December 14, 2013

Saying No at Christmastime Means Saying Yes To Familytime

This year we are saying no. No to the extra things that distract us from the meaning of this blessed season. No to the things that rush us, and stress us and make us feel anxious. I am finding the older I get, the less I want. Less fuss. Less rush. Less craziness this time of year.

We are saying no to our annual Christmas party. For years we have hosted a gathering with friends before Christmas. It is not elaborate, but it is time-consuming. We have a Fourth of July party with the same people, so perhaps it is not really no...just see you later.

We are saying no to the Christmas Cookie Exchange I have always dreamed of hosting. Someday I want to wear an apron and invite a few friends over to visit and sip tea and swap cookies. But not now. Not this year.

Perhaps the biggest no we are giving this year is to Steve's family Christmas. Steve is the youngest of seven. Many of the grandchildren now have children of their own. We had to move the party to a lodge to accommodate everyone. It is held the Sunday before Christmas every year. And every year since 1987 Steve and I have attended. Not this year. Last year Flynn got sick two days after and was in the Emergency Room on Christmas morning. ( I realize that getting sick can sometimes be unavoidable, but I am not taking any chances.) We also get together with the family in late August every year. And we will be sure to attend then. My own family gave up trying to get everyone together years ago. We are going to spend the day of the party here at home...the six of us...baking cookies for ourselves and for some special people in our lives. : )

Why are we saying no? We are actually saying yes to our family. I want my children to have memories of a peaceful, meaningful, blessed Advent leading up to Christmas. I don't want them to remember rushing here and there, or having a stressed out mother, or jammed packed days that flew right by. This time passes quickly enough, and for us, the best way to enjoy it now is here in our home with family fun and Christmas music and snuggles on the sofa with cocoa and movies.

What else are we enjoying this Christmas here at home?

Christmas treat baking...

Little People playing...

Christmas book reading...

Favorite toy playing...

New Holiday Barbie introducing...

Hershey Kiss sneaking...

Christmas movie watching...

and Activity book coloring. : )

This works for us, right here...right now...
Have a Blessed Season, my dear friends.


  1. You are a very wise woman/family. These special times do pass entirely too quickly, so it is wise to enjoy, treasure them while you still can. We did the same with our children when they were young and I dont regret one minute of it. God bless you and yours.

  2. In total agreeance. We have always hosted..never ever have been invited to the reindeer yr..we made the difficult decision to just say no. And you know what? Family & friends..were really not that friendly after all. Oh, my husbands uncle & his family invited us up to the family farm, not that we need an invite..but that was kindness from the heart. And being in a new place/state..we just realized that we doing all those things to please this post..and I had thought of voicing my opinion on this very subject. So glad I am not the only one. BLESSINGS dear friend. Merry Christmas to you. the Holiday Barbie being introduced and love your kitchen!!!

  3. I know the feeling of not wanting anyone sick for Christmas. On Christmas last year, Cecilia was really cranky at my parents house, so I took her to a back room to try to nurse her and she would not stop screaming no matter what I did, so I left through a back door and went home with her and left John Paul and the kids there. She ended up having a really bad double ear infection and high fever. I cried and cried that evening being home alone with a sick baby on Christmas. I'm just glad now she got better quickly and I'm sorry it was so bad for Flynn that she had to go to the hospital.

    You're so right. We need to slow down and just enjoy being together!

  4. I'm completely with you on saying No to all the extra parties and family gatherings. I'm so much of a homebody especially this time of year and I want nothing more than spending weekends inside the home baking, reading or watching Christmas movies, soaking it all in before it's all gone!

  5. You are so wise, it is so hard to say no. We said a great big no years ago when we moved away from the town my husband and I are both from. We could either have the life we both wanted or be close to family. We realized we had to do what is best for the family we are creating together. So very hard to miss our extended family and not be there to give snd receive support, but it has meant we said a great big yes to raising our little ones the best way we know how. I hope you and your family have a peaceful and beautiful Christmas together!

  6. I TOTALLY hear you on this! We made a decision in the beginning of our marriage to make memories that would help our family to focus on the REAL meaning of this beautiful Holiday. I feel up till now we've been trying hard to stay true to that and as I watch so many others "rush rush rush" through this season and get sucked into what the world has made us "think" Christmas is all about, I'm happy that we are peacefully trying to keep the focus at home. As I write this I just finished hanging a few Christmas lights outside ("for Jesus' BIRTHDAY! Ava always says) as the snow of our "2nd snow" has begun to fall. Daddy held the girls by the window as they watched the snow and now little Clara is sleeping and Ava is calling me to sit with her on the couch and watch "Miracle on 34th street". Is there anything sweeter than a two year old in pigtails calling "Mommy come sit with me?" Enjoy your peaceful season. xo!

  7. Billie Jo, I think you all are very wise to limit your "yes-es" especially since you do see everyone at least once a year. Years ago, we would host a big 4th of July bbq. Destressing around Christmas just makes it nicer for everyone! Have a lovely night.

  8. Peace. That's what your wise decision making is saying yes to as well. Good job up there in PA! YOu know, time is moving so quickly that you need to be spending these precious moments with your family. Before you know it, they'll be grown and moving on. I think it will come before we want it to. Enjoy this peace and family time!

  9. SO so so smart you are. (A little Yoda there)

    I loved this. I totally "get" you. I'm sure people would think us crazy for not rushing around like crazy, but I like it...and it's still a little crazy. We stay home for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day...I can't wait. (we go to Christmas Eve Mass) I love just having no place to go and nothing to do except be with each other.

    It's funny, even with trying not to go crazy running everywhere, I am still busy....

    I need to think about this and change some things though. Thanks for the beautiful insightful post.

    I'm off to bed...just finished wrapping presents!!

  10. I do love this post! We are also cutting way back on things like parties and gift sending I will cut back even more next year. I went to one party this year that last three hours on a weeknight and it just stressed me out so I am for sure saying no to that one next year. I do love how you are evaluating each gathering and deciding if it works and adds to your holiday. Memories of time at home on Christ is so special....I also have a question for you...can a non-Catholic attend mass on Christmas Eve? I went once when I was a teen and enjoyed the focus and celebration on Christ. Our church does not hold Christmas Eve services. Thanks so much!

    1. Deb, not sure if you will be back--you can go to Mass anytime!! You can even go up at Communion time and cross your arms and get a blessing (you cannot receive the Eucharist though)!

  11. Perfect post! Love your say no. It's hard especially when it involves family but I find that I have to also. Because you're right, saying no is really a yes! Enjoy all of that coziness friend and I'll be taking the warm and fuzzy feelings from your post with me this season as we say no to a few things. Thanks for sharing,

  12. Hi Billie Jo! I echo the sentiments in your comments. It can be hard to say no, you feel like you're letting someone down. But you are making good choices for your family, so what can be better than that? It's a hectic time of year, and where does all that stress get you?

    I'm all for avoiding the ER, especially on Christmas. Poor little kid. I hope you are enjoying the peace your decision gives you.

  13. Perfect! I think as our kids get older we realize how fast the season goes and if you are busy trying to make everything perfect you miss the real meaning of the season. The kids are not going to remember anything but the traditions and special memories you make during this time.

  14. I know that as my kids are getting older it has become more difficult to make it to the larger family gatherings. We are getting together after Christmas this year and I really like that. We lived in VA far away from family for so long that we've become accustomed to 'just us' so I welcome the opportunity to be with family yet I really understood what you mean here. I'm trying to keep our schedule full of what we want, and to stay away from busy. The ice storm certainly helped set the pace and for that I am very thankful!

  15. Hello again,
    First, I want to thank you for following my blog. How nice.
    I think what you are doing is grand. Your immediate family is the most important. We also used to have very large family gatherings for the holiday. But it got to be too much and very stressful. Then we began having a simple holiday with just our children. It has been wonderful and memorable. We still get together with family, but we don't feel that it needs to be on a holiday.
    All these little activities that you are doing with your children are extremely precious. God bless your time together.

    I have joined your blog.
    :) Hope

  16. This is really sweet!
    Thanks for the reminder to slow down.
    I'm sure it will be such a special Christmas for you all!


Thanks so much for saying hello!

Billie Jo