‘Refuse to believe the only way to make Christmas memorable is to buy everything for everyone. The holidays aren’t about going into debt, or kids getting everything they lay their eyes on.’

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7 Things to Refuse This Christmas

1. Refuse to miss out on enjoying your day. Play with your kids, snuggle on the sofa, drink eggnog if that’s your thing. I mean, it’s super gross, but to each his own. Watch cheesy Hallmark movies. Grab a dice game out of the closet. Beat your family in charades. Get your booty out of the kitchen. Leave the dishes. Let the pots and pans wait. Soak them in Dawn, they’ll be fine, and soak in all the merry you can. Christmas doesn’t only belong to everyone else. It belongs to you too.

2. Refuse to feel guilty. Didn’t wrap all the presents? Didn’t hang all the lights? Didn’t cook all 27 side dishes? Forgot to order Christmas cards? (It’s fine. We do New Year’s cards every year. One year, we were so late, we had to do Valentine’s cards and you know what? Everyone lived. In fact, they loved it because nobody even saw it coming. Boom! Just a happy little mailbox surprise.) Don’t you dare feel guilty about it. Don’t you dare let it get you down. Don’t you dare let it steal your joy. Not for one second. Nobody even likes that weird green Jell-O stuff anyways. I promise, nobody will notice if it’s not there. You can’t do it all, so do what’s most important.

3. Refuse to allow stress take center stage. There is SO STINKING MUCH to do on Christmas. And as women, we tend to put ourselves in charge of more than our fair share. Decorations, gifts, parties, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, travel schedules, uncomfortable phone calls with mothers-in-law about whose year it is to host. It’s easy to let the anxiety of the season run away with your cheer. Hold onto peace like it’s the last sip of your vanilla latte from Starbucks. We want our kids, our families and our friends to remember happy holidays, not a frazzled momma. Christmas is a wonderful reason to give to those in need, to enjoy time with your family and a terrible reason to drive yourself into a mental and physical exhaustion.

4. Refuse to say yes to everything. You’re a human. You’re allowed to have some limits. You’re allowed to have some boundaries. You’re allowed to politely decline now and then. Time is a limited resource. Time is a precious commodity. Treat your time like it matters, because it does.

5. Refuse to allow anyone else to tell you what your Christmas should be. You’re allowed to be sad this time of year. You’re allowed to miss your family if you’re celebrating somewhere far away. You’re allowed to grieve loved ones who have died. You’re allowed to spend Christmas on the beach if that’s what’s best for you. You’re allowed to spend Christmas at home with only your immediate family. You’re allowed to decorate with 10 bajillion Christmas lights and you’re allowed not to listen to a single Christmas song. You’re allowed to have pizza for Christmas dinner. You’re allowed to do something entirely new and untested. You’re in charge of your Christmas. You’re in charge of what your holidays will be. Make them holidays that bring you peace. And joy. And time to cry. And time to laugh. And time to be surrounded with loved ones. And time to be alone. And time to reflect. And time to not have a care in the world.

6. Refuse to believe the only way to make Christmas memorable is to buy everything for everyone. The holidays aren’t about going into debt or creating a financial burden that will follow you around for the next 12 months, or kids getting anything and everything they lay their eyes on. They may crave stuff now, but that stuff won’t mean anything to them down the road. They won’t remember the toys you bought, but they will remember the time you spent with them. They will remember hot chocolate with loads of marshmallows, cuddling on the couch watching cheesy Christmas movies, and laughing around the kitchen table playing games. They will remember cousins, making a mess decorating gingerbread houses, and dancing in the kitchen to “All I Want for Christmas is You.” They will remember waking up to watch the parade on tv, candlelit Christmas Eve service, and creating new family traditions. They will remember handing out homemade cookies to neighbors, giving to those in need, and making light of all the million little things that go wrong on Christmas Day. Memories matter so much more than any toy ever will. Presence matters so much more than any present ever will.

7. Refuse to forget that Jesus is the reason for everything. He is the heart of the season, and hopefully he is the heart of everything we do, everything we give, and everywhere we go. The angels and the wisemen and the shepherds all gathered around Him in that tiny stable so long ago. Gathering around Him is the only tradition we truly need to remember this December.

Amy Weatherly

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amy Weatherly. The article originally appeared here. Follow Amy on Instagram here and Twitter here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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‘I wonder why I wasn’t invited. I wonder why I wasn’t included. I walk up to people and get that sinking feeling they were just talking about me.’

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