Today I’m celebrating my friend Rachel Olsen and her new book “My One Word,” co-authored with her pastor Mike Ashcraft. “My One Word” was released just this week, and I’m thrilled to let you know that Rachel is giving away a copy of her book to one of my blog readers!
I’ll tell you how to enter at the bottom of the post. But first I want you to hear from Rachel’s heart. She has some wonderful advice to share.
Here’s Rachel …
It seemed like once I had kids, trying to do the holidays “well” sent me into mach warp speed.
And into virtual hiding come December 26th.
There were fun traditions to do. Decorating the tree together. Baking Christmas cookies. Making gingerbread houses. Opening an Advent calendar. Stringing popcorn or cranberries. Watching Christmas movies with hot cocoa. Caroling. Hand-stamping Christmas cards. And fun events to attend: parades, tree lighting ceremonies, Christmas pageants, and neighborhood parties.
It was enough to run me ragged. Did I mention both my kids’ birthdays are in December as well?
After three or four years of a crazy December schedule, I finally wised up. I stopped assuming that all these activities were equally important to us having a good holiday. The following year I presented my family with a verbal list of things we normally do or could do during December. Then I asked each person to tell me which activity was the most important to them.
Armed with their answers, I made a point to schedule those things on the family calendar in pen. That gave me peace of mind that each family member would enjoy the holidays. Anything else I/we found the time to do, I considered celebration-icing on the cake.
I’ve watched their answers to the question change over the years. For a couple of years my daughter most wanted to make gingerbread men. One year she most wanted to see the Nutcracker. Now she most wants to dress up and go to her aunt’s house for Christmas brunch. For a while my son most wanted to see the train sets at a local Christmas festival. This year he most wants us to watch Christmas movies together. My husband this year most wants to share a fancy restaurant meal.
By asking the what-is-most-important-to-you question I’ve simplified our December schedule while ensuring that each person gets to do their most treasured holiday activity. And I think doing that one special thing has become more special for all of us because it’s not jammed in among a long to-do list.
Traditions can be meaningful and comforting —totally worth the effort they take to carry out year after year. But if a particular tradition isn’t important to at least one member of your family, I want to give you permission to let it go. At least until the year someone asks for it back.
Thank you, Rachel. This is wonderful advice, especially as we enter the last weekend before Christmas. It’s not too late to find that one thing each family wants to do (so long as it’s reasonable).
Speaking of one thing, that must be a theme for Rachel, because it’s the theme of her newest book, co-authored with her pastor Mike Ashcraft. One person will win a copy of “My One Word” today. Can you guess what I’m going to ask you to do? I thought you could.
To enter, simply leave a comment with one word! That’s it. I’ll leave this open until Sunday and announce a winner on Monday. Oh, and please come back tomorrow for a post by Karen Ehman with some great last-minute gift ideas and another give away!
Rachel Olsen is an author and speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries. This December her schedule includes a new book releasing: My One Word: Change Your Life with Just One Word. She will be doing a “Family Christmas Movie Night,” making reservations at Rick’s favorite restaurant, praying together by the tree, and dressing up for a family brunch on Christmas day. Find her also blogging at www.RachelOlsen.com.