Do you break out in hives just thinking about the craziness and chaos that comes with Christmas? It doesn’t have to be that way. Inspirational authors Cara Putman, Sarah Sundin, and Tricia Goyer share about Christmas’ past in their new novella collection Where Treetops Glisten. Their three stories “White Christmas,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” will take you back to war-time 1942, 1943, and 1944. The authors have also teamed up to give tips on simplifying Christmas this year! Join us December 1-6 on Not Quite Amish Living for the Simplifying Christmas series.
12 Tips to Turn Chaos to Wonder
by Sarah Sundin
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! We long to fill our homes with red and green, with pine and holly, and the smells of cinnamon and vanilla. But in the process we often find ourselves depressed, stressed, irritable, and in debt.
Food and decorations create a festive mood and wonderful memories, but they take a great portion of our time and energy. While writing my novella for Where Treetops Glisten, I was struck by the relative simplicity of Christmas in World War II. Rationing changed menus, shortages meant fewer decorations for sale, and many women had jobs outside the home and less time to prepare for the holidays. Overall, Christmas in the 1940s was simpler—fewer gifts, fewer decorations, and simpler food—but no less meaningful.
So what can we do to simplify here and now?
1) Remember Why
Why are we decorating, cooking, and baking in the first place? To celebrate Christ’s birth. If our work tears us away from this purpose, we need to re-evaluate. When my children were little, I’d remind them—and myself—why we did things. The lights remind us that Jesus is the Light of the World. We give cookies to our neighbors because God gave His Son to us.
2) Embrace—and Trim
I love to bake—but I’m not crafty. Therefore, I make lots of cookies from scratch, but I use the same store-bought decorations every year. Embrace the things you love, the things that bring you joy and bring joy to others. But the things you don’t care for—feel free to trim them back or eliminate them—without guilt!
3) Evaluate Before Adding
That darling handcrafted centerpiece! Twenty-five clever ways to display your Elf on a Shelf! That complicated but tempting new turkey recipe! Cookies decorated like miniature works of art! We see these things in our friends’ homes or on Pinterest, and we’re ready to jump on board and add another item to our Christmas to-do list. Take a moment and think. Do you have the time, money, energy? Do you really need to add something new? Will you truly love doing it? What can you remove from your list in its place? Are you considering it just to fit in or to impress others?
4) Less Is More
Last year a family emergency forced us to simplify Christmas. Our kids all agreed the tree was a necessity, and I wove a lighted garland around the banisters put the Christmas linens on the table. That was about all we did. Yet those simple decorations had big impact, and you couldn’t really tell we hadn’t put up a lot of decorations. If you want to simplify your decorating, look for those high-impact items and trim back the knickknacks.
5) Treasure Tradition
Often we feel pressured to buy or make trendy new decorations or recipes. If you adore making crafts or trying new recipes, go ahead! If not, it’s all right to resist the trends and treasure the traditions. My children love seeing the same ornaments every year and telling the same stories.
Stop by NotQuiteAmishLiving.com to get the other tips and read the story and download the printable!
Where Treetops Glisten Gift Basket Giveaway!
My publisher has created three wonderful gift baskets. To enter to win this basket, please use the Rafflecopter form below (U.S. only). Also find the additional giveaways (and read more great tips to simplify Christmas!) on Sarah Sundin’s blog and Cara Putman’s blog!
Each basket contains:
Copy of Where Treetops Glisten
Christmas DVD – Holiday Inn Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire
Christmas CD (includes all the book title songs) – “A Jolly Christmas” Frank Sinatra
Apron made from vintage pattern
Recipe cards from each character