Shopping in October has always been a part of my Christmas preparation for good reason. It’s not that I don’t love strolling through the streets of our local town enjoying the snow & Christmas décor, that I adore. It’s just far more enjoyable with all of my gifts already purchased, wrapped and under the tree.
Long ago I learned that I wasn’t cut out for the stress of wrapping gifts and preparing Cinnamon Rolls until 2am Christmas morning. Been there, done that. I think every Mother has to earn those bragging rights at one point in their Motherhood, but that was my most tired Christmas ever and not one I wanted to duplicate. Watching my kids tear into their presents with my personal pair of zombie eyes I determined that I would never let that lack of preparation happen again.
When one allows burnout to take over during the Christmas season, it makes focusing on what matters nearly impossible. Even the years I had mastered the art of shopping in advance I couldn’t get it right. The help that had done was substantial however I knew I needed to take it a step further. I wanted to make memories with my littles without running myself ragged from all the work of keeping up with a house, kids, meals plus the added strain of Christmas preparation.
That is when I discovered The Merry Little Christmas project, what started as a blog and a community on Facebook, had become something that was rescuing my Christmas sanity. Starting each year on November 1st the 20 minute missions would begin, each one taking me a step closer to sitting in my pajamas on Christmas, with bright eyes, a rested mind, heart at peace and coffee in hand ready to tackle the gifts with holiday cheer.
Now the author, Kaley Ehret, has written a book and created a planner that is ready to help guide you through your Christmas to do’s & your Christmas to don’ts. To focus on what is important to your family, extending yourself grace, keeping on budget, making a list of acts of kindness your family would like to do & things to add to your own family’s bucket list. Having these things in order before December comes has allowed me to experience the rest during the Christmas season we all long for.
Growing up, my family had a ton of traditions surrounding Christmas, which I of course wanted to do with my littles. My Mom was an awake from Christmas Eve night until 2am on Christmas morning Mother as well, this was the one tradition I didn’t want to pass down. I felt determined to do the traditions that kept me wanting to be home for Christmas with my parents. I knew I couldn’t go on at the pace my mom did and knew I could find a different way to give my kids those traditions without the tradition of the exhausted Mama. I am not a very good Mama unless I am a rested Mama!
The Merry Little Christmas book is for anyone who has ever…..
Wondered if Christmas could be a little less about perfection.
Felt a bit empty once the last gift has been opened.
Struggled to allow grace for the years that life has made Christmas feel hard.
Gone into debt to get everything “just right” for the big day.
Chronically chooses stress over less.
Getting through the relationship aspect of the Christmas season has stolen your joy.
One or more of these have applied to me depending on the year.
It has changed my focus and allowed me to remember to do the things I am gifted in and let go of what I am not gifted in free of guilt. My presents won’t be perfectly wrapped but I will have some delicious cookies prepared! I might not have handmade Christmas cards but I will play Christmas music on the piano for my family to enjoy.
Doing the 20 minute missions in November like purchasing gifts, wrapping them, making food plans, getting Christmas cards made or preparing your budget has allowed me time in December to be well rested & make memories with my kids. This has allowed them to be a part of the things I have left to do and it’s fun to include my kids because I do not have approximately one thousand things to do before December 25th!
So we enjoy reading advent stories, baking yummy treats to give away, nights spent watching Christmas movies together and I am actually sitting with them instead of off getting things done. Saturdays are spent looking at Christmas lights, strolling through our downtown to go visit Santa & going to visit with extended family. We always do at least one movie night to watch the Polar Express and eat snowman shaped pizza!
The Merry Little Christmas Project has given my littles more for Christmas than the perfect present or even a perfect mother.
It has given them a present Mother,
Eyes off comparison,
Focused on Jesus,
Hearts prepared for a truly perfect Christmas.
(Soaring Arrows is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I was given a copy of the book and planner as part of the book launch team in exchange for an honest review!)