If extra crafts, baking, and activities stress you out, you have permission to opt out of all of it.
I’m not usually one to say that “everyone” needs to hear a certain message, but I was really surprised at the response to a recent social media post. So many of my friends loved the message that I thought maybe you might need to hear it, too!
I stumbled upon this post on Instagram encouraging moms not to stress out over Advent preparations. It said,
It’s okay to NOT purchase Advent guides, curriculum or calendars. If extra crafts, baking and activities stress you out, you have permission to drink hot chocolate, read a good book and thank God for some well-deserved rest.
Gosh, what a breath of fresh air it was to hear that when most of my social media feed is moms touting their expensive Advent calendars and elaborate Christmas preparations!
I’m not the only one
I shared the post on my Instagram thinking it would be a somewhat countercultural message, and was pleasantly surprised when many of my friends reshared it or messaged me thanking me for sharing it. Clearly, it’s an idea that resonates with a lot of people.
There is so much pressure on moms to create “Advent and Christmas magic,” but it’s not magic if it requires us to give up our peace of mind for weeks on end.
So this year, I don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking that I need to spend lots of money or go to extravagant lengths to make Christmas magic. I want to focus on enjoying the simple delights of this season: drinking hot cocoa after playing in the snow, cuddling up to read a book next to twinkly lights, slowly looking at the Nativity-scene figures one by one, lighting the candles on the Advent wreath and singing “O come, O Come, Emmanuel.”
Clearly, a lot of other moms feel the same way. It’s really good to know that I’m not the only one who will be ignoring all the pressure and hype online and instead plan to take things slow and peaceful this holiday season.
Of course, not everyone feels this way. If elaborate Advent and Christmas activities bring you joy, have at it and enjoy those preparations.
But if it doesn’t bring you joy? If you cringe at the thought of waiting in long lines or braving big crowds to do “that one special holiday thing”? If you know there is no way in heck you’re going to remember to do that pretty devotional after the second day of Advent? Then just don’t do it. It’s OK. Your kids will not be deprived. They are not missing out.
A peaceful, happy mom is worth more than an infinite number of extravagant holiday activities.
What really matters
When faced with so many options for the Advent and Christmas season, how can we know what’s important to do? What actually matters?
Years ago, Blythe Fike shared that when she questioned whether she was “doing enough” to celebrate the liturgical year with her children, a wise priest told her, “Just make sure they know the story.” (I wish I could find her Instagram post about it!)
I keep coming back to that, and that’s where I’ve settled down with it all. I do the Advent wreath and I read my kids the Christmas story. We talk about the Christmas story, about its beauty and its truth.
I try to slow down and enjoy the Christmas preparations. We rest, and we revel in the joy of the season and of Christ coming down to earth. I wouldn’t have it any other way.