1. Remember my New Year’s Day rant? “Worst. Family. Vacation. Ever.”

    Why? Because we did “what we always do.” What was expected of us. With extra stuff added in because People-Pleaser convinced me it was a good idea. Without pausing to consider if it was best for US.
    All on top of losing a parent (and I do so grieve with you there, dear friend).
    Makes for a lot of “angrief.”

    Somewhere in here (perhaps for next Christmas?) I’m hearing some kind of bully spoof set to “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Whaddya think?

    SO glad you had such a restful retreat. Good on ya!

  2. To make our Christmas bully free, I ignored the inner People Pleaser and my sister’s comment “everyone made an effort to be here except you” when I told my family that I would not be visiting over Christmas. The kids and I did not make an extra four hour round trip – we stayed home and played together and felt much more relaxed.

  3. Next year I will keep Christmas simpler — less presents more coupons for time with Grandma and more time with the family and remember what Christmas is — and next year Christmas is on Sunday and we WILL go to church and celebrate the REAL meaning of the Christmas season…

  4. Leigh Bramante says:

    Instead of the Italian tradition of ravioli for Christmas dinner at OUR house (the way it’s been for over 25 years) we did what our grown married children wanted. Spent 2 days at our oldest son’s home, ate shrimp and crab linguini, and enjoyed ourselves! If you only knew the history of ingrained tradition, you would understand how amazing this was, but I really believe you already do 🙂

  5. This Christmas was one of the quietest and restful we’ve ever had. After having major things planned every single weekend but one from November to mid-December including birthday parties, trips and hosting a large Thanksgiving, I just needed a break. The four of us (hubby, me, son and daughter) celebrated with just us. Oh performancism and perfectionism, did show up..and still is asking if I’m really not going to…….. or I can’t believe you would choose to rest over …….But I choose to enjoy and rest with less and we are all the better for it. Still enjoying our laid-back break!

  6. 1. This year we had my husband’s sister & her kids down from another state. It was a long trip and they flew, which was expensive for them, but so lovely for my kids & us all to catch up again. It’s been years since we had a Christmas together. We had a picnic in the park one day, instead of going to the beach, as it was stormy looking weather. I didn’t stress, just rolled with it. My oldest son cooked the BBQ dinner, & my sister-in-law & I played with the kids. We had a lovely time. There is a bus at the park and a pretend Cafe, petrol station (do you say gas?..this is Australia). On Christmas day we celebrated with a feast downstairs, Lamb, baked potatoes, Turkey, Pork, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, broccoli, veggies. It was awesome. Everyone pitched in to help cook, clean. I loved having family time.
    2. I think having a massive de-cluttering effort to a few rooms in my house would help simplify & sweeten this next year. My daughter & I attacked her room at some stage this year & got rid of so much junk! Emotionally too. We moved furniture and simplified it. She loves it & so do I! So I envisage this with other rooms to strengthen & solidify our relationships & make everything run smoothly.

  7. I have 12 braver steps I am looking forward to accomplishing next year. Every month I will focus on one braver goal for me to become the person God wants me to be. Here is my tentative goals. I say tentative because if the Holy Spirit shows me something else I want to be able to change.
    January- less talking – more listening
    February- Less planning- more doing
    March- Less soda- more Tea
    April- Less Junk Food – More salads
    May- Less Complaining – More encouraging
    June- Less Worrying – More Praying
    July – Less Doubting – More Believing
    August- Less lazing around- More working out
    September- Less Frowning – More Smiling
    October-Less insecurity -more Trust
    November Less weakness- More Confidence
    December Less ignorance- More understanding

    1. What a wonderful idea, Laura! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I loved your post and have often dreamed of a Christmas like that. This year we let family know what would work for us. When we had issues with an injured dog, we graciously accepted family’s offer to shift Christmas to January. Only used the Christmas decorations that we loved the most and left the rest in their boxes.

    I really want to let go of Perfectionism, People-Pleasing and Performance in 2016 but realize that it will be hard. After 50+ years of trying to be perfect and make everyone happy by performing, those P’s are hard to lose.

    Happy New Year!

  9. Xochi E. Dixon says:

    Cheri, I’m so sorry about your mom. We lost my mom in October 2014, so we’re still fresh into the grieving process. With my own healing journey rounding into year four, and a nasty bug catching me the week before Christmas, I was so thankful we’d already decided on another quiet Christmas with our grown kids.

    Unfortunately, my husband and son work on Christmas Eve. But, because of my husband’s work schedule, we made rules years ago to protect our down time on Christmas day.

    We say no to invitations. We even chose to miss Christmas Eve service this year.

    We pass on parties after Christmas, too. Although one friend tried to guilt me into changing my mind.

    This year we did, however, enjoy a spontaneous dinner with friends when dropping off gifts on Christmas Eve. Casual. No fuss. It was nice.

    I’m glad we chose to do our normal quiet Christmas day. We hung out after opening thoughtful gifts and watched movies while dozing off. Six adults and two dogs snoozing in front of the TV was a gift to me.

    Unfortunately, the quiet Christmas still included dinner. Because I was sick, my hubby did all the work. But after 2pm, we all enjoyed some down time.

    Next year, God willing, I’d like to help my hubby cook dinner on Christmas Eve so we can warm up food on Christmas day. I’d like to find an easy breakfast casserole so it can bake while we read the Bible and open presents.

    Christmas has always been a relaxed time for us. We’ve always kept it family only, no travel. We avoid extra events, unless it involves doing something with our kids.

    But next Christmas, I would like to avoid cooking on Christmas day. I may not be able to convince the family that frozen burritos are a good replacement, but at least I can count on all of them to pitch in with the cooking ahead of time.

    Thanks for the encouragement to make another change that can bless us with more restoring moments, not just for the holidays but for the whole year.

    Praying for you as you grieve the loss of your mom.

  10. I’m so glad you had such a nice Christmas after a hard year 🙂 It was the usual craziness around my place…people-pleasing everywhere. You’ve inspired me with this post…next year will be different!

  11. I did not allow my insecurities steal my joy from my Christmas at my in laws! I enjoyed my nephew and delicious food and watching my kids open their gifts, but did not allow others to steal that joy!

  12. We gave our older children “experiences” instead of gifts this Christmas. Dinner and tickets to a SF Giants baseball game for one, flight ground school for another child, personal tour of Google (via friend who works there) with a visit to the San Jose Tech museum for yet another. Saved all kinds of time not running hither and yon for items no one really needs (or wants, for that matter)!

    Merry Christmas!

  13. I decided in November that I would not buy one present, or hang one Christmas ornament. I asked my 14-year-old daughter and my husband to share the leadership of Christmas festivities and they gladly accepted the task. They planned the Christmas dinner, shopped for a few gifts, shopped in stores and on the internet and filled stockings. I did not give any opinions or criticisms. We did not have a decorated tree this year as they could not seem to find the ornaments nor agree that the artificial tree was in decent shape to decorate. This was not an issue for me. In the end, because I felt led to, I did buy a few gifts two days before Christmas including some items for myself which I had been putting off, and also ordered 16 Christmas picture cards for our immediate family and closest friends. After mailing those out, I felt I had done what I wanted to do, and then ordered myself one last present: a new journaling Bible and highlighters just so I would be prepared for my new Bible reading journey with a friend. This felt like putting the star on top of the Christmas tree to me because it fit with my New Year’s goal to “seek ye first the kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” I do not know if I will be involved in Christmas festivities next year, but I do know that I will not be doing it if I do not want to or feel others expecting me to do it. I will only do what I have the energy and desire to do, with the focus on what the Holy Spirit leads me to do, allowing none of the unwanted guests you mentioned in my head or in my home. This is how I managed to have a perfectionist-free, bully-free Christmas. I enjoyed hearing about yours because it confirmed my own choices as just what my heart needed to do. May God bless us both as we learn new habits and live the abundant life with living water of the Holy Spirit refreshing, illuminating, guiding, confirming and encouraging us always.

  14. This year, I chose to ‘stop’ running around several days before Christmas and while there was ‘still time’ to do ‘more’. After getting gifts in the mail to our family in CA, I felt myself deeply desiring to be ‘done’ with the shopping, driving, running around. Even when it came to the holiday meals, I chose to simplify and involve my husband a bit in the planning so that I would not be so totally ‘spent’. We had a lovely, relaxing Christmas with our ‘almost grown’ sons who fully appreciated all that we did/gave them and felt like it was ‘more than enough’. Like an epidural during childbirth, quitting before I was completely depleted, allowed me to dwell on and enjoy ‘advent’ and rest at the feet of our Savior whose birth we celebrate!

  15. We chose to either not invite certain people or to go to others home so when things got bad we could quitely leave. No bullies or pressure.

  16. We set clear boundaries this year for our family. We sat and planned (in advance) what we wanted our holiday season to look like for the two of us and our two boys and then we made it happen. Everything was in reason, with a goal of simplicity and spending time together. We let our extended family know that we wanted to get together with them and when it would work and went from there. My husband and I sat and talked last night and I asked him what he would have changed about this year’s celebration and he said, “Nothing, not a thing.” That is a victory!

  17. 1. With colds abounding on Christmas, we had turkey chili for dinner and spent the day on the couch watching Christmas movies. So very different, but it was going to be different anyway, as the first one since my mother-in-law passed away suddenly over the summer
    2. To make 2016 a focus on me. The people-pleaser in me has exhausted the last bit of energy in the tank and I recognize that this year has to be about taking care of me.

  18. Kimberly Bridgeman says:

    Instead of buying 15 small gifts (that add up$$) for people that don’t need anything, I send a donation to World Vision of 2 chickens and 5 ducks to a family in Botswana in their names. Everyone agreed that it was a lovely gift. It was a win, win win.

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