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I’m sure when the early settlers sank into their rough-hewn benches, munching on field corn with their new, tan-skinned neighbors, they weren’t thinking, “Someday families all across America will gather ’round the table to celebrate this very moment”.
Thoughts of survival weighed heavily on their minds. Forging a new life and government were of utmost importance.
Several members of their troop had perished. And – their new neighbors were a little scary.
In other words, they were both elated and scared out of their minds. Rejuvenated at recent accomplishments and promising comaradarie. Yet – overwhelmed at the work yet to be done.
We are fooling ourselves if we think their confidence outweighed their worries as they tasted fresh game hen and wondered if they’d ever eat figgy pudding again.
These new inhabitants of what we now call the “US of A” had a lot on their minds. And yet – they chose to dine with strangers and learn from them. To dig in and taste weird food (at least – they hoped it was food). If they hadn’t taken the time to plan and enjoy this first celebration, we wouldn’t know Thanksgiving as we do today.
The first settlers didn’t just survive through that first winter. They planned THROUGH their survival.
Translation: They took time to celebrate and fellowship. They gave thanks for their first, successful harvest – even in the midst of less than ideal circumstances.
This may seem trivial as we moms mentally tic off the days until the holiday season.
Planning or surviving
Decorating and food prep, not to mention pulling off school Thanksgiving parties and crafting one million Pilgrim hats (why did we say yes, again?!) loom large on the horizon.
Are you getting spun up yet? My blood pressure just rose 10 points.
(Also memories of a certain first grade thanksgiving dinner, serving cute, but picky pilgrims and indians just flitted through my mind. #alltheshudders)
But I recently read that even the slightest adjustments in schedule and planning can have big impacts toward savoring the holiday season this year.
You see, I think if those pilgrim mamas, living in less than stellar homes and cooking unfamiliar foods, could find time to celebrate (in between scrubbing clothes on wash boards), then we can too.
You see, community was important back then.
(That was before cell phones and ipads.)
And we moms have the power to bring back community. We have the power to slow down the schedule. And we have the power to serve and connect with our people.
I love Keri Snyder’s recent guest-post on how to plan activities without overwhelming our people. Give it a read here. It’s one of the simplest, yet effective ideas I’ve read on the intentional holiday planning – and Keri has 3 young children!
My tips on how to plan for the holidays
After spending 50-something holiday seasons on this earth, I’m sharing my best planning practices for moms.
Here they are – from me to you.
1. Map out traditions that you want to establish now.
I remember doing this when my kids were young. Good traditions don’t just “happen” without forethought!
2. Get clear on what you want to do this season. Keeping Christmas Simple; how to plan intentional family activities is a short read that will help!
3. Select a simple Advent devotional
Such as this brand new one called, Simply Christmas.
4. Write down everything you HAVE to do
Getting it all down on paper will help organize your calendar and plan accordingly.
5. Decide on any crafts you’re going to make
(More on this below – I’ve got helpful ideas!)
6. Pray about it
The older I get, the more I learn I am just beating the air with my fists when I don’t include God in my plans – even the small ones!
If you do these 6 steps – even breaking them up into 6 nights – you will be ahead of the game!! You will feel so much better because you put thought into the holiday season this year. I promise!
Getting my “Christmas Craft” on
I have a serious problem, ya’ll. It’s called “Seasonal Craft-ective Disorder”. You may have it too. You see, every year when the weather turns cold, I have a burning desire to do ALL OF THE CRAFTY THINGS.
What is it about cruising the aisles at JoAnne’s Fabric and loading up on “1001 Ways to Crochet a Lamp Cozy” (complete with 5 skeens of chunky yarn) or perusing bolts of chevron fabric for new pillow covers? Also, #allofthecrossstitchornaments.
The only problem is (ahem), I usually don’t finish them.
So, in the spirit of this new idea about being intentional at the holidays, I’m narrowing my projects down to 5.
(Don’t laugh. Are you laughing?)
Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Crochet rug
2. Pillow covers
3. Embroidery (kitchen towel, baby onesie, and tiny picture)
(I counted that last one as three – so that’s five.)
Here is a photo of my previous work, just so you know I have actually finished something before.
However, this is one of two stockings I completed back in the early ’90’s.
I have FOUR kids.
Which means two of them still do not have finished cross stitch stockings.
(The next-to-last just left home.)
I’ll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, I have scoop on an amazing resource for craft-aholics (such as myself). It has to do with my 5 things I’m crafting this season.
If you too suffer from Seasonal Craft-ective Disorder, you’ll want to know when the Handmade with Love Superbundle is coming – and enter their amazing giveaway going on right now!
How would you like to win a Cricut Maker Machine ($400), a Brother Embroidery and Sewing Machine ($390) or any of 18 other prizes?
I’m thinking – DUH!
Including these prizes, there are 20 prizes (worth almost $4,000 altogether!), so you’ll definitely find something crafty that you’ve had your eye on.
If you love crafting as much as I do, why not take a sec and head here.
So take two minutes and head here.
You’ll pick your category (applique, sewing, knitting, etc), and enter your name and email address. That’s it!
Then you sit back and wait to see if you win.
Just don’t wait, because you must enter by November 26!