(Try to) Enjoy the Season

13 December 2017

Hello friends! How are you all doing? I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by my Christmas to-do list but can I share something that actually helps me feel better this time of year?

peter spier christmas

It’s a book that I’ve shared in my favorite Christmas books post called Christmas! by Peter Spier. It isn’t printed anymore and goes for pretty high prices on Amazon so if you ever come across one at a garage sale or thrift store, be sure to snatch it up! I honestly have it by my bed and love to look at it like a child at this time of year.

peter spier christmas book

It has no words just intricate, beautiful illustrations about a family getting ready for Christmas. And it begins TODAY, December 13 (12 days until Christmas) and look! The town is just beginning to decorate.

peter spier christmas town

The family doesn’t get the tree until about a week before Christmas!

decorating tree peter spier christmas

They are still working on sending out cards – I love how happy they seem!

christmas by peter spier

and making Christmas goodies and delivering to neighbors

peter spier christmas delivery

and doing a big Christmas grocery trip

peter spier christmas grocery shopping

And I love the HUGE mess after Christmas dinner with the extended family.

peter spier after christmas dinner

But they roll up their sleeves and tackle it and then relax by the fire and the living room isn’t perfect but they seem content and peaceful and to be soaking in everything around them.

peter spier christmas scene

I guess I love it so much because it all works out. Nothing in the pictures is Pinterest perfect, but they seem to truly enjoy the season. And then a friend shared this story at LDS Living about Marjorie Hinckley whom I absolutely adore. SO many of my courage for the week quotes and mothering inspiration come from her.

Patricia Holland shared this story:

“Several years ago, during the Christmas season, President and Sister Hinckley came to BYU for a musical event. Before the program, there was a buffet dinner, and at one point while the men were away from our table, the women began to talk about the frustrations of getting ready for Christmas. Our conversation focused on the fact that everything about the season was becoming a burden for women. We bear the responsibility of selecting gifts, organizing social events, preparing everyone's favorite food, and making certain that family, guests, and even the less fortunate have a merry Christmas. We felt overwhelmed if not resentful.

Sister Hinckley listened patiently, and then without the slightest edge of criticism in her voice said, “I love Christmas. It is the most joyful of all seasons. I love seeing the eyes of little children light up on Christmas morning. I love giving gifts. I love being with my family. We just need to simplify and remember what we are celebrating.”

After she had spoken, something magical happened. Our attitudes shifted, and we began to talk about the birth of our Savior and the spirit of giving. In the years that have passed since those words were spoken, a burden has been lifted for me during the holidays. As I shop, prepare food, and join with friends and family to celebrate the birth of our Savior, her words nurture and calm me. “I love Christmas,” I hear her say, and I let her teach me to relax and enjoy the season.

and from Marjorie Hinckley herself:

“I love everything about (Christmas). I know it has become too commercial. We would all agree. But perhaps in our particular culture, that is the way we have of showing that this is the most important day of the year. I love the street lights, the store decorations, the folks from the Salvation Army ringing their bells. Yes, even the crowds of Christmas shoppers, knowing that most of them are looking for something that might make someone happy. There is much of hustle and bustle, of gift wrapping, card sending, baking, housecleaning, phoning, and feeling concern about proper gifts for this one and that one. But the wonderful thing is that through it all there is an escalating awareness of the Savior.

We will, sure as anything, read again about His birth in Luke. We will sing and listen to all kinds of music about Him, from “Away in a Manger” to The Messiah. But what does it all mean if it doesn't do something to us inside? The words that always jump out at me are “Come, follow me.” What did Jesus do that we could follow him in doing?

Jesus went about doing good.He healed the leper, cast out devils, raised the dead. None of this can we do in just the same way. But in the environment we find ourselves in, there is so much we can do. There is no such thing as a small act of kindness. Acts of kindness come easily at Christmas. Our grandchildren are having a great time shopping for a family who cannot provide a Christmas for their children. But there are myriads of kindnesses we can do all through the year if we are alert to them.”

I share this with you today to hopefully give you a little boost. It will all work out. Maybe some things won’t get done exactly in the way or time you had hoped. Maybe some things need to be cut out. Maybe more service and giving could be added.

Yesterday I was out hanging cedar garland on my front porch and thinking how late I am getting it up and how I  was going to get my act together next year and I was even going to write myself a note on my phone calendar so I would be organized and do this MUCH earlier.  But then I asked myself: why?? Because everyone else on Instagram seems to have their houses ready, presents bought and wrapped, and having fabulous cozy family traditions? Who in the heck cares? It’s MY home, my family, my time, our traditions, and I have a huge part in the setting the mood of how it all FEELS.

And then I noticed how amazingly good the garland smelled! And I thought of how blessed I am to have money to spend on garland that will just go in the trash after Christmas. That I have a porch and health and people I love to find Christmas gifts for. And the means to help others around me. How blessed we are!!

So take a deep breath with me and let’s try to enjoy. The important things will come together. Take a break from things that may make you feel behind and that you’re not doing enough. What do you want to *remember* from this season? It’s a good question to ask. Happy Tuesday~ thanks for reading.


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