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6th Day of Christmas Giveaways with Suzie Eller

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12 Days of Christmas Giveaway at KarenEhman.com

Welcome to the 6th Day of Christmas Giveaways!!!

Today my friend Suzie Eller is going us to talk about giving the gift of no pressure this Christmas season. She will be giving away 2 books; The Unburdened Heart and The Mended Heart, PLUS a $20 gift card to ITunes so you can tune in to some worship music this season!

suzie EllerSuzie Eller is a Proverbs 31 Ministries author and communicator. She has been featured on hundreds of radio and television programs such as Focus on the Family, KLOVE, Aspiring Women and many others, and is the author of eight books including her most recent, The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places. She’s a “Gaga” to six beautiful children under the age of five, wife to Richard, and mom to some incredible people she loves like crazy. You can connect with Suzie at www.tsuzanneeller.com

To join in on the fun and be entered to win the various prizes, simply leave a comment on the post answering the question of the day. ALSO—one grand prize will be given to one person who comments on all 12 days.

The Grand Prize is a $50 gift certificate to Proverbs 31 Ministries store and a $50 gift certificate to Amazon.com!!!

Now, here is Suzie to offer you today’s post…

The Gift of No Pressure


When Karen asked me to join the 12 Days of Christmas, I jumped at the chance. I love Christmas. Yet there was a time I struggled with this season. Today I share that story along with how to give the gift of no pressure to yourself, and to others.

“I don’t like the holidays,” I whispered.

I was a young mom. I used to love holidays. . .

. . . before I was married

. . . before I felt the pull to be everywhere at the same time

. . . before any decisions that I made left someone upset or angry or feeling left out.

I struggled with a desire to be home and start my own traditions with my young children and husband. We were the first to be married in both families and thus the first to break “how it’s always been. Christmas was a time to be thankful, but all I felt was stretched thin. Christmas was a time to be joyous, but all I felt was frustrated.

I tried. I really did. 

I tried to be everywhere. I tried to mask my frustration with enthusiasm.

Looking back, I wonder why I didn’t say anything. Instead, I simply let it fester. I didn’t take into account that if I kept silent things would never change.

Thirty years later, I treasure the holidays. It took time, but we finally learned that things wouldn’t change unless we took the first step.

That begin with sharing our needs with each other, just me and Richard. 

He was super social, so being in ten different places seemed like fun. When I explained that being in ten different places with three toddlers made this girl’s heart tired and torn, and that when my presence was demanded it robbed the season of joy.

He heard me.

I also heard his heart. People fill him up. The demands of extended family made him feel conflicted, but he was unsure of how to deal with it in a healthy way.

We started to compromise and work through what worked for us as a family.

Then we stepped back to see Christmas through the eyes of our extended families. 

An empty nest left gaps that traditions used to fill. The demands actually came from a place of love, and because we expressed our frustration not all or through quiet resentment, they had no idea.

As we began a conversation with extended family, some were open. Others were not, especially in the beginning. If they were flexible, we rejoiced. If not, we didn’t take it personally because change takes time.

Perhaps the greatest gift that we by working through the pressure came later. When our children married, suddenly there were other families in the mix. Suddenly we were the ones who might be left behind on a holiday or needed to share a holiday.

What we desperately needed years before was to take the pressure off, so we gave that gift to our children.

We decided that it’s not a date on the calendar that makes holidays special. It’s the heart behind the holidays. It’s spending time with people you love. Christmas marks the celebration of our Savior’s birth, so that’s where we place our focus. Getting together on Christmas or the day after or the week after isn’t a big deal.

One year, Richard and I had Christmas Eve and Christmas to ourselves. We hiked that day. It was cold and beautiful and a new tradition.


Now, several years later, we’ll be without our children on those two special days this year. We are already scheming to think of how to make that day special for the two of us.

Will we invite people in for a huge meal? Maybe. That’s a great way to have fun. 

Or we can go hiking again if weather permits. Oh, how I love hiking. 

Maybe an all-day movie fest and kettle corn. Pj’s and popcorn, yes!

When the kids and their families pile in after Christmas, they won’t be met with resentment or passive aggressive references to our lonely Christmas, but get to hear about our adventures.

When we give the gift of no pressure, we open the door for our grown children to gravitate toward us rather than away. We offer fun over frustration. We are invited into their new traditions, rather than trying to force them to hold on to old traditions from their childhood.

Maybe you’ve been singing the holiday blues.

Share your need

Maybe you’ve been the cause of holiday blues.

Give the gift of no pressure

Create a new tradition of a Christmas with less stress and more room to celebrate this beautiful day.

Dear Lord, thank You for my family. I’m grateful for so many things, and one of those is family who loves me enough to want to be with me. Help me to share my needs with my loved ones, and to do it with grace and gentleness. Help me not to take it personal as they struggle with change. 

If I am the one that is inflexible, help me to bend and grow. Loosen my hold. Lead me to create new traditions that include joy and thanksgiving as I celebrate Your birth. 

Answer the prompt below to be entered to win this giveaway and the grand prize.

Suzie Eller Giveaway

Here’s today’s question: Unwrap that gift of no pressure (whether you are giving or receiving it). Describe what you find inside. 

All winners will be announced December 22nd.

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  1. Hmm the gift of no pressure…. For me the pressure comes from having an illness and not being able to do all that I’d like to do or what I used to do. For me, no pressure would be help wrapping presents, help getting the house fixed up, people understanding that I am not able to send cards every year because of health or not enough finances. It would be being able to enjoy the holiday over many days and not clumped into one day or a weekend. I guess it boils done to grace….grace to do what I can and for me to forgive myself for what I am unable to do. My family is mostly understanding. I love them so very much!! The pressure really comes from myself. Nancy from Massachusetts

  2. Knowing that not everything had to be perfect. Things happen. Because God’s love is perfect I don’t have to be.

  3. What a nugget of encouragement to hold on to as our kids get older! Our oldest will graduate this year (with 6 siblings following). Such an important and simple gift to give. I am reminded of our family’s devotional from yesterday that encouraged us to remember Christmas is “Jesus in the manger.” It isn’t the traditions, food or presents. It’s Jesus :-)

  4. So glad we discovered this gift years ago as young parents. As our kids grow and leave the nest, things are changing and its good to reevaluate each year. We also do not want to place pressure on their young families. What a great idea to plan something extra special for just us!

  5. Thank you SO MUCH for this post. I’m the inflexible one but what you said (“it’s not a date on the calendar that makes holidays special.”) really hit home. My parents came out for my first son’s first Christmas but this year the are coming out the week AFTER Chrisymas to celebrate my second son’s first Christmas. I need to refocus and realize that it’s the time spent together that maters, not the date on the calendar.

  6. I am so thankful that my mom is flexible. We have our family gathering the Saturday before Christmas. My mother-in-law became flexible for us when our kids came along by being willing to come to our house on Christmas instead of us going to hers. When our kids get older and start having families of their own I want to be flexible and not have them feel like they have to be with us on Christmas day.

  7. This year I have Christmas week off so I am hoping to take the pressure off. A lot of the pressure is my own expectation. As I unwrap this year, I want a calm happy time with my family.

  8. I have tried to let go of all the expectations that bring extra pressure. We don’t have to have several different types of cookies and if they are made from store bought dough, it’s ok. I have to remember that the important thing is that we are together.

  9. This will be the first year that our son and his family will be here with us. We are very excited to just rest and enjoy this special holiday.

  10. As I unwrap my gift of No Pressure, I find no menu to get working on, no “gimme” lists, just a relaxing morning with a pot of coffee, my bible and my husband! Feet up, dog in my lap, as I read God’s word, celebrate Christ and His birthday as it should be celebrated. Soaking in all of His Glory!!!

  11. I love it when it is just my husband and I and our daughters for Christmas. There is no pressure to do it the way I did growing up or my husband did and no criticism. We can just do it our way and relax.

  12. Oh goodness – I have been given a gift by this today! I now know how to extend that no pressure to my children, to allow them to gravitate toward instead of away. I am so thankful I read this today!!!! Thank you! No pressure looks like comfort, joy, laughter, togetherness – and ohhhhhh, how we need that this year!!!!! Thank you!

  13. My parents have given me the gift of no pressure during the holidays since my son arrived fifteen years ago. They have encouraged us to celebrate each year with our own traditions, and have worked with me to make each year special. I have been very blessed with my family’s support, and love this time of year.

  14. This Christmas will be just my youngest and myself. We are having a lasagne dinner :) and just hanging together playing games, watching movies, and hopefully we will have a white Christmas. ..then we will play in the snow.
    Have a Blessed Jesus Birthday Celebration!
    ~enjoy this post ~

  15. My husband and I both come from very large families. I felt the pressure to be at gatherings when our children were little. Now that I have grown children and one who is married, I vowed that I would not put that pressure on them. We now live out of state and away from family. Two years ago we spent a Christmas alone, just the two of us and it was okay. Not every year is like that but I agree with you – treasure family togetherness when you have it; it doesn’t have to be on the actual holiday each year.

  16. This can be hard with 2 littlest in the house, but my son told me the other day some things he wanted for Christmas and I asked him, but what if you don’t get those things?” He said, “then I’ll be happy with whatever I get.” This was not the answer I was expecting and it took some of the pressure off and made me feel good

  17. I love the comment made that Christmas doesn’t have to be celebrated on that day. It seemed so easy when I was young and then when I got married it was still pretty easy but then all the extended family started having children and we had children and trying to get everyone together and some family didn’t understand or accept if a child was sick we didn’t want to expose everyone else and it seemed life got complicated and we really didn’t have an “our” Christmas time. The Christmas season was extremely stressful and I had many hard feelings and I feel like Christmas was never “the most wonderful time of the year”. I would love to read these books and have them to look back at (I read books more than once or look back through them) and I think my heart truly needs mended and unburdened.

  18. No pressure for me this year is not feeling like I have to do every Christmas craft that I see on Pinterest with my kids. And that we don’t have to attend every event in the area. But to relax and laugh and play.

  19. After losing my Son, life has taken on a new meaning in the sense of what is important and what isn’t, I have come to the place where being with those that I love and those that I meet through work, activities and so on are important, the giving is much different because we give time more than things. Relationships are important no matter who the person is and for me being like Ruth in the bible and becoming more sensitive to others has made this holiday a bit easier to bear. I find I share more grace than I could ever have known before.

  20. I will start out by saying how thankful that I am to have my almost 91 yr old Mom with me again this Christmas. I honestly thought that would not happen as her health has been on a decline for the past year. I am her primary caregiver. We are having to be very flexible again this year. Our traditions have changed drastically with the death of her last brother. Family situations have changed to include blended families & their traditions. Mom & I have decided that it doesn’t matter where we are for Christmas as long as we are together. We will work around everyone else’s schedule. Our focus will be on the true meaning of Christmas and being thankful.

  21. Giving a gift of no pressure would be to my husband. Even though we are in some tough places right now, I would gift him with that from me. He works 3 days a week and takes care of his mom almost every day. So saying “No pressure” to him would be a gift of mercy. It would be an unselfish act on my part.

  22. As a mission pastor’s wife with limited income and support, we’ve had to learn to let our main church help. This year all 22 of our kids were “adopted” for Christmas gifts. The Sunday school classes got money towards gift cards for our youth and food for a basket per family. We let our 2 sons, with the grandkids, let us know what works for them. Do I still get stressed and frazzled, yes, but cut back on non important “things” this year.

  23. Because my husband and I both come from large families it did take time to adjust to different traditions. However, now that we have our own children we enjoy having time for just our family and having a more relaxed Christmas. Celebrating on a day other than Christmas just extends this great time of your and is much more enjoyable when you don’t have to rush from place to place.

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