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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. The gift of no pressure would be my husband returning home, he is currently is prison for a crime he didn’t commit. This year it doesn’t even feel like Christmas to anyone in the family.

  2. No pressure for me means doing what works easiest for everyone- that may mean fewer gifts, easy gifts, already prepared items purchased from the store rather than everything hand made by me…. But it isn’t taking away from being together or the meaning of the season!

  3. The gift of no pressure means fewer gifts, not trying to attend every event, just enjoying Christmas and what it stands for and means.

  4. God may already be opening a door for less pressure. This year will be crazy but already going to be better than could be. My Mother — nothing is ever good enough. We don’t call enough. My sister and family, doesn’t spend enough time when do make it down. Think my soon to be new step-dad is making a big difference (only change in her life) as Mother still complains to me regularly, but is not voicing it directly to my sister. Also, her fiance is wonderful with me and my health problems. He (with God’s) help is the only way I am going to survive 12 days with Mother.

  5. My Parents gave us this gift so I am passing it on. We had part of our Christmas on De 5 with our boys and will fly to our daughter’s to be with her on Christmas Day.
    It is the special time together that matters most.

  6. Our first Christmas together was in Germany. We’d been married a few months and had excitedly made plans to start our own Christmas traditions. The morning of the 24th we awoke to a phone call asking why my husband hadn’t shown up to staff duty, yet. 24 hour staff duty. Our plans went out the window as he rushed to put on his uniform and get to work. That night I determined to still start one tradition we had planned. I showed up to staff duty with two gifts. To this day we still open one gift each on Christmas Eve and the rest Christmas morning. Ten years later we had just retired from the Army with a 2.5 year old, a newborn, my husband was out of commission from a surgery, and we were sitting in a Wal-Mart parking lot eating fast food in our truck loaded down with the last load of possessions for our do-it-yourself move. We were exhausted in every way and had no idea what God had planned for our future. The gifts we exchanged weren’t wrapped and we had no tree, but at least we were together. God had taught us to be flexible with our expectations that very first year. We can still have joy even when our plans for the “perfect holiday” don’t materialize.

  7. I never seem to be able to make more than a quick in and out to see my parents, usually on my way to or from another stop so my Mom’s birthday is shortly after Christmas and I have given her a coupon for a lunch and an afternoon shared in the new year when we both can be intentional and present.

  8. It is hard on many moms of littles to bring dishes to pass to holiday gatherings. I want to remember that and ask them to either bring ready-made things or give them a pass and just enjoy their presence.

  9. All three of my children live miles away from us and each other but we have made a commitment to get together “sometime” to enjoy Christmas together. Last year it was on December 11. This year it is on December 26. We all work together to make it happen.

  10. Contentment and peace… Though it is more difficult to find when the sentiments of “no pressure” are not shared.

  11. I love this post today! Our oldest is in college now and I am thinking ahead to what the future will look like for Christmas. The idea of “no pressure” is so insightful.

  12. The holidays are abouthe being with family. And our holidays always extend well into the first of the year. This is due to living miles from my side of the family and the way my husband’s work schedule is. Usually everu year we spend Christmas day relaxing around the house. We try to keep the focus on the reason for the season and not allow stresses of the season.

  13. This Christmas will be very different. It is my first Christmas without my Dad. So my kids and I are making many new traditions and I am really learning to let things go. Things won’t be perfect and if we don’t make it to every event it will be ok. We are really wanting to enjoy family time and being together. We are unwrapping the gift of love and giving to others.

  14. I am very blessed that my side of the family and my husband’s side of the family get along well and we spend many holidays together. The biggest issue of pressure comes within my immediate family. My husband has a job that never shuts down and has to be supervised 24/7. This means that he works some holidays. At first I had a very hard time with this, but I have learned to make it work. Now that we have a child I have to again remind myself again to adapt and create traditions that are flexible, that things don’t have to be done on a certain day or at a certain time and to be flexible.

  15. that I reflect on what led me to Christ. no pressure. that the gift of eternal life awaited me patiently, wrapped beautifully until my arrival of salvation in Him. and the opportunity to share that gift with others. to know what a relief that the pressure is off once I chose the unwrap that gift. love, amazing love.

  16. To give myself the freedom to not have to fulfill all the traditions of the season, therefore more time in God,s word and will. And to be more flexible in doing what others want to do to celebrate.

  17. I would find love, joy, peace, and comfort for everyone. We all need these gifts of which the greatest is Jesus Christ our Savior.

  18. If I unwrapped “no pressure” there would be such peace and understanding that I couldn’t keep it all to myself. When our kids were small we used to visit both families, but my husband family isn’t about traditions or family get togethers, so there is really No Pressure there and an answer to my prayers

  19. With our daughter married & now they have children, they have demands put on them by other family members. Our gift of no pressure to them was #1 take care of your immediate family (husband-wife-children) 1st. Then if it fits in their schedule, make plans with the in-laws & then lastly, we are here when they are able to come over. I remember as a kid we would run from one house to another – it was exhausting. My husband & I spend Christmas Eve alone. Church & we usually volunteer to help with the services (either early or late or some years even both) then it is home for soup, snacks & either movies in our pajamas or a game of cards. No pressure & we don’t feel “left out”.

  20. Thank you for providing this perspective. It was a challenge for us when we had our first child because I really just wanted to create our own traditions, just the 3 of us.

    When I unwrap the gift of no pressure, I find a Christmas morning of relaxing and going with the flow. I don’t have to stress about the many places and people we HAVE to see, but rejoice that we GET to see them!

  21. I’m learning and embracing that as Suzie said, it’s not about the specific date on the calendar, but the quality time spent. It doesn’t matter when it happens, but that when we celebrate, it’s fun and joyful.

  22. I love what you said here…I too get so overwhelmed with places to go, people to see and presents to buy that I find myself completely missing out on the joy of the season. I wish I could take some of the pressure of myself to be “perfect” and just enjoy. I need to open this gift :(

  23. Oh Suzie, does this ever resonate with our family. Our parents and families both live distances away from us. My parents have always come to us, thankfully, and have not put any pressure on us for their expectations. My husband’s family is different, and how I wish I had started a change earlier in my kids’ lives. His family expects us to be at Christmas, on Christmas, every other year. My children have informed me that last year was the last time they would like to leave our home for Christmas. I tried explaining that it’s a bit more depthy than that. I haven’t even had a full conversation with my husband about it, but he is aware that we need to make a change. My suggestion is that we plan a weekend in December to go visit with them and make that their Christmas. Now comes the part where I talk with my MIL about it. Probably will not go well. I have made the promise to myself that we will not put those pressures on our kids someday when they have their families. For now…we anticipate this Christmas and being HOME. Exactly where everyone wants to be. Thanks for sharing!

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