6th Day of Christmas Giveaways with Suzie Eller
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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 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
“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.
Here’s today’s question: Unwrap that gift of no pressure (whether you are giving or receiving it). Describe what you find inside.
The holiday season (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years) are a SEASON, not just 1 DAY on a calendar that just HAS to be perfect!! Relax & let the joy in for yourself AND your loved ones. The gift of time & less pressure.
My parents gave me this gift when I was a young bride. We spend Christmas Eve with them. I was ever so grateful for this because not everyone was happy about me trying to save some of my sanity.
I totally agree with no pressure holidays!! It hasn’t always been that way and years that were spent with unmet expectations and disappointment caused me to change. I love our relaxed, go with the flow holidays so much more!!
I’ve been very frustrated by this one this year but it’s a hard one to fix. I want a whole day with just my family at home. I want to paint Christmas pictures together and then relax by the tree, enjoying the lights. Nowhere to be. Nobody wanting presents or cookies or appetizers or clean laundry. Just soft, peaceful lights with my husband and kids.
Christmas is a time for family. I have a large extended family that is very close-knit. My husband has a very small family. We spend a total of 4 days with family over Christmas. It can be very exhausting and a bit overwhelming. A no pressure gift would be the gift of time so that my family would be able to have some quiet time to just relax and enjoy the holidays by ourselves for a bit.
I love the idea of no pressure. I pray we are able to offer this to our children as they grow and have families of their own.
I find talks without judgement, love without strings & prayer through it all..
We do the same thing every year and I’m thankful to spend time with my husband’s family.
I would find simple decorations, pre-made meals, a lightly cleaned house, and tons of couch snuggling, Christmas light viewing, and belly laughing!
I love your post, I am in the stage where I have 2 teenagers at home and two adult children at home with significant others in there lives.This Christmas I am telling my adult children and their significant others that we will celebrate Christmas when it works out on their schedule. There is no pressure for them. We will have our family morning Christmas since the teenagers still need that time and then in the evening or whenever it works for everyone involved we will be celebrating our secret santa giveaways.
Thank you, Suzie for sharing your heart! From the beginning of my marriage, both sides knew we can’t be with them every Christmas. Since we live quite far from each other, we all got used to it and everyone is very understanding about our situation. If we could make it to travel, it’s exciting and awesome; if we can’t make it, everyone is cool! :-) So, our family just made our own tradition to invite whoever doesn’t have a family from church to spend Christmas or Thanksgiving with, comes to our place! Nobody should be alone during the holidays.
Beauty without stress
This is a very timely post for me. Our 2 oldest children are both getting married in the first half of 2016 and we are a family with lots of traditions, especially at the holidays. I will hide these words in my heart as we go through this next year towards the next holiday season. I have already told our children that we can celebrate a holiday on a different day than what is on the calendar, so that is a step in the right direction.
Feeling no pressure would bring peace. It seems like everywhere we turn someone is placing a demand on what we should do with our schedules. I’m letting go of worrying what others think of me. I cannot possibly do everything even if I wanted to. Peace. It would be beautiful if I could just let go of it all.
Note: I’ve been replying to the email all this time :)
This year our Christmas table may be smaller. Our student will be visiting her past host family in Arkansas. Our ‘adopted’ daughter and granddaughter are going to see her mom and aunt in Oregon. We will celebrate with them all in January when we have all regrouped and returned to school and work. Our family friend Bert will be in Chicago. We will see our 2 other children and family in late December.
And I have to say —- I am content with the possibility of a low key Christmas Day. To have the magic and majesty of Christmas Eve services carry into the Christmas Day. To share a simple meal with our two sons who are here, my dad who lives with us, and perhaps one or two others would be perfect. I will prepare the traditional meal in January – and enjoy that time. Tonight at dinner I brought up the possibility of changing the menu (too much change would upset some people). Then we can enjoy a walk around the lake or a bike ride. We can watch those great old movies and drink coffee, perhaps nap and reflect on the past year.
Unwrapping the gift of no pressure and enjoying the gift of a little baby’s birth is a true gift. The Baby Jesus to rock and gaze at in wonder and love — what a Gift to celebrate and the perfect reason for wonder and light.
I’m blessed that our family doesn’t feel the pressures of the holidays. We only go to my mother-in-law’s house the Saturday before Christmas and we spend Christmas Eve and Day in our home with our children. However, our children are getting older and finding significant others they are obliged to spend holidays with, so reading this is helpful for the future and how my husband and I want to grant this gift of no pressure. thank you.
I would find greater peace & contentment if I unwrapped the Less-Stress gift which would help me focus more on the real gift of Christmas.
We have around 50 in our extended family, so that can be a bit stressful, but I think the older you get the less stressful it is. It’s much harder when your children are small. This year no pressure is allowing my children to plan what works best for them!
I love the gift of no pressure. When our oldest was a baby we travelled to both grandparents on Christmas and it was too much for her. We told them from now on Christmas Day was at our house. They were not happy but I think the adjustments overall have helped all of my siblings as well. I want being with family to be fun, loving celebration not high stress and overwhelming due to kids overstimulation.
JOY..I want to have JOY this Christmas season.
to feel much pressure because I always remember to go with the flow no matter what happens since I believe everything happens for a reason and know that Jesus is the reason for the season. I believe giving is more important than receiving. I only had one item on my wish list this year because I already have the two best gifts any single Christian woman should ever need…I finally found the love of my life who I plan to marry next year and I am saved and forgiven for my sins. Thank you God! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I do not tend to feel much pressure because I always remember ti go with the flow no matter what happens since I believe everything happens for a reason and know that Kesus is the reason for the season. I believe giving is more important than receiving. I only had one item on my wish list this year because I already have the two best gifts any single Christian woman should ever need…I finally found the love of my life who I plan to marry next year and I am saved and forgiven for my sins. Thank you God! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
The gift I would love the most would be the gift of togetherness! My family is very scattered and every year my heart yearns to be close to all those I love! The stress of making that happen overwhelmed me. I would love for everyone to be able to put aside years of differences and just enjoy being together for a few hours, sharing precious memories!
The gift of no pressure is a hard one for me. 3 out of 4 kids (along with grandkids) ar scatrered across the country and they are all wanting us to come to there homes! So hard and i really just wanting them to be all home ! So i am trying to focus on Jesus being born and what this really means!
Peace! I find peace.