Why We Stay Home For Christmas
Rushed into the kitchen to quickly eat dinner, I knew something wasn’t right. “Hurry up, let’s go.” Shoveling food in, I didn’t dare ask why we were leaving so fast. But I knew why. They were fighting again.
Growing up, emotions were dependent on one person’s mood in our home. This resulted in me feeling that I was in the way, hurried, and such, experienced higher levels of stress. Keeping the peace by appeasing others became a safe place.
Soon after marriage and our first child, we found ourselves Christmas hopping – going from one celebration to the next, sometimes in the same day. What first felt fun quickly began to not look good on me.
The pressure of getting the kids ready and the stress of packing up the car with gifts, snacks, sippies, diapers and drama left me feeling anything but Christmas cheer. Instead, we were fighting before we had even left home. Why are we doing this? This isn’t fun. I don’t want to please other people at expense of our own family.
My husband and I would talk about what #allthethingsChristmas was doing to us – in particular, to me. I realized through our discussions that our Christmas hopping was eliciting the same feelings in me as an adult that I had as a child. I was feeling overwhelmed and rushed. And I didn’t like it. Nor did my husband.
The next year as Christmas gathering chatter began and I noticed feelings of dread instead of joy, my husband and I sat down and decided on what we would plan for our own family.
We each shared how we wanted to make Christmas special, and agreed that moving forward, nothing would compromise this time. We decided that Christmas Eve morning we would open gifts, eat caramel rolls, and stay in our jammies until we got dressed for church. Just us.
Typically, now we celebrate Christmas with our different families before or after the holidays, still being intentional we don’t compromise what we know we (or rather, I) can handle. Knowing our own personal room for margin is key to making holidays enjoyable. This is important, because we want to honor God with our time, attitudes, words, and hearts. And if we’re overextended, we simply won’t.
I know I sound high maintenance, but I like to think of it like this: I go to great lengths to protect staying as low maintenance as possible for the sake of our family. Please hear me, I love our families and I love spending time with them. But I also know what stress does to my soul – and I refuse to let it steal my Christmas cheer.
Christmas gathering hopping doesn’t work for us in the season we’re in and may never work for our family. Or some day it may. But having a clear plan on how we keep our Christmas sacred and special has allowed our family to better enjoy and be in the presence of our King. Unrushed, peace-filled, and grateful.
Wife Step: If Christmas hopping has you down, plan a time to talk with your husband about it, and see if you can come up with a plan for how to carve out special time for your family and adjust plans if needed.
Amanda Davison is on a mission to share how her education in counseling and God’s word changed her life and marriage. Her goal is to transform marriages through the hearts of wives by inspiring wives to live convinced of God’s love and love others from this awesome overflow. She is The Wife Coach, Founder of A Wife Like Me, a Speaker, and Author. She works as the Director of Assimilations at The Naz church in Fergus Falls, MN, where her and her husband lead the Marriage Mentor Team. Her favorite ministry is inside her home where she is the wife to a farmer and mom to three.