Sisters’ Countdown to Christmas: Martha’s not coming, so have yourself a Not-So-Perfect little Christmas!

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christmas destress


T-minus seven days and counting until Christmas, and if you’ve been following this series and working on things a little bit at a time over the past few weeks, hopefully you’re in pretty good shape for the big day!  We’ve talked about budgeting, planning, and completing important tasks, but this week I want to bring things full-circle and focus once again on attitude to help you have a peaceful, stress-free Christmas.

Sometimes it’s so easy to get fixated on creating a picture-perfect holiday (whether for ourselves or to impress someone else), that we can lose sight of what’s really important.  I’ll confess that it’s happened too often in my own home, when we’re short on sleep and the schedule’s overly full, and I end up snapping at one of my kids or fussing over something insignificant.  I get tempted to shoo them out of the kitchen when I’m baking so the cookies can look pretty for our visitors, or worrying more about having a perfectly-picked-up house than the fact that my kids want to have some Christmas fun.  Not exactly the warm fuzzy Christmas spirit I want my kids to remember!

So here’s a resolution a few weeks early: Get over it.  Especially if you have little ones.  Martha Stewart is not coming to your house this holiday season.  Your kids don’t care whether there are fancy bows on the presents or whether the party food is symmetrically displayed.  They’ll delight and take pride in the weird-looking cookies they helped bake and decorate…the ones with so many sprinkles they’re crunchy :)  Not every moment needs to be Pinterest-picture perfect.  In fact, some of the most perfect Christmas memories I have are completely un-Pinterest-able.  Snuggles in jammies (with un-brushed hair and no makeup), laying around on Christmas day playing with toys, and keeping food & entertaining as simple as possible so we can focus on fun with our family and friends.

Need a little more inspiration to simplify?  Consider the baby whose birth we celebrate this season.  Although He was perfect, his surroundings at the time of his birth could be considered not up to the standard of perfection He deserved.  But He had all He needed–a mother’s love, special visitors, and thoughtful gifts.  When He got a little older, He told his friend Martha (a different one!) to quit fussing with the cooking and cleaning and spend time with Him.  Lessons to remember this holiday as we celebrate his birth with those we love! 


This week’s action plan:

Try to focus on the fun of Christmas rather than the nit-picky details, and if a Martha-wannabe comes over and looks judgy, feel free to explain the philosophy.  Perfection is not the objective.  Enjoying your holiday with your family is.  If you’re hosting a group, try to simplify food so you’re not slaving in the kitchen.  (My Christmas Day lasagna is already in the freezer waiting to get thrown in the oven…zero prep, zero cleanup, more play time!)  Invite the family to help with food prep, and make it part of the celebration.  Focus your time and energy on the things that really create memories–family traditions and quality time.  Try not to worry about appearances, and enjoy your special holiday with your family.

In case you missed them, here’s the rest of our Countdown to Christmas series:

Week One: Adjusting our Christmas planning philosophy

Week Two: Gift Giving Game Plan (includes printable gift guide)

Week Three: Planning ahead for Christmas cards

Week Four: Giving Homemeade Gifts

Week Five: Using Daily Deal sites

Week Six: Creative ways to help pay for Christmas

Week Seven: Start planning for Black Friday!

Week Eight: Decorating

Week Nine: Survive Thanksgiving

Week Ten: Details, Details

Week Eleven: Gift Buying Checkup

Week Twelve: That’s a Wrap!


 We’d love for you to Pin or share this series if you found it helpful this season! 


  1. Jennifer C. says:

    Thank you for your timely encouragement. Your thoughtful, gracious words are exactly what I needed to hear today. :) Merry Christmas, Sisters! Thank you for the blessing that you are to my family, all year long!

    • Jennifer, thank you for your kind words…it’s been something on my heart a lot lately, and as I reread it, I thought “this is probably more a reminder to myself than anyone else!” :) With my 4 kids under age 8, it’s not going to be perfect, but it can sure be a lot of fun! Merry Christmas to you too!


  1. [...] just four days away, and I’m sure some of us are feeling crunched for time.  On Tuesday, I shared a few thoughts about adjusting our attitudes so that we’re not putting the image of a picture-perfect [...]

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