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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.

hiking

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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201 Comments

  1. Things are changing for us every year and I try to take it with grace. My father has died and I didn’t know that he was the person that kept our family together. It is hard to think of that.

  2. I have always bee in a place of needing to be gracious to extended families. When I was first married I learned that holidays had to be shared with my husband’s family. So, I had to give up my family. When we had children we still had to do holidays at my in-laws until they finally let us do Christmas in our home. Now my children are married and I have been gracious to understand they need to spend time with other extended family. Life is about change and I have to accept that with grace.

  3. When I unwrap the gift of no pressure I find myself soaking in God’s Word in the quiet of the morning before our new 8 lb Brittany puppy awakes!! p.s. I need to SOAK!! :)

  4. We spend Christmas at home, just us. We make sure we see the grandparents at some point. We are suppose to go to the inlaws this weekend, but it may or may not happen. My mother in law is having out patient surgery tomorrow ( that could lead to a couple day stay) in Chicago at the Cancer Treatment Center of America. If it comes down to it, we will gladly change our plans!

  5. When I unwrap that gift of no pressure, I envision a gift that wasn’t purchased, but my family together and just spending time together. No rushing around buying gifts.

  6. Seems my family grows every year and with that change is inevitable, especially during the holidays. So I want to unwrap the gift of choice (with no guilt but love) to share whatever time we can manage. Whether it’s a cup of cocoa, coffee or a big meal and lots of noise! I’m just grateful were all here and healthy!!
    Love and blessings to you and your family and thanks for such a wonderful reminder of the true importance of this precious Christmas season.

  7. I tried to post a response yesterday, twice in fact, and neither one of them went through. Hoping that today is different.

    When I remove the pressure I see bright eyes full of wonder and relaxed attitudes. I also feel a change in the atmospheric pressure within the walls of our home.

  8. This year for sure will be a no pressure Christmas. We will be staying home. We live an hour from my husbands family and my family are all in CA. It will be nice to just be at home with my husband and kids to enjoy our Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with no expectations of having to be anywhere and not feeling rushed.

  9. Thank you, Suzie. I had never thought about this before from the perspective when it is just my husband and I when our kids are grown up and start their own families and traditions. I love the ideas that you shared that you and your husband take part in. I’ve always felt bad and try to include my in-laws and my own parents in on some of my family’s tradition as I know it is hard for both sets of parents not having the same traditions that they once had with us kids. However, we do have our own families now and our own traditions – some that we’ve carried on from our own parents!

  10. Thank you for writing this! Right now all four of my children and our 3 grandchildren have spent every Christmas Eve and Christmas with us. It’s been wonderful! But if God does answer my prayers for spouses for my 3 single children Christmas could look very different and I want to offer them a loving no pressure alternative if necessary.

  11. We spend Christmas Eve with my husband’s family. Which is great considering the only time they are interested in getting together is then or Thanksgiving. But other family members always dictated time due to their work schedules. That worked before we had kids but after that it meant our core family never got to participate in Christmas Eve at our church. Finally one year, I said we can do it but we have to leave by 3. The kids are in the play. It worked. I now don’t let the extended family dictate….as much. It’s still feels stressful, but when you reach the point of feeling you aren’t having any say, then make your decisions. This year my daughter is dancing at our church. We’ll see if work schedules will work out but she will still be dancing.

  12. I was raised in a pressure environment especially with my mom so it has been a struggle for me. Now that I’m older and my father (the calmer natured one) passed on, my mom still has me pressured to do this or that around the holidays. I am a single mom who still is in contact with the x-laws. So the kids and I spend family time with them Christmas eve and then Christmas day with my mom and my brother and his family. This has worked out a lot to destress a stressful situation.

  13. When my husband and i got married 6 1/2 years ago, we struggled with Christmas. I had always gone to my grandmas house, but i also had to work out the fact that my daughter would be with her dad and not with me. And my new husband had to work on Christmas, so i went and served the homeless. Now we have things different. I get my daughter on Christmas she is with her dad on Christmas eve. We have a 3 year old too. But we have traditions in place and if i cant do something, its okay. We spend time with family and i have never felt pressured even though we are thr first on both sides to be married and have kids and remain the only ones to do both for now.

  14. My Christmas this year is definitely going to be a no pressure one. My husband passed away 10 months ago, so it is the first without him. I am taking it easy and only doing the things I feel up to doing. I did want to decorate, but did not put up as many decorations as I usually do.

  15. Fortunately, my husband and I have always agreed that a special day, whether a holiday or birthday/anniversary type occasion is not a matter of the date on the calendar, but setting aside time to spend with loved ones. We have discovered the huge reward in having this attitude now that our children are all married. Having been raised in a
    “no pressure” manner, it seems to have been easier for them to adapt to their in-laws customs, but also, they are the ones who coordinate family gatherings so we know they are planning time to be with us and each other because they really WANT to, not just because they feel obligated.

  16. I had one Christmas that there was no one around but my husband and myself.. The first time it happens it hurts. You feel something is wrong with you. You don’t enjoy the time like you should by planning something special for just the two of you. With only one grandchild you want to be there to see her open her presents and get excited over what she liked and didn’t like. Now that we’re retired on a limited income we realize that it doesn’t matter what or how much she got but the time you spend with her. This year will be the first year in eleven years that we’ve got to spend Christmas with her. We want to get her something that has Spiritual meaning and will survive time. If I ever get another Christmas alone I’m planning something to do in advance so we won’t look back and say that sure was a lonely year.

  17. I unwrap a Christmas where divorced parents find forgiveness in their hearts and a realization that Christmas is about Jesus, who forgave us all. And about the kids…I pray the example of pride being put aside could be done for the grandkids, if only for a few hours.

  18. More time before Christmas without the everyday tasks and events. The days are already full as a young mom and trying to add in a few extra things on top of that makes for late nights and feeling stretched thin.

  19. Wow, the timing of this is right on. I know I am a flexible, go with the flow kind of person. However, this year is my oldest’s first Christmas not living with us. She has moved out on rebellious terms, an adjustment all on its own (another day for that story…..) and we had been wondering how it would go since she lived with her bf we don’t a prove of. She threw a curve ball and decided to go to the west coast to visit my mom and family there. OK. Adjust here……now my next youngest is also going with her. Heartbreak here……2 daughters not wanting to spend holiday here!!! I could have put my foot down and said no……but I was the only one not wanted to bend on this one. In any other dynamic I’m OK not making that actual date matter. This hurt. We will celebrate when they get back…..I will not make the comments of how sad I was like Suzie mentioned above. I will be contentious to keep the reason for the season in the forefront, and have gratitude that I have time with them.

  20. The best gift is one where everyone is happy and bliss. No worries of everyday life, but instead just a happy world overall :)

  21. Surprisingly the pressure comes from family – go here or go there. As a widow, this is my second Christmas – trying to keep with tradition. They bring comfort.

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