*8Things for a Peaceful Holiday

8things from Magpie Girl

It the Christian tradition, the season before Christmas is called “Advent,” meaning “to come.” It is season of preparation, and a time to wait.

Regardless of your spiritual tradition, this time of year is indeed a time of waiting. Waiting for the Light, for presents, for the arrival of loved ones. Waiting to see the smile on your child’s face when gifts are opened. Waiting to kindle the candles of Hanukkah, or for the return of the Light at Solstice. Waiting to pass on traditions at Kwanzaa, or for the arrival of baby at Christmas.

But all too often this Advent season turns into a season not of waiting, but of rushing. Rushing to the store, to make cookies, to clean house, to wrap, to rehearse,  to dress-up, to attend.

I love a little hustle and bustle. It’s fun!  But a little holiday bustle can go a long way.  Over all, I like the holiday season to be peaceful and intentional. I want it to be ripe with meaning and lush with memories. 

Over the years I’ve developed a trick to help keep our holidays happy, but not hustling; joyful and peaceful. You guessed it, it’s a list! Each year I write out the *8Things we must do this holiday season. Writing a list of the most important moments empowers me to say “NO” to the rest. Every time my eager-beaver mind draws me to another craft project or an additional adorable downtown Christmas event, I return to my list. If that new thing threatens my ability to make one of my essentials happen, I say goodbye. I wait for another year. After the season is over, I tack my list to my calendar for the next December — when we’ll keep some items, and trade out some others — adapting our traditions each year as our household alters.

Here’s my *8Things for a Peaceful Holiday  list for this year. 

1. Make a meaningful gift for the immediate family members. (Hello Burb.com!)
2. Bake Paul’s favorite Christmas cookie.
3. Sing with the Copenhagen Gospel Singers, and the Jr. Gospel Singers.
4. Bake muffins once a week to get Catie out of bed through the dark season.
5. Light the Advent wreath. Pass on the story.
6. Dole out the Christmas picture books at the breakfast table, one each day through Advent.
7. Show my parents the hyggliet bits of a Danish Jule.
8. Decorate the tree and set a pretty table Christmas Eve.

What’s NOT on the list:stay up too late making a zillion kinds of cookies; attend every cool event in town; make an elaborate meal and collapse with a migraine before I can eat it; stress out trying to finish handmade gifts at the last minute (tho I will buy handmade as much as possible!); spend more than I can afford on presents; stress out trying to get everyone dressed and out the door to a zillion church services.

What’s on your *8Things for a Peaceful Holiday list? What do you need to do to make your holiday season meaningful? What would make it something to savor? And just as importantly, what can you leave off the list? Do tell us in the comments, or grab a button and play along by leaving your permalink in the list below. Thanks for being here, and Happy Advent!

Grow your gratitude. Live Satisfied. Join us on Facebook for our weekly *8things roundup.

Bethany November 26, 2009 at 1:24 pm

I love, love, love your perspective on this. Slowing down enough to enjoy the holidays is not a skill I have mastered yet, but I CAN make lists (i.e., I have a passionate love affair with list-making), and this just might be the ticket to a Christmas we can get nostalgic about.

Sheila Cain-Sample November 26, 2009 at 2:47 pm

I think lists are very important and they keep us honest. If you write it down you tend to follow it, they are a kind of guide line.

I love to decorate for the holidays, a little every day. One thing that is on my list is Croissants for Christmas morning, my boys look so forward to them.

kazari November 27, 2009 at 12:57 am

This list really called to me – I had to play : )
This is going to be a very strange christmas for us I think. But hopefully strange, peaceful and wonderful.
With my baby due on December 23, there will never be another one like it.

Sheri December 3, 2009 at 12:55 am

Saw this over at Carmen’s creative minds in the collective…I have put out an invite to my community to write about simple traditions to be guest bloggers. Would you like me to feature 8 things? I’d love to! xxoo

kazari December 3, 2009 at 5:32 am

hmmm.. i just realised my link in mr linky doesn’t work. sorry.

Bonnie December 3, 2009 at 6:41 pm

First I want to express gratitude for (I know this will sound strange) John Bodely who introduced me to a book titled Small is Beautiful, which led to Rachelle’s Small is Beautiful Manifesto, which led me here…and to many other beautiful blogs–Thank you Rachelle!!!

8 things for a peaceful holiday in my world:
1. Making caramel from grandma’s recipe and mailing some to my son.
2. Sending homemade cards to the special people in my life.
3. Enjoying small gatherings.
4. Keeping the candles lit.
5. Recognizing the beauty in the things that seem overdone and chaotic to me with awareness of how it’s important to someone else.
6. Finding or making special gifts.
7. Finding creative wrappings.
8. Decorating the tree.

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