4 Ways to Keep the Christmas Crazies Out of Your House

The Christmas Crazies are out! I’ve seen them all over the place and I bet you have too.

Christmas Crazies tell you things like:

  • Give the biggest gift under the tree
  • Find the perfect gift
  • Make your table Instagram-worthy

And Christmas Crazies tell you that you need:

  • Top-rated Christmas decorating ideas
  • Christmas light ideas that will top your neighbor’s house
  • Holiday essentials for the perfect party

You know what I mean, don’t you?

Christmas Crazies make you sigh when you look at your lopsided tree. Christmas Crazies keep you up at night figuring out how to top last year’s gift list and how to pay for it. Christmas Crazies send you into the craft store even when the lines are beyond unbelievable because you have to have just the right ribbon to finish off the presents. Christmas Crazies glue you to Pinterest to find the party ideas that will make you the Christmas party hostess of the century.

But even worse, Christmas Crazies wear you down from lack of sleep and too much multi-tasking. Christmas Crazies make you look at your husband and children as hurdles to jump on your way to the perfect Christmas. Christmas Crazies make you care more about impressing your guests than about enjoying time with your friends.

To sum it up, Christmas Crazies can either completely ruin your Christmas or come very close to it.

I know. I’ve been there. I’ve stayed up ridiculously late on Christmas Eve finishing up hand-crafted presents that my toddlers would soon forget. I’ve worried over Christmas Eve menus and Christmas morning brunch menus and Christmas Day dinner menus until there was so much food that half of it was wasted. I’ve worked very hard to decorate my house for people I didn’t have time to invite over.

I’ve had more than my fair share of run-ins with the Christmas Crazies.

And I’ve come to see that there are at least four ways to keep the Christmas Crazies out of my house – yours too.

  1. Keep the whole thing in perspective. Is making yourself stressed out and irritable for the whole of December and probably part of November really worth a couple of hours on Christmas Eve and a couple more on Christmas Day? Yes, it is such a precious and holy time, but does that justify hours and days and weeks of shopping and cooking and list-making and driving and worrying? Would your Christmas really fall apart if it didn’t live up to your ideas of the perfect Christmas?
  2. Know what is enough. One year my husband and I went totally out of our minds with the gift giving. We bought our four kids everything and anything. We charged those credit cards right up to the limit. There were piles of presents everywhere. I don’t know what was wrong with us that year but I can tell you that it wasn’t worth it. We needed to know what was enough and we needed to teach our kids what was enough. Now, years later, I love the idea of giving one thing to wear, one thing to play with, and one thing to read. Your enough may be something different, but find out what it is and stick with it – no matter what your friends may do, no matter what your sisters may do – stick with enough.
  3. Take the Tenth Commandment seriously. I know – the Ten Commandments are not so popular nowadays. Everybody’s afraid of being labeled a legalist if they try to follow them and nobody wants to memorize them anymore, but if you are serious about warding off the Christmas Crazies, you need to know and follow number ten. And what is number ten? You shall not covet. In today’s language – don’t spend hours on Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest drooling over what somebody else owns or has created. Stop it! Be content with what you have. Be content with what God has given you.
  4. Remember the simplicity of the first Christmas. Get quiet and come back to the basics. What are we really doing at Christmas but celebrating a very simple, unassuming birth of a peasant child? Mary and Joseph probably would have liked a roof and four walls and some privacy. They probably would have liked to have a real bed for their baby. But the God of the universe had chosen a different way for the King of Kings to enter the world. No fuss was made. No decorations were put up. Pinterest was not consulted. Just a mom and a dad and a brand new baby in a dirty old stable with smelly animals. Now, do you really want to let the Christmas Crazies steal that simple story away from you and your family?

I know you don’t. So let’s keep it in perspective, let’s figure out what is enough, let’s be content, and above all, let’s remember that very first, very simple Christmas. And we’ll send those Christmas Crazies packing!

Lady, I’m Thankful For You

thankfulI’m sure you’ve had this experience – you know, the one where God makes sure that you keep hearing the same idea over and over again in a short period of time. You hear it from different sources – sometimes a book, sometimes a sermon, sometimes a chance remark – but it’s the same every time.

It’s been happening to me for the past two weeks and it’s been LOUD.

Well, maybe it just sounds loud to me, because I’m an introvert and an idea like this is going to have to be loud for me to hear it.

God has been telling me that I need godly ladies to look up to and follow and that I need to be that godly lady for younger women. Yes, I know it’s nothing new. It’s actually even in the Bible, but have you looked at the way we live these days? We run in and out of church with a “How are you?” and “Fine!” We drive up to our houses with maybe a wave at a neighbor before we drive into our garages and let the door down. We go to the grocery store without speaking a word because – self-service lane!

But then God does something like sending you to a grandparents’ conference where you are reminded of the people who are twenty or thirty years older than you – the people who have given sermons and written books that you realize have influenced the way you live your life and raise your families. And then you read books – books like Giddy Up, Eunice by Sophie Hudson in which you are reminded of women like Elizabeth and Mary, Ruth and Naomi, and Lois and Eunice who needed each other and supported each other and were used by God.

So, besides being convicted like crazy that I need to be aware of how much I need to need other women both younger and older, I am also very thankful for all the women who have spoken into my life, many of whom don’t even know that they have.

Lady, I’m thankful for you!

  • Mom
  • Grandma
  • Aunt Annie
  • Mrs. Haas
  • Mrs. Frank
  • Linda S.
  • Linda B.
  • Gladys
  • Martha G.
  • Ruth Ann M.
  • Sheila B.
  • Mrs. Moss
  • Francie
  • +a bunch whose names (I’m embarrassed to say) escape me
  • +a whole gang of writers and speakers

Ladies, I’m thankful for you and I promise to do my best to let God do with me what He has done so beautifully with you.


Photography by Freely Photos


So Grandparents Matter After All

Four and a half years ago Jim and I became grandparents for the first time. We were so excited! We couldn’t wait to meet that very special little girl.

Now, because I am a reader, I started looking for books on grandparenting, hoping especially for books on Christian grandparenting. The results were discouraging. I found one book for grandparents. One. And it wasn’t even very good. Disappointing! Did that mean that our role as grandparents really was just to spoil them, fill them up on sugar, and send them home? Couldn’t grandparents be more than that?

Four years later we got an answer to that question when we registered for a conference we had never heard of before.

Today we had the opportunity to go to that conference, the very first Legacy Grandparenting Summit – the first national conference on Christian grandparenting ever held.

I heard things there that I had never heard before.

  • Grandparents are the second most important influence in kids’ lives – second only to their parents.
  • Grandparenting is found over and over again in the Bible where grandparents are instructed to pass on the faith to their son’s sons.
  • Grandparents are to recount the God stories of their families’ lives and to repeat and repeat and repeat them.
  • Grandparents are to be intentional spiritual storytellers.
  • Grandparents have been there and done that and so have what their grandchildren want and need.
  • Grandparents must consider the legacy they are passing on to their families.

In other words, our kids may be out of the nest. We may have more time to do what we want to do. We may have more money to do what we want to do.


our calling to train up the next generation has not ended. It’s just our role in the adventure that has changed. It’s not time to check out of family life so that we can work on the bucket list. Instead, it’s time to get up and get going.

Today was a good day of learning that grandparents do matter after all, and that’s just today. We have two more days of conference to go!

(Oh, and I came home with a nice stack of books on…can you guess? Grandparenting!)


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