Doing less to build more: holiday edition



(Scroll down to read the introduction to the series)

  1. Reining in holiday spending
  2. The introvert’s guide to enjoying holiday parties- part one
  3. The introvert’s guide to enjoying holiday parties- part two
  4. Avoiding the sugar crash
  5. Go ice skating, but only if you want to
  6. Giving gifts with joy, not stress
  7. What to bring: hostess gifts, side dishes & gift exchanges
  8. How to handle difficult people during the holidays
  9. Holiday traditions and going with the flow
  10. Holiday travel mistakes
  11. More holiday cheer; less screen time

In October, I participated in the Nester’s 31 days challenge for the first time. I chose the topic Doing Less to Build More and wrote about it everyday for 31 days. I loved it.

That topic felt like exactly what this blog is about, not just in October. It helped define the heart of what I want to communicate here:

  • Choosing what’s important and letting the rest fall away
  • Giving up the race to meet everyone else’s expectations
  • Letting go of unrealistic, exhausting standards
  • Rooting my identity in Christ alone

I need to be reminded of these things more than ever this time of year.

Not everything can be a priority. The temptation to compare myself to others is stronger than ever as I watch picture perfect holidays unfold on Instagram. Consumption easily overtakes gratitude as Thanksgiving passes and retailers flood my inbox with deals and new releases.

Traditions and Pinterest call like sirens, raising the bar for holiday cheer so it always feels just slightly out of reach. But even as the bells ring in my head, more of the alarm variety than jingle, I keep a smile painted on because this all supposed to be so much fun, right? 

It seemed like the perfect time to introduce a new series: the holiday edition of doing less to build more.

I truly do love this time of year. I love my family’s traditions. I love Christmas parties, Christmas carols and visiting my family across the country.

I don’t begrudge even the commercial aspects of the holiday: I love the festive storefront displays, the city streets united by matching wreaths on every lamp post, the Starbucks holiday drinks, the pine and cinnamon scented candles.

I love spending the month reading Old Testament verses promising the coming Savior. I love thinking about what the anticipation felt like as the promise was retold from generation to generation. I love feeling the weight and privilege of being born at a time when he has already come, of knowing it is already finished.

I don’t want to make myself so busy or worried or sick that I miss it. 

I’m starting to believe that stress is a choice in most cases. Stress is when your child is seriously ill or you’re wondering how to feed your family tonight.

Messing up a party dish, deciding what to give your dad, uncomfortable interactions with family: we choose to process these situations as stressful.

Don’t hear me say that I never choose stress, because I do, often. My closest family and friends have told me that *sometimes* I can be an overreacting, neurotic, type A brand of crazy. They say it out of love. I think.

I know that I can intensify this stress prone season by overcommitting, setting unreasonable expectations, and treating non emergencies as such.

This month, I’m going to explore the idea of doing less to build more around the holidays. Less stress, impossible expectations, and focus on consumption. More joy, gratitude, meaningful moments, and glory to God.

Join me?

13 thoughts on “Doing less to build more: holiday edition

  1. Great post, Jacey! You are an excellent writer, and your message is so relevant. I want to choose NOT to stress and to view non-emergencies as such. Thanks for putting these at the top of my mind as we enter the busiest part of the holiday season!

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