Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Planning for Peace and Joy : Personal Notes (Jill)

I love fall. It's my favorite season. The leaves change color, the air carries that indescribable fall scent, and the heavy sweaters and jeans come out of storage. But every year the same thing happens -- as Thanksgiving draws closer, stress rises.

Aside from the typical writing deadlines, I'm scheduling flu shots and last- minute doctor appointments before our health insurance runs out for the year. I'm baking pan after pan of brownies for the kids in the upcoming drama production at my daughter's high school. I'm preparing for a Thanksgiving holiday trip to southeast PA to visit my husband's family and buying gifts for the Christmas exchange we do every year. Oh, and this year I signed up to sell my books and jewelry at the local high school for the annual Thanksgiving weekend sale. I'm obviously overextended.

When I first married, I was a master planner -- every event planned to the last detail. (I'm sure I annoyed a lot of people.) Then I had a child. I still managed to plan and was pretty good at sticking to a schedule. But when my second child came along, I learned to go with the flow. Fast forward twelve years, and I'm finding there's no plan or schedule at all, and I can only plan for about the next six seconds.

A few years ago, I tried to revamp our Christmas schedule in an effort to enjoy the holiday season. I didn't enter any craft shows and said no to a few events. The season was much more joyful. Peace on earth & good will toward men, indeed.

I know everyone's busy during the holiday season. I'm still learning to say "yes" to the important things, and pass on the rest. Even then, sometimes I'm scrambling to get stuff done (like this year). What about you? Have you learned to relax and enjoy the holidays? Or is every year a struggle? Do you have a plan you use to help you get the important things done? I'd love to hear the strategies you use to keep your holidays full of peace and joy. Please comment below!


  1. Things can get a little hectic leading up to the day, but Christmas itself is pretty mellow. Because we're so far away from family, we don't have the pressures of travelling or figuring out what we're doing with who. And Christmas is at the beginning of summer which makes it seem so much more cruisy here. A lot of people take off a week (or two!) at Christmas which adds to the vacation/holiday feeling. As for strategies for keeping things full of peace and joy, we've started doing something fun with the kids instead of getting them gifts. They still get a stocking full of treats, but we've had a blast making memories doing things together like river rafting and zip-lining through the forest.

  2. Great post, Jill! It's interesting you brought this up, because this was our topic of discussion at MOPS a few weeks ago :) I definitely have some stressful moments during the holidays, but I'm learning that if I can lower my expectations for my own cooking / wrapping / decorating the holidays end up being more fun for all of us!


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