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Notes to self for Christmas 2023 <3


This is almost a part two to yesterday’s post because I want to remember some things that happened this year so I can grow in some areas next year. 

BUT … before I even start with my thoughts, I just listened to a podcast by Ruth Chou Simons and Eve Stipes that I want to share. They are doing a series to start the New Year about ways to “preach to yourself” if you struggle with motivation.

I feel seen, heard and understood. 

In this first session, Ruth and Eve share reasons why they or others may not be excited entering a new year. Ruth is candid about her struggles with setting goals and a lot of what both women said spoke to me. 

They discuss how our emotions, our sin (not trusting God, comparing ourselves to others and losing sight of our calling and/or not seeking the right motivation) can undermine us as we strive to be motivated but fail. So if you are struggling as you start a new year or if someone you love struggles, this is an offering of some good insight into our human tendencies. 

Podcast can be found here —> https://gracelaced.com/pages/the-gracelaced-podcast-with-ruth-chou-simons

Now for today, here are some things that we did that worked well and I want to continue or just improve upon for next year.



I have always done the cards for Christmas. Russ has a good amount of say in who we continue to send to over the years and approval of any photos or written words, but I order, address, stamp and mail them. 

This year as we received the shipment of our cards, Russ cautiously offered to help. 

If you know me, I don’t delegate well.

Oh sure, if a job is something I really stink at like mowing the lawn, or going to involve a large degree of work and conflict like kids filling out college applications, I am totally fine with being hands off.


But if it is a task I consider under my job description or under my area of control, I am not very good at team projects. Since I knew it took a fair amount of courage for him to speak up, because my family is quite clear about knowing this side of me… I kind of took a deep breath and said that would be nice.

With him being retired, we have been navigating sharing some things that were usually all under my work assignments so I am learning to rethink my terrible attitude about accepting help.

I realized it was foolish for me to insist on doing something that really takes a lot of my time during the holidays and while I enjoy addressing the cards and thinking about friends and family we only connect with at Christmas, God alerted me to the fact that maybe Russ would also enjoy that experience and it was one less thing for me to finish in December. 

So I handed over the address book and stamps and return labels, explained my system and walked away. 

It was awesome. 

He worked diligently on them and consulted with me about people he wasn’t sure we send to anymore. I thanked him repeatedly and I am not sure he yet knows what a burden this was that he lifted off my plate. But he definitely will be doing them again next year.



Shopping early. 

In late October I went with a friend for a day of shopping and while I did get a few things for Christmas, I want to remember next year that these days are golden for purchasing friend gifts, stocking stuffers and a couple of little extras for hostess gifts and such. 

I never got back to the stores we visited where I had intended to return and complete some of my buying. Shopping early also enhances my goal to shop local. As the holidays build up steam, it is too easy to order off Amazon. Sometimes that is a necessary evil, but early shopping means more time for thoughtful purchases from local businesses – both small and the larger stores that service our communities. 



Never ever did I think I would say this, but decorate early.

At least get the tubs out and start with small items the week of Thanksgiving. 

I love fall and I love Thanksgiving but time has taught me that there is just not enough time to decorate and enjoy the festivities. This year we planned a gathering of some new friends the first weekend of December. This forced me to put out whatever our Christmas house would look like, put the boxes away and be done. 

It was a huge blessing to not overthink. 



Make some set menus. 

I am a home ec major and preparing food and serving people at our table is my love language. 

So my hope is to take some days this winter and research recipes and foods that pair well together and make a “menu packet” for not just Christmas but other times when we would like to host people for some food and fellowship. 

Several years ago I started a new recipe binder of recipes I am trying. I plan to use that to put together ideas for entertaining in 2023.



Plan a picture for the Christmas card. 

Good grief. 

Is there anything more frustrating than having 17,000 plus pictures on your phone and not one suitable for a card?

But best laid plans…I did tell everyone I wanted a family picture before we started any Christmas festivities this year. The last one we were able to get has a stack of games on the mantel behind our heads and no Caroline.

Oh wait. We do have one of all of us in our popper crowns from a couple of years ago. 

Anyway. I digress. 

So with the family photo in mind and thinking maybe I could just use it for next year’s card, imagine my face when the front door burst open with the arrival of the last of our crew and a cry that one of them had a bloody nose.

Thus the kitchen turned into triage as we saved the new football jersey from staining, whilst stopping the flow of blood. 

We finally got a picture later and this is the best we could do.


Rocco was a bit uncooperative, but bless his heart he had several commands being given by various humans and he was just done with us. 


That’s an official wrap on Christmas thoughts. 

Time to take the tree down and finish off some more of our stash of snacks…sigh…see you tomorrow <3

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