When the Holi-Daze Sneak Up on You


The other day I headed out to do some last-minute Christmas shopping.  Before long I was skirting around all sorts of tricked-out strollers, the little ones tucked comfortably inside looking all couture in their holiday best while their siblings ran excitedly alongside Mama.

It didn’t take long before the ugly green started rising in my throat, the envy of these that wowed me—these well-manicured mamas who {I just knew} would use the wailings of their straddled-to-the-hip toddlers and the untimely playing of the older kids as delightful fodder for that night’s Pinterest boards. Those mamas who were actually having fun with motherhood.

I can’t do this today, Lord.

Recently I shared with you how I’m parenting again. Parenting as in up all night sometimes with my beautiful grand-daughter. She and I, we’re doing the best we can. In the crazy of our daily routine, we’re trusting somehow that God is working as each day starts with me begging God to keep that car line open until we get there and ends when we fall exhausted each night into story time.

It’s just too much sometimes. I long to do this right, this substitute parenting. I want to help my grand-daughter overcome these lingering obstacles that threaten to impact the rest of her days. I want to fill the gap others have created. I want to inspire her creativity, encourage her independence, and disciple her tender heart.

And now, out of nowhere, comes the hustle and bustle of recitals and programs and gift-buying and parties and card-sending and having to go here when I really need to be there. Quiet as a cat she snuck up on me, this holi-daze that threatens to cripple me.

What happens when all that sanctimonious talk about the “reason for the season” falls flat? Where is the festive joy, the Norman Rockwell of it all?

This parenting at Christmas can be a very stressful thing, but I’m finding there are some things I can do that help. Out of necessity, there are a few questions I’m learning to ask myself, questions that can help reduce this pressing stress and make this Christmas a happier one.


1. When I think about ____________, how do I feel?

During an already over-packed schedule, maybe I should pay attention to my feelings, this barometer for whether I should do something or not.

Do I really need to take on that which I dread? Wouldn’t it be great to seek out more things that trigger joy this season?


2. Am I doing this to please others?

If the answer is yes, then my answer should probably be no. Do I really need the additional burden just to impress someone? This year, I’m going to work on substituting the “impressing” for “expressing.” That should simplify things.


3. What do I want this Christmas to be? How do I want to feel when it’s over?

I tend to be a perfectionist who, left to myself, can create my own stress. And at Christmas, well, I just go into overdrive. But what am I really striving for? Do I want a deeper connection with my family? A clearer focus on the reason we’re celebrating Christmas anyway? Do I simply want to relax? I really need to consider what it is I want from this season and make decisions based around that.


Truth? I want a time of true unity. Not some holy or cool catch-phrase but a genuine family-shared peace and appreciation for The Greatest Gift of all.  And yes, as a Mama, I also want permission and space to breathe, to know when the year closes that I took at least one day to focus on that which really matters.

How about you? No wrong answer here, what do you want for Christmas this year?


{Need some fresh hope for the holidays?  Find encouragement with Jo Ann’s newly released book, When A Woman Finds Her Voice: Using Your Story to Make a Difference. We’re giving away a copy today to someone who leaves a comment below, but they’re also great for Christmas gifts.}


5 thoughts on “When the Holi-Daze Sneak Up on You

  1. Great question! I would like strength to get through these holidays without a meltdown on my part. There is so much to be thankful for, but there’s also so much pain and hurt to work through. And for some reason the pain and hurt want to stay front and center even though I’m trying really hard to concentrate on the “thankful list.” Thanks for writing this post! Blessings to you and Merry Christmas!

  2. I prayed one afternoon that God would show me His presence, show me the healing, show me the way to show Christmas to my children. And He has answered me in ways I cannot even fully express. When I took the time to take my concerns, my weariness, and my burdens to him he replied in beauty and triumph.
    I am praying for you and sweet Lacey as you both continue on this journey. Love you!!

  3. I pray daily for peace in my family. No more fussing, fighting or lying. I am so tired of the pain and stress from all of this. So my Christmas wish is Peace in my family and to raise my 5 and almost 2 yr old in a calm 2 parent home that loves Christ.

    God Bless
    Merry Christmas to all

  4. G’Moms raising their G’children reap especially the physical fatigue on top of other responsibilities. But in the quiet of bedrooms, other G’Moms reap the emotional and spiritual fatigue of grandchildren growing up in this current culture. We thought it was bad in the 1970-80’s when we put our children in Christian Schools, AWANA, etc., to aid in their understanding of Godly values and life. Now they are hit from all sides no matter where they are…it has the be the Holy Spirit that protects them, not any group, school, or? Not to say these are not good. Maybe the generation gap has put me at odds with some of the ways of today’s families. Expensive phones, games, brand name clothing, seem as important to children in Christian homes as in secular environments and I wonder why the emphasis is where it is. But I ask the God of the Universe to protect these young minds who have been taught the truth as a little seed, that it will take off and grow and when the time is right, they will be enlightened and truly desire to live for Jesus. We must never downplay the power of Satan or we will fall right into his dirty hands. “Lord, I thank you for Grandparents who do take on the responsibility of grandchildren when necessary. Bless them with extra strength and energy and bring forth respite for their peace.”

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