I ran upstairs to get dressed “real quick”. Fifteen minutes later, I had a pile of clothes on my closet floor I’d tried that didn’t work. I ran through scenarios in my head. The temps would start out cold, then get warmer. I kept saying to myself, “I have nothing to wear.” This was a lie. The bigger issue is that I had too much to choose from. I just didn’t like much of what I chose from and spent too much time trying to make the perfect choice. I was weighed down by the pressure of making the perfect outfit selection.
I was meeting a friend for breakfast. Other than that, I’d be home working. Grab the kids from school, play outside hopefully, possibly see another human being other than my kids. So why in the world did it take me 15 minutes to find something to wear?
It didn’t stop there. I then had to hang up all the clothes I’d thrown on the floor, then wash my face and put on makeup. Forget the shower, I’d run out of time.
My “run upstairs to get dressed real quick” ended up taking 30 minutes- what should have taken 5 minutes. Too many choices and my desire to make the best choice tilted my morning routine.
At this point, I am now rushing, which makes me snippy with my boys. All because I had too many choices and couldn’t make a simple decision.
Christmas isn’t only complicated because of what the world does to Christmas, it’s become complicated because what we have done to it as well.
We have more choices than we can manage for how to have an intentional Christmas. Get on Pinterest, type in some key words, and you will spend hours trying to determine which one is the very best.
Stop in the Christian bookstore, and you will find no shortage of advent books and activities. Talk to a few friends to find out what they do. People become pretty passionate about what they do with their family and are convinced it is the very best choice. And it very well may be. For them.
Here’s the thing. Too many choices, too much clutter, and we freeze. We have a hard time just grabbing something and going with it. We have a hard time blocking out the noise of what everyone else is doing and finding joy in what we are doing.
What makes Christmas special in each home will look drastically different from home to home. Sometimes it is the simplest acts, the smallest of traditions that make the biggest imprint in the heart of a family.
In our home, there are a few traditions we do every year, but we have learned to change as our children have grown. Traditions are vital to a family, but traditions can still be a tradition and change shape at the same time.
Seeking Christmas has been a tradition for the last 6 years. It is one that I’ve loved for its simplicity and flexibility. It doesn’t add so much that we become bogged down in choices and activity. In the simplest of ways, we celebrate the Savior, who offered the simplest, yet most elaborate gift the world has ever seen.
Our boys are getting older, Seeking Christmas gives us room to go deeper now and build on the foundation we’ve been laying. This year, I stumbled upon something we are adding to Seeking Christmas that adds no more stress, no more activity, no more clutter. It adds another layer to understanding the gift of our Savior. And it works in perfect harmony with our Seeking Christmas tradition.
I’m sharing not to overwhelm you in more choices when you already have plenty to pull from. I’m sharing because for our family who seeks simplicity so we can enjoy what truly matters, this has been a gift.
Seeking Christmas began in our home when our boys were little. We had 7 ornaments that told the Christmas story. Each night we’d hide an ornament and send them on a hide and seek adventure. Their faces would light up when they found the ornament, and we would read the devotion together. As they’ve grown, they still race to find the hidden ornament. As they’ve grown, they take greater part in the advent activity. Now they read to the family. Now they answer questions with enthusiasm, now they write in the journal as well so we have a record of the years.
This year I discovered Ever Thine Home. I wasn’t looking for anything to add to advent or to our Christmas tradition list. But when I stumbled upon it, it was clear that this is something that would bless our family.
I love everything about their purpose and their products. They have something that goes along with Seeking Christmas so beautifully, so I’m excited to add to our tradition list this year. Simply.
7 Savior Names ornaments. And a tiny little booklet to accompany.
They also have 7 Christmas Names ornaments, which are gorgeous as well.
For our family, we are already hiding and finding an ornament with Seeking Christmas. Now we can hide and find 2 ornaments. The reading is so brief that it adds only a minute or two to the time. It adds no more complication, only another layer of the beauty of His story.
This year I’ve been having my own secret tradition. In the quiet morning hours, I’m Seeking Christmas alone. I’m studying His names alone. All these years, I’ve reserved these readings for times only with my family, but this year I’m enjoying this private time of devotion as well.
And here is one more resource your family may love. It’s one of our favorite books. One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham.
This book tells the Christmas story from the beginning of time. How God was always putting into motion a plan to save us. The story is told in such a way that the kids are drawn in and held by her words and the illustration. It’s beautiful.
Again, this isn’t one more thing to try to squeeze in. It’s just a simple way to emphasize the true meaning of Christmas. It’s a long book, so we enjoy reading it over several day. I read it while the boys are eating breakfast in the morning.
By now, you know that for me, simplicity is key. I’m drawn to simple ways to communicate truth. Simple ways of doing life. I feel that the less clutter we add, the more the gifts of life shine through.
This is true at Christmas as well. Sometimes it’s the simpler traditions, the simpler activities, that shine the brightest in our season.
Sometimes it helps when we just make our choice and go with it. Even if it’s not the “perfect” choice. We prevent ourselves from getting weighed down in a sea of too much to choose from in an effort to make the perfect selection.
It’s Jesus. And it’s the heart of your family that will make any tradition you choose beautiful. It won’t look like anyone else’s. But it was never intended to.
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