Thursday, November 14, 2013

Friday's Faves...Planning for A Peaceful Holiday Season

We are only two weeks away from Thanksgiving and forty days away from Christmas!
I've been in holiday preparation mode since Halloween, 
and I thought it would be fun to share some of my goals to keep the holiday season
 as peaceful and stress free as possible.

1) Keep the main thing the main thing...
The main thing of Thanksgiving is giving thanks, having a spirit of gratitude!
I'm still keeping my gratitude journal that I started in 2009,
and also keeping up my tradition of posting something I'm grateful for each day of the month of November on my Facebook page.

The main thing of Christmas is celebrating the birth of Christ.
It's all too easy to lose that focus and focus instead on all of the other things I love about Christmas...
-the gift giving
-the decorating
-the food
I love all of those things, but my love for Jesus Christ must have supremacy in my heart.
So, time with Him is more important than time spent on the other stuff.
I'm excited to be reading Ann Voskamp's The Greatest Gift this year.
I'm also planning to keep the Jesse's Branch tradition going,
a daily reminder of who Jesus is on the days leading up to Christmas.

2) Keep myself healthy...
If I'm overeating and not getting out to go on my walk/run, I'm a grump!
If I'm not spending adequate time with Jesus, I'm a grump!
If I'm not keeping my wits about me and living within our means, I'm a grump!
If my inner world is full of criticalness, unforgiveness and offenses, I'm a grump!
If my home is chaotic and messy, I'm a grump!
If my schedule is overbooked, I'm a grump!
A happy Elizabeth is a healthy Elizabeth...being grumpy is miserable, 
so I know what I have to do to avoid the pitfalls that make me grumpy, stressed and irritable.

3) Clear out clutter and clean in advance...
I usually do a deep clean and purge around the house in the spring and before the holidays.
So, I'm already almost done with my pre holiday deep-clean, just by adding one bigger chore to the weekly housework.
So far I've-
-gone through my Christmas decorations and gotten rid of things I no longer love
-cleaned out all of the kitchen cupboards and pantry and gotten rid of "old food" as well as kitchen items I no longer need or use
-deep cleaned and rearranged the living room so I've already made room for the Christmas tree

(In this photo where you see the ladder, the tree will go,
 and the ladder will be moved over near the fireplace where it will be used to hang the Christmas stockings from.)

3)  Start buying now...
By pecking away at it bit by bit, knowing what we want to get for the people on our list,
and asking God to help us find good deals, (yes, I do think He cares even about things like this!), we've already got the bulk of our Christmas shopping done.
Also, while doing my weekly grocery shopping, I've been picking up a few extra things each week that will be needed for the holidays, (extra baking items, etc.), so that my grocery budget isn't impacted so much  all at once.

4) Keep a peaceful atmosphere...
In my heart, (see number 2).
In my home.
-doing my best to eliminate clutter and chaos
-lighting some candles
-listening to some peaceful music
(I love to listen to Handel's Messiah while cleaning or crafting!)

-not overcrowding our schedule

Well, it's almost Friday, friends!
Have a HAPPY, HAPPY Friday
a BLESSED weekend!

Oh, and remember to click on the photo below to see how you can enter my giveaway
 for this beautiful Ghanaian Market Basket!

still following,

vintage inspiration button              1aaadoveladygfairy006    

TidyMomShabby Art Boutique

                                                      kim klaxon dot com
Also linking to Jennifer Rizzo's Fabulously Creative Friday


  1. I'm in the same mode right now, Elizabeth. I do believe that working on it little by little we can keep our focus in the best place.

    1. Yes! Preparing for the holidays little by little instead of killing ourselves to get it all done at the last minute is much better!

  2. Wow, PLANNING for a peaceful Christmas. I can see that it is a good idea. This will be the first time in forever that I have time to plan. I'm going to look at this as a positive in my jobless situation. Thanks

    1. Yes, look at this as a positive and enjoy this time while you have it!

  3. These are all wonderful ideas, Elizabeth! I'm going to carve out a few minutes over the weekend to start planning and making lists. If I don't write it down, it doesn't happen! :) Bookmarking this post for future reference. Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much, Lynda! Happy list making! :)

  4. Little by little. I haven't had the organized week I'd hoped for, but maybe before long I can say I've knocked out some of my planning as well.

    1. I just love the holidays and have to "rope myself in" so I don't get overly distracted by all of the "trappings"!

  5. So many good thoughts on making the most of the holidays, and enjoying the true meaning of each. Love the one about keeping ourselves focused and staying healthy, physically and spiritually!
    Mary Alice

    1. Thank you so much, Mary Alice! I do love all of the "trappings" of the holidays, so it's all too easy for me to get distracted away from what is most important.

  6. I loved all of your ideas, and I especially love the name of your blog. I have been a follower for a while and always enjoy visiting. Would love for you to follow me at .

    God Bless,

    1. I'm so happy to find and follow your beautiful blog! You drew me right in with your beautiful photography!

  7. My goodness, you sure sound like a woman with a vision...I love that! I've been doing a little Christmas planning myself :)

    1. I love Thanksgiving and Christmas and am a bit like a kid in my excitement!

  8. Wonderful advice, Elizabeth. I've already started my shopping and even started my Christmas cards yesterday. Feels amazing! Merry Christmas! xo

  9. You have motivated me! And given me the focus of purpose. I've always *wanted* a peaceful Christmas, but I don't think I ever set that as such a clear purpose, around which to gather all the needed smaller objectives. No wonder my stomach knots a bit when I read anything about "getting ready for Christmas"--even though I've made a lot of effort to simplify. Great plan and priorities! Thanks a bunch!

    1. Oh Sylvia, I'm so thankful my post blessed you! I've got to purposefully concentrate or my focus definitely gets off the main thing all too easily!

  10. Love this post. I'm doing much the same this year - making the most of time my sweetheart is away elk hunting to do some deep cleaning and a bit of long-overdue house updates. Thanks for your ideas. They 'ring a bell' with my heart. I'd love to hear about your regular housekeeping 'schedule' some time. You're a very busy lady with a lot of people in and out of your life (and home) and the need for flexibility. Would love to know what works for you. Thanks for helping us keep our focus on the things that matter!

    1. I forget he's gone hunting! Time is flying and it will be Thanksgiving in a blink!

  11. Elizabeth,

    How festive to slip into your site here and hear of your holiday preparations. I'm going to be reading Ann's new book shortly too, with my Thursday morning Bible study group. I'm looking forward to it.

    Good tips:) Have a great week,
    Jennifer Dougan

    1. Thanks so much, Jennifer! How awesome to study Ann's book with a group!

  12. Great post, Elizabeth.

    My mission for this week is to take time to write out some of my ideas and plans for what I want this Christmas to look like.

  13. Thanks for the reminder about the 'reason for the season,' focusing on Christ and slowing down! Going to go de-cultter now :)

  14. Great advice Elizabeth and I totally agree with your approach to the holidays.
    May yours be truly blessed,
    Hugs - Kerryanne


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