s good to know that there are lots of folks who want the same thing.

    Your choice to turn your choice towards the positive feels so much more comfortable to me than my own tendency towards emphasizing that which I don’t want.

  21. Oh, mama. I am SO THERE. Really. You have no idea.

  22. Thank you, thank you for reminding me that our simple ways are wonderful. I’ve been tempted this year to do a little more, not more buying but more crafts & activities. I really do love sitting by the tree, reading stories and enjoying the music.

    We only give three presents for each of our two children. It is simple and so easy to be “done.”

    Start young and they won’t expect any different.

  23. I whole-heartedly agree! I can’t even put my tree up yet because I feel so committed to simplifying this year. I will decorate, but reading the books, giving where we can (with the kids looking on and helping) and buying as little as possible, and focusing on the real meaning of CHRISTmas, is my greatest desire this year. Thanks for sharing!

  24. Love it. Was feeling such pressure to craft, bake, etc. and you’ve reminded me that simpler is better — that a happy, rested mom is better than a hundred handmade gifts.

  25. I love your commitment to saying yes this holiday season. It’s good to know that there are lots of folks who want the same thing. Your choice to turn your choice towards the positive feels so much more comfortable to me than my own tendency towards emphasizing that which I don’t want.


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