Making Christmas Merry: Slowing Down

Guest Post by Lindsay Paris  

I love all all all things Christmas! The food, the decor, the cards, the lights, even the chaotic malls. I don't care! I love them all! 

When I was growing up, our Christmas season always seemed to begin the day after Thanksgiving, and it normally began with a trip to the mall to do annual Black Friday shopping. I know that just the thought of that makes some of you cringe and roll you eyes at me, but don't judge me just yet! :) Seeing the mall decorated with wreaths and lights and admiring the stores' Christmas window displays always reminded me of something so special… Christmas was coming!

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are always such a blur to me. They're so very busy. Between buying and wrapping gifts, going to holiday parties, and trying to design the cutest little Christmas card you've ever seen, it's exhausting. I love it. I love it all, but I'm always so stinkin' tired by the time December 25 rolls around. 

I grew up in Texas, and that's God's Country for all you people here in the Midwest :) My family all lived within a 10 mile radius from each other. There are 10 cousins, and there is a gap of about 14 years from the oldest (that's me!) to the youngest. We grew up more like brothers and sisters than cousins. We laugh, argue, encourage, and call each other out. But hey, what's family for anyway?? 

Every Christmas, we meet at my Mamaw and Granddaddy's house somewhere around 6:00 PM. We eat a ridiculous amount of sausage balls and deviled eggs, and then shortly after, the MADNESS begins. We all go into the living room (which is a large living room, but when you cram 20 people in there, it's a tad overwhelming) and someone begins passing out presents. Then the "fights" break out because "so-and-so has more presents than I do." Ah! Family!
After that, youngest to oldest we begin opening our presents. We all "ooooo" and "aaahhh" over the new clothes and gadgets, and my Mamaw ALWAYS says, "I spent way too much money this year! This is the last year we're doing Christmas!" Everyone laughs because she says this every year (even though this year she means it!). And my Granddaddy just sits in his chair, quietly watching it all. 
That's Christmas with my family. But my favorite part always comes after the gifts are opened and the food has pretty much been devoured. Somehow almost every year, we end up smushed together in the living room, undeniably physically uncomfortable, laughing and telling stories. We bring up all the cousins' ex-boyfriends/ex-girlfriends and bad style choices in years past, we talk about memories from the last year, and what we're excited about for the upcoming year. It's so comfortable and so relaxing. 

It's in those moments that I realize what the Christmas season is really all about. It's not about spending hours online trying to find your child's dream Christmas gift. It's not about making adventurous new recipes off of your Christmas Pinterest board. It's not about turning your house into the Griswold's. These things are great, and you should do them, but don't make your Christmas season revolve around them. 
Christmas is a time to slow down. 
That sounds crazy, doesn't it? I mean, in our culture, that's just crazy. 

Seriously. Slow. Down.
Be with your family. Enjoy. Listen. Laugh. Embrace. 

This picture is from two Christmases ago. We were ending our evening in the same way we normally do. I remember sitting there thinking that I really wanted to remember specifically this night, so I snapped a picture. Sitting in the blue chair, you can see the back of my Granddaddy's cute bald head, and he seems to be the center of everything. 
Little did we know, that would be his last Christmas with us. He died suddenly the next May. I'm incredibly grateful for him and this family he and my Mamaw created together. Because whether they know it or not, it was the way that they raised my family that taught us the importance of slowing down and enjoying the holiday season. 

Slow down, y'all. Teach your family the importance of slowing down. My daughter is only 20 months (and adorable, by the way!) but she already copies my every move. I hope to be more intentional with my time this year, and I hope that she notices it and copies that as well. 

Merry Christmas, everyone! Enjoy this season with your family and friends and a hot chocolate with a mountain of marshmallows!


Lindsay is a full-time wife to Joe and stay at home momma to her 20 month old daughter, Lola.  When Lindsay is not chasing her daughter around or cleaning up dried macaroni off of her floor, she enjoys playing the guitar, writing music, and watching cheesy Lifetime Christmas movies. You can hear more about her life with Lola at whilelolanaps.blogspot.com.

1 comment:

  1. Lindsay, I cannot tell you how much this post touched me when I first read it, and how much it has grown in meaning this last month. You have a gift for writing and for making the readers feel your emotion. Thank you so much for sharing a meaningful message we should all remember through such a touching and personal story!