I know all of you haven’t decorated for Christmas yet. Some families wait until it’s closer to Christmas before putting up their tree. For all of you who still need to trim your tree or perhaps you want to make a few changes to the tree that is already decorated, Country Living offers a wonderful selection of decorating ideas. I LOVE the simple, primitive look given to the tree & room in the photo.
It’s always a Simple Joy to add new touches to your Holiday Home. Enjoy!
I LOVE to bake, especially at Christmas. At one time, I made myself a little crazy trying to get all my Christmas baking done. I baked dozens of cookies, giving them out to friends, whether they wanted them or not!
Now I am more relaxed about my baking. I still make dozens of cookies but most of them are for my family AND I have found easier ways to bake, like my fabulous cake mix cookies!
However, I do make some cookies from scratch & when I do, I make sure I keep my stress level low by following a few simple steps:
- Make a List: I make one list of the types of cookies I want to make. Then I make a list of the ingredients I need to create these cookies. Then I check the grocery ads to see who has the best prices on the things I need.
- Make a Check: Inventory your pantry to make sure you have the things you think you have! You might think you have plenty of sugar only to find out you already used that extra bag of sugar that was hidden in the back of the pantry;
- Make Certain: Be sure your seldom used ingredients are fresh. If you only use nutmeg for your Christmas baking, you may need to buy some fresh nutmeg. Same for things like baking soda & baking powder. Your baking may not turn out the way you hope if these two items are not fresh.
- Make a Trip: Head to the store to get what you need. Making one trip to get everything insures you have what you need when the baking mood strikes.
Holiday baking is a great family tradition. I learned to love baking when I would help my mom make cookies every year. And when I became a mom, I taught Katy my simple tips for great cookie making. A simple joy that is enjoyed generation to generation, year to year!
You Are Not Alone
It’s very easy when we feel overwhelmed to feel alone. Oh we may have all sorts of people around us but we feel they don’t understand what we want or need. Perhaps we think they are too busy to be bothered with our problems, too busy to help us get ready for Christmas. These thoughts and feelings can leave us feeling dismayed, just like the verse says. Eventually, we become afraid we might not be able to accomplish everything we need to get done by Christmas.
In the verse, God tells us not to be afraid. He reminds us that He is always with us so we are never alone. He tells us that He is providing the strength we need to complete the tasks before us. He even says He will help us! And if we feel we can’t go on, He holds us up! This is the promise we must remember and rely on whenever we feel overwhelmed. We are never alone for the Lord is always with us!
I LOVE making Christmas cookies. Sometimes, however, I get a bit tired of the same old cookies. How wonderful that Country Living has come up with such an extensive list of recipes for Christmas cookies. This should keep me busy for awhile! And inspire you to begin your baking! Enjoy!
What Would YOU Like to Do?
Every year, I think of things I would like to do for the Holiday season. Walk through Downtown Anaheim & look at the lights. Visit South Coast Plaza & admire the decorations. Take a trip to a large local nursery that decorates dozens of trees. And a few more fun things.
Then I get busy & I forget. Oh, well, there’s next year! Yes, but there is still THIS year! So I’m making one of my famous lists & creating a schedule so I am able to do the things I want to do this Christmas! None of them is elaborate. They are just simple local activities that take an afternoon or evening. And it takes coordinating with Mr. D. When we work together on these things, it works much better.
So, what are the things you would like to do this Christmas? Perhaps you want to have friends over to decorate the tree. Or maybe go caroling. Just simple things that bring so much joy & create memories that last a lifetime. Take time today to create a list of the things you want to do. Then schedule them & share with your family. You may have to push them a bit but you will create Christmas joy for everyone in your family!
There are nights I lie awake in the dark, considering all the work I need to get done. I’ll admit it. Sometimes, I have a panic attack as the dark surrounds me and I feel things are out of control. How will I ever get everything done?
In the past, I have turned on the light and tried reading until I become sleepy. Then I am tired in the morning. Not good. Now instead of reading or tossing and turning, I lie in bed and pray. I talk to the Lord, spilling out my concerns, my worries. Sometimes, I imagine putting all my troubles in a large box, closing the box and wrapping it in paper with a pretty ribbon. Then I give the box to God. When he opens it, He always tells me it is exactly what He wanted.
The Lord wants to deliver us from our fears but first, we must surrender our fears to Him. All our fears, big or small. Only then can He answer our prayers.
Not everyone has the time to deck ALL the halls during Christmas. Not everyone has the space to deck all those hall either. Time, space & money can all be factors when trying to decide how much is too much. You want everything to look festive but there are limits. Or perhaps you are having a Holiday party & want to add a few more simple touches to your event that can be easily removed, or simply moved, when the party is over. What to do?
BHG to the rescue with these quick & easy ways to decorate for Christmas. I LOVE the vintage ornaments on the candlesticks. You can find all the candlesticks you want at the $ Store along with tubes of ornaments that can be used. I used these ornaments all over the house. They come in different sizes & colors. They are also easy to paint & glitter should you need them in colors that are different than the ones offered.
Avoid Christmas stress with simple ideas like these & put the JOY back into Christmas!
Kids LOVE making Christmas cookies. Making cookies with my mom is one of my favorite Christmas memories. I always made cookies with The Child when she was growing up to continue the tradition. Both Katy & I share our creations with friends during the Holidays, passing the joy of baking along!
Betty Crocker shares her baking traditions with these darling Santa cookies. Your kids are going to enjoy making each of these sweet treats. Start your own tradition this year or continue an ongoing one when add these cookies to your Holiday baking schedule!
What REALLY Must Be Done?
When I was in the Navy, we were very busy in the weeks before Christmas. I was concerned I might not get everything done before the big day. This was not only causing me stress, it was also making me very sad. Katy, our daughter, was about 6 years old & I wanted her & Mr. D to have a great Christmas. How was I going to get everything done? Then I got an idea!
I sat down with a pice of paper & created 2 columns. One was labeled “Have to Do” the other was labeled “Want to Do.” Then I thought about all the things that needed to be done before Christmas morning. As I thought of a task, I asked myself, “Did it HAVE to be done or was it simply something I wanted to do?” I had to decide if Christmas would be ruined it the task didn’t get done. And I forced myself to be honest about it.
When I finished, there was only ONE thing on my Have to Do list. We need to shop for Katy so she would have presents on Christmas morning. We needed to make certain Santa had gifts to deliver to Katy. As much as I wanted to get all the other tasks done, none of them was a deal breaker. We might be disappointed if we didn’t put up a tree but Christmas wouldn’t be ruined. So, everything else went on my Want to Do list.
Then a strange thing happened. As soon as I took the pressure off myself, as soon as I told myself I didn’t HAVE to get all those things done, I was able to relax, slowing working my way through the tasks I simply wanted to get done. And do you know, by Christmas Eve, every single item on both lists was done!
Pressure & stress often cause us to freeze up. Determine what you absolutely HAVE to do by Christmas. Not the things others are forcing on you but tasks YOU determine are necessary. Then put everything else on your Want to list. Finish the Have-to’s first. Then slowly work your way through the Want-to’s. You may be surprised how much you get done when the pressure is off!
God is for Me!
I LOVE Christmas but sometimes it feels like everyone is tugging at me! I remember when I worked at the church, it seemed as if everyone wanted something and it was becoming more impossible to provide for them. It can become terribly overwhelming when all the people around you need something from you. Eventually, you feel you have nothing left to give.
In this verse, we are reminded that God is not only with us, He is working for us. We can put all our trust in Him and stop worrying about letting the people around us down. this verse specifically tells us that we never have to be afraid of people because there is nothing they can do to us as long as God is with us.
When you feel everyone is coming at you from all directions, take a moment to step back and catch your breath. Remind yourself that God is with you and there is nothing anyone can do to you.