Keep a Simple Christmas.
Sounds like an easy concept, right? To embrace the beauty of Advent with faith, hope and love. No worries. No pressure. The way Christmas should be.
But we tend to be our own worst enemies when December rolls around. List upon list upon list and so much to do, make, buy, freeze, clean, organize, send...
Of course this year a pandemic may have calmed things somewhat. Or brought its own worries and pressures.
I always went all out for Christmas. It was silly, really. And it took a bunch of years for me to learn my lesson, and that lesson was this: Put God first.
Now don't get me wrong. I love to bake. (And I need to lose ten pounds of delicious fall baked goods, my bad!!!!!) And I love decorating. The outdoor Nativity is tucked in its spot off the front porch and lit with spotlights.
Great-grandma and Uncle Chuck's Santa and Reindeer are up and lighted every night... And twinkle lights surround the front windows.
That doesn't make me unsimple, just so you know. It makes me festive! :) But I make time for those things I love at Christmas time now. Prayer. Contemplation. Music. Baking. Being with kids. Praising God. With some decorating thrown in on the side!
I asked the wonderful Seekers to share some of their simpler Christmas ideas and these wise women did not disappoint! Here you go:
From the wisdom of multi-published Erica Vetsch:
My tip for keeping a simple Christmas...
At least one night in December, after the decorations have gone up, I take the time to turn off all the house lights, turn on the tree lights, and just sit on the couch and be still. No music, no Christmas movies on tv, no phone in my hand. Quiet and reflection and thankfulness. A bit of a reset in the middle of what can be a hectic season and schedule that helps me regain some equilibrium and peace.
Farm owner and award-winning author Pam Hillman offered this wisdom from her blog:
TIP ON FOOD: As far as food prep goes, I do indeed keep it simple around here. Every year, I prepare a big pot of potato soup, beef and vegetable soup or chili, and cornbread. We’ll have a couple of desserts, but this is what the kids prefer. A big pot of soup or chili is definitely simple and easy.
Debby Giusti has lived her life as a military wife. She's no stranger to sacrifice or having to make things special on short notice. Here's what Debby has to say:
In my youth, Advent was a time of preparation for Christmas, not in a hectic shopping or pre-Christmas party way, but in prayerful anticipation of the coming of the Christ Child. Folks didn’t decorate their homes until closer to December 25. Some people fasted during Advent just as is often done during Lent. Others cut back on their family gift giving and instead reached out to those in need. Over the last few decades, Advent has grown into a festive four-week celebration, but this year, mainly because of COVID, I believe we’ll see a return to the basics with a renewed appreciation of family and faith. So how will I keep things simple? More prayer, more quiet listening to the Lord, more preparing of my heart as well as my home for the Birth of the Baby Jesus.
Wishing all of you, dear friends, a peaceful Advent as we journey to Christmas 2020!
Our Texas gal Mindy Obenhaus chimed in with this (and I can relate, totally!):
Cooking is my love language, so I like to deliver trays of cookies and candies to friends and neighbors. It’s like spreading joy one cookie at a time.
Ruthy agrees. Cookies are not only an equalizer, a treat that levels the playing field, but they are a conversation starter, a calming influence, a blessing and they're small enough that you can eat one or two and mitigate guilt. Being Catholic, we take our guilt most seriously! :)
And my dear friend Mary Connealy made me laugh with this true and funny overview of simplicity:
As always I'm the dork here. I have no lovely, sentimental, faithful, beautiful words of wisdom.
But I really REALLY keep things simple at Christmas. So simple it's probably a jerk move.
I order 95% of my gifts online. And I do it early.(ok I can't think of an exception, so maybe 100%)
I fact, I think I'm done shopping except two.
Keeping things simple.... Remembering Bethlehem. Putting the stable first.
"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." (From "A Charlie Brown Christmas" by Charles Schulz) And all the gals of Seekerville, the tall and the small are wishing every one of you a blessed and wonderful Advent season of preparation... and a beautiful Christmas. You are in our prayers!
AND.... we have several lovely books to give away today!
Two copies of Debby's "Amish Christmas Secrets" in a wonderful 2-in-1 with Vannetta Champman and 2 copies of Ruthy's newest Love Inspired "Finding Her Christmas Family". Let us know which you prefer so we don't give you something you already have!
Multi-published and USA Today Bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne is blessed to be surrounded by SO MANY wonderful people in Seekerville and she likes telling folks all about it. Author of over 60 published novels and novellas, Ruthy is living her dream of publication and running a crazy fun pumpkin farm in Western New York. A mother and grandmother, she's often seen with chocolate (that she doesn't need) and coffee or Diet Mtn Dew (which she absolutely does need!) Friend Ruthy on Facebook, email her at email@example.com or stop by her website ruthloganherne.com. She'd love to hear from you!