My last two blog posts were about a new way to do Christmas this year. I had a little ‘check in’ with myself last night because Christmas is only 10 days away and it’s so easy to get swept up in the activity of it all and forget some of the ways I wanted to do Christmas differently this year. So here are a few highlights of how Christmas has been different for me so far this year (in a good way!)…
Last Sunday, I participated in a stocking stuffer party. Instead of stuffing stockings, we stuffed donated purses FULL of items for women who are living on the streets or in homeless shelters this time of year. It was shocking to see the amount of supplies that was donated to this cause. I brought some hair accessories like bobby pins, hair elastics and hair clips. Almost every purse had the following: shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, pads, hair accessories, bracelets, a toque or headband, gloves, fuzzy socks, nail polish, nail files, hand sanitizer, hand/body lotion, razors, toothbrush, toothpaste, eye shadow, lipstick, a brush, and a bag full of candy/treats. We were able to pack 33 PURSES full of these things and we had TONS of stuff left over! We were also able to help donate two big boxes of things for children living in the shelters.
My friend Ashely hosted it and shared her heart about how special it is to be able to help these women and how we, with different life circumstances, could be these very women ourselves. She also shared how encouraging it is to see people helping others this time of year. She shared how a man came into the dollar store and bought 300 cooking trays because him and his church are cooking 300 turkeys to donate to families in need this Christmas. I was so touched by this whole experience. It really was such a highlight for me and I want to think of how I can be even more involved next year. The whole time I was there I kept thinking “THIS is what Christmas is all about.”
Another highlight, in my pursuit of doing Christmas differently this year, has been simplifying gifts. I’ve really been trying to think carefully about what I want to get people on my list. And I’m also brainstorming ways I can keep the gifts meaningful but affordable. It’s been amazing to see how, with just a bit of creativity, this really is possible! You can do Christmas on a tight budget and make it fun and meaningful.
We’ve also really been simplifying our Christmas plans with family and friends. We’ve kept our schedules open enough that we have time to spend with people, but we haven’t packed it SO full that we feel like we’re drowning. I’m genuinely looking forward to the time we have planned with family and friends in the upcoming weeks.
Another practice I’ve been doing with my husband is reading Advent devotionals together. We haven’t done it daily, but here and there, right before we go to bed, we’ll read one together out loud. In the next ten days, I hope to create more space for reflection.
How about you? How’s the season going so far? What words would you use to describe it? If words ike “busy” and “stressed” come to mind, I encourage you to think of the words that you WANT to define this season. Words like “peace” or “fun” or “family”…and then brainstorm ways you can practically and intentionally make those words a reality. It’s worth it!
I have some exciting updates to share about where life is taking us in the new year… God has been doing so much! But for now, I’ll just say…Merry (almost) Christmas! xoxo