At the beginning of this month, we had a lesson at church about the trio of holidays–Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years–and talked at length about how they are each related to each other and why celebrating them together can actually enhance our enjoyment of the holiday season. I hadn’t really thought about it in this way before but haven’t been able to get it out of my head.
Thanksgiving sets things up for us with our focus on gratitude and being thankful for what we’ve been blessed with in our lives. I wrote a post about this at the beginning of the month just a couple of days before we had the lesson in church. Someone made a comment during our lesson that when we show gratitude to God for our blessings, we receive a fullness of the blessing that we wouldn’t receive otherwise. I think showing gratitude really grounds us. As a family, we work together and rely on each other to grow and learn. Last year, we started a couple of traditions that I really love and helps us get into an attitude of gratitude.
After Thanksgiving comes Christmas. I love that we have just been through a season of gratitude and that carries us into Christmas and a celebration of the birth of Christ. We have a handful of traditions surrounding this holiday that I love and really help set the tone for the month of December. Helping our children understand the reason for the season is one of our main focuses during the holiday. We do our best to simplify our activities so we don’t become overwhelmed to the point that the magic and spirit of Christmas is lost.
Then comes the New Year when many of us make goals and promises to ourselves that we will try to improve in some way. It is both a literal and symbolic chance for new beginnings. We’ve just finished seasons of thanksgiving and celebrating Christ and I am often filled with feelings of hope and desire to do better. I’ve found that it is often the simple changes I make in my life that make the biggest difference.
This holiday season, I’m teaming up with Justine from Little Dove and other talented bloggers to introduce the Simplifying the Season series. The series will go from 11/21 to 12/26. Each week there will be a post on Little Dove in this series: The Great Christmas Round Up (11/29), Focus on Family (12/5), Focus on Traditions (12/12), Focus on the Savior (12/19) and #SimplifyingTheSeason Link-Up Party (12/26).
If you’d like to participate in this series, it’s as simple as sharing how you are going to refocus and simply. As Justine says on her blog:
“Share it on your blog, share it on your social media, just share it! Maybe you have some tips about how to stay calm with holiday guests, maybe you have a family tradition you want to share that helps you focus on family time, whatever it is I want to know how it helps you with simplifying the season! This should not be something that adds yet another thing to your holidays, just something to help you enhance them, helps to refocus them on what truly matters to you and your family this season.”
Be sure to use the hashtag #SimplifyingTheSeason and then link-up the week after Christmas. Justine will be picking her favorite posts that she feels best exemplify the spirit of simplifying this holiday season to send a special gift to!
I encourage each of you to simplify and refocus during this season. One of my favorite decorations I put up this time of year says “Simplify Christmas, Celebrate Christ”. I truly believe that if we put even just a little bit of time and effort into doing this, we will be filled with the Christmas spirit. Our burdens will feel lighter. We will feel a stronger desire to help and serve others. I love the magical feeling that accompanies this time of year and wish it could last all year round.
What are your favorite ways to simplify during the holidays?
Love this so much! I wrote a post about quality time during the holidays. It's amazing how all the holiday hustle can make it all flying and you forget the true meaning sometimes!
I love this idea so much! I can't stand the holiday hustle but love the meaning behind the holidays!
That lesson sounds really interesting! I hadn't ever thought about that before–how celebrating them together helps enhance our holiday experience. I love that thought though and really, when I think about it, I agree! Thanks so much for writing this beautiful post and helping to spread the word!
I love how the holidays all tie together. You explained it so well. Christmas can be so hectic sometimes with everything going on but I love the idea of simplifying it. Good post
Sounds like a fun series, and I think it's important to really reflect on your blessings throughout the whole season. Great reminder!
I love this! Such a wonderful reminder on what we truly should be thinking about this time of year. Thank you for sharing!
Like the thought of focusing on each holiday and tying them together. I feel Thanksgiving gets overlooked way too often as people rush ahead to the Christmas stuff. Hope all of your holidays are great this year!
Can I say how much I love this idea! We need to get back to what's important in life. And I love your blog layout! It's adorable!
So true Ashley! It's so easy to get caught up in the things that aren't as important.
I feel the same Lisa!
I thought the same thing Justine! I wonder why I'd never thought of it before but it just makes sense. Thanks for letting me participate in this series with you!
I really love thinking about how the holidays tie together too! I think it enhances our joy during the season and helps us focus on what's important.
It's a great series! Be sure to hop over to Little Dove and check out the new post each week and participate as well if you'd like to!
I couldn't agree more Katie! Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read and comment!
I feel the same way Sheila Jo! If we change the way we think about the trio of holidays, then it will only enhance our enjoyment of the season!
Amen Diedre! And thank you! 😉
This is such a wonderful idea Shani. Thank you for reminding us what is important and to focus on that!!
Great idea for a series! I am all for simplifying 🙂
Such a great idea for the holidays Sabrina! It's so hard to slow down remember the true meaning of Christmas. I love to do Truth in the Tinsel with my kiddos. Combining crafting and learning and the kiddos actually (maybe) pay attention 🙂
This is such a wonderful idea and is definitely going to be my mantra this year. The holiday craziness seems to be extra high this year and repeating to myself "this season I will focus on what truly matters" is going to be a life saver!
Great post Shani… I've been reading about gratitude lately and this post is another reminder. Thanks for showing us how viewing the seasons together can be a help.Simplyfing is such a great way to celebrate the seasons and focus on their true meanings.
I really love simplifying things in general so it just makes sense to try and simplify the holidays as well.
Me too Lora!
I completely agree Sarah. We'll be starting something called 25 Days of Christ where we put a mini ornament on the tree each night and read about it. So excited! I haven't heard about Truth in the Tinsel though. I'll have to check that out.
I love that you're making this your mantra! It could even be changed a little bit to be a goal for the new year by saying "This YEAR I will focus on what truly matters".
I don't think I'll ever view Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years the same again. I love thinking about them together and simplifying the season!