Sunday, November 24, 2019

Sunday Afternoon Tea - My Annual Sunday Before Thanksgiving Post

For over ten years now, I have shared the same blog post before the Holidays and usually the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  It has been the blog post that has had the most response in all my years of blogging.

I'm going to share it with you now as I first wrote it in 2008. My own list has been tweaked a lot over the years. As this Holiday season continues, I will share more about this season's priorities.  Remember, I do not try to do but a few items on each year's list, I just brainstorm lots of ideas.  In the meantime, below is the original post:)

I remember coming to the end of a Christmas season about ten or twelve years ago and wondering at my frustration. There were no severe money trials that season, nothing that should have kept me from enjoying Christmas but... I couldn't put my finger on it... there was this sense of a lack of satisfaction... an unsettled feeling.

Soon after that, I was reading an article (magazine... book?) about this very thing. In it, the author said she learned to write out what it was she wanted from the Christmas season, what was most important to her. When I started doing that, I realized why the previous season had been lacking in joy.

It had been a rushed Christmas, the "doing" of many activities I felt I should do and not "being" the person I wanted to be that Season. My frustrations stemmed from a lack of getting away, alone beside my Christmas tree, enjoying that which comes from prayer and study and reading of books. I also had not said "no" to some outside activities that did not bring peace and joy.

Since that time, I have enjoyed making a list each season. My list has changed since that time due to health and finances but only in the "big" things. My list back then included attending a Christmas concert that I loved each year. However, it became too expensive even when we did have a regular income. It wasn't that much of a priority that I'd spend more for tickets to a concert then I would on a week's worth of groceries.

Another item on my list that has gone by the wayside is hosting a big Christmas party. I loved decorating the house and having a lot of people over but that season is now behind me. I remember one very magic (Narnia magic) party in our former house when we invited over Stephanie's college group. There was a tree in the family room and one in the living room, a fire was burning in the fire place, food placed in various areas, conversations were going on in many rooms of the house.

Later that night, as the young people were leaving, one student came up to tell me that night will be one of his "perfect Christmas memories" when he leaves college. It is one of my perfect memories, too. :)

I have found by making a list of those things I love about Christmas, I can make certain what means the most to me (and for my family) becomes a priority for time and money. Here are a few for this year, written out on paper before transferring to my scrapbook journal. Of course, I can't do them all but any of them on the "wish list" would make my season bright.
  • Decorating the house with my snowman collection
  • Carefully placing all my ornaments on the tree
  • Morning quiet times in the dark, with the tree lit
  • A breakfast out at Cracker Barrel during Christmas
  • Lunch with the guys at our favorite cafeteria
  • Holiday Baking
  • Candy Cane Lane tea
  • Listening to the music of the season
  • Watching favorite Christmas movies
  • Reading favorite Christmas books
  • Seeing what yummies The Food Channel comes up with this year
  • One or two Pumpkin Spice Latte's to enjoy
  • A morning at Panera sipping coffee and writing a real letter
  • Visit my sister, to see how she decorated her place (she has that wow factor)
  • Send a small gift to my sister who lives out of state
  • Send Christmas cards to our elderly aunties
  • Visit my favorite "downtown" primitive country store... breath in the scents, no purchase necessary
Most of my list this year involves more solitude than in the past. It has been that kind of year. None require much money.  This is only a way of thinking through what brings joy... and peace... and faith... and what lifts my thoughts to the One Who Made Me.

Little satisfactions in the most wondrous and magical time of the year.

I encourage you to brew a little pot of tea and fill your favorite tea cup, bring along a notebook and pen, light the Christmas tree if you have one, and think about those things that bring joy to your heart at Christmas. Are you making time for them? Did you budget for them through the year? What makes your heart sing with gladness?

You don't need to do them all, just choose a few that will cause you to look back at this Christmas and smile... and remember, Christmas is not about the price of gifts or how many are given, it is about the Giver of all gifts.

Image Seasons of Peace poster


Vee said...

It is true. This post has been high on my list of all time favorites, but then you write so many of my favorites. I have shared how this came along at just the right time for my mother and me when she was planning how to spend her last Christmas for a while on earth. (Yes, I do believe that we shall celebrate Christmas in this earth again even after we have gone to Jesus.) She had a few of your favorites on her list, including breakfast out at Cracker Barrel.

Many blessings this holiday season. I look forward to reading all that you will have to say.

Barbara Harper said...

This is such a good idea. It seems when kids are young and the family, individually and collectively, is involved in various groups and ministries, there's so much on the schedule. I enjoyed each thing in turn, but all together it was just too much. (I wish some groups would save their Christmas get-togethers for January, when there's not much going on.) We're in a quieter season of life now and able to pick and choose our activities a little more, and that helps.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I always love this post. I do host one party for my co-op mom friends, and we do a few special things, too, like going to look at a free light display and this year we’ll attend Sarah’s choir concert! All the rest of the month is low key, non stressful activities that allow us to experience the JOY of the season!

Patti said...

I long ago got off the hamster wheel of constant activity, so my holiday season isn't usually all that harried. But it isn't always what I want it to be either, so I really love your idea to create a list of what I really want to focus on during the holidays. I'm going to do that this week.

Patti @ This Beautiful Life

Linda Stoll said...

I'm a huge fan of lists and yours hits the spot! I'm so glad to have found you this morning!