How to Recover from the Best Christmas Ever

by | Dec 28, 2016 | Family, Life | 5 comments

Merchandise is Here!

I had an absolutely wonderful Christmas!

On paper it may not seem that way. I had to make a big Christmas dinner three times. Plus we had other friends in that I had to feed. We must have run back and forth to the grocery store at least a dozen times in the days leading up to Christmas! And yet, I think it was one of the best Christmases ever. On the actual day we all got up when we wanted to, opened presents, then shared a lovely leisurely breakfast and played board games all day. We initially decided we weren’t going to get dressed all day, but I caved since I really wanted a shower. Becca and Keith stayed in their pyjamas all day, though! pandemic-game On Christmas Eve we opened our “family gift” which was a big bag of goodies I wrapped for us to enjoy. Everyone got a new pair of pyjamas, and then there were some chocolates, and then the board game Pandemic. I’ve been told it’s wonderful, and I’ve talked about it in my posts on board games, but it was one game we’d never actually played. So I was excited to try it out! It’s a cooperative game (you all win or lose together) and it was really fun! family-playing-pandemic Later in the day I enjoyed a lovely walk with my youngest daughter Katie where we talked about the future, and faith, and hope. katie-christmas (P.S.: See that purple Christmas tree skirt with the gold trim? I knitted it this year!) And we ate lots of chocolate! Our gifts were unique this year, too. When my mom was moving in to our house last summer, I helped her sort out a ton of stuff. And I noticed that she was really agitated every time I told her she didn’t actually need to keep an Air Canada boarding pass from 1998. I finally figured out what was bugging her about it–she was afraid she’d never know the dates when she went to things. So for Christmas I made her a PowerPoint presentation and Excel spreadsheet of everything she’s done that I could find since she beat cancer 28 years ago. She loved it! And the best part? It doesn’t take up any room in our house! We’re big on “different” presents in our house, and my son-in-law fits in well there. It’s a running joke how Rebecca (my married oldest daughter) steals all the blankets, so Connor bought her these pillows for Christmas: connor-becca-christmas

I also hosted dinners for both sides of our family, and they went really well, too.

On the 26th, while we were all sitting around the table, I asked everyone to share the best highlight of 2016. And when it came to my turn, I thought about our Baltic cruise and standing in front of Rembrandt’s painting of The Return of the Prodigal Son in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. I thought about our 25th anniversary party. I thought about some of our trips in the RV, which have been so much fun. But I chose to say Christmas. Our family has found a new “feel” that we’re comfortable with, after my daughter has been married for a year and a half now, and it was good. It really was. I hope your Christmas was wonderful, too! I’ve been enjoying some days away from the computer, and I’m just getting back into things now. Yesterday we went shopping in Toronto to the discount street, and the girls bought some amazing clothes. I expanded my capsule wardrobe I’ve been working on by shopping for my new neutrals (grey and brown) and getting rid of black! Lots of fun. Plus I bought a new jacket to speak in. And today work begins again.

But one thing that really struck me was this: I knew what I wanted Christmas to be like.

I knew I wanted a “down day” when we all relaxed and played games. I knew I wanted dinner with my extended family to be about family and have some good conversations. I knew I wanted time to have fun with the kids. And so I let everyone know early, so they could plan for it. And I made sure that this was the priority in my schedule. I didn’t used to do that. If I wanted something, I didn’t necessarily work to make it happen. I would dream about it and read about it, but I wouldn’t do anything. And then I’d be disappointed. I’m getting too old for that. I’m in my mid-40s now, and I’ve realized that if there are things I want in my life, I need to be the instigator for that. I’ve spent too long moping and being disappointed and feeling like I haven’t met my goals. People who feel at peace are those who have goals that are attainable, and who do what they can to meet those goals–they don’t just wish it. We had some disappointing news in our close circle over Christmas, too, and I’m deep in prayer for a certain situation and looking at how Keith and I can help. I truly believe that God can change the hearts of those who are fully submitted to Him, and I guess I need to know that that can happen in this situation. I’m just not willing to sit back and see what happens. We’re really praying about how we can get involved and fight for something we love and believe in. Last night Keith was snoring and I went into another room to sleep. It was cold in that room, so I huddled under a ton of covers. At 1:30 this morning I woke up in a huge lake of sweat. I don’t know if it was the fact that I put too many blankets on me, or if menopause is finally starting. But it was really weird. And by that time Keith had stopped snoring so I changed pjs and crawled back into the dry bed.

But it’s reminding me again: time passes. Life goes on. And we can’t just WAIT for things to happen.

Sometimes there is nothing we can do. I have that in another area of my life–I’m really waiting on God for something. But I’m still praying and I’m still working through my own issues about why it is that I’m so emotionally invested in that. But for many things in life there IS something we can do. And we take the easy way out by dreaming about it and praying about it but also doing nothing.

If you want your life to change, then usually you have to do something.

With the new year almost upon us, now is a good time to start asking: what is it that I’m wanting? And how can I get there? I talk to so many women on this blog whose lives are difficult and there are no easy answers as their lives are right now. But then maybe it’s time for a change! If shift work is killing your marriage, make a long term plan where you don’t need to work shift work anymore. If living apart for work is killing your marriage, then downsize. Change your expectations. Make a new plan! If exhaustion is overwhelming you, cut things out of your schedule. Get healthy. Do some things that rejuvenate you. I’ve had a great Christmas. I hope you have, too. But Christmas has that wonderful ability to clarify what it is that we really want for our lives. I think we’re able to hear God’s voice better, and He starts pointing to where we need to go. Will you follow? I want to talk about that in different ways over the next week and a half. I have some neat things to share with you! But for today, as you resume life after the Christmas break, I hope that you catch a new vision for peace!
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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. KellyK

    SOUNDS like it was a fun, relaxing day! I’d LIVE in my PJ’s if I could…lol

  2. Sarah

    What a fantastic Christmas!! I have three little girls and I can’t wait to spend Christmas in my PJs with them and go for walks, cook and bake!! Definitely enjoying the magic of Christmas with them now, though!

    Thanks for all your hard work on the blog this past year — means a ton to us readers! 🙂

    Happy New Year, Sheila!!


  3. Ashley

    We just got Pandemic too! I had Amazon Prime for a month for Christmas shopping, and I took advantage of it by buying a few things I wanted too. I bought Pandemic and Ticket to Ride. We have played Pandemic once, and are still learning the ropes. Hubby isn’t a huge fan, because he likes games where he can stab other players in the back. But I love the cooperation and communication!

    I’ve been thinking about what changes I can make in the coming year. How can I better use the gifts and personality that God gave me to my advantage and His advantage? That sort of thing.

  4. Robert

    This sounds like a dream Christmas. I hope next christmas I can have something of this nature and will be able to just spend the holiday relaxing and sleeping. I never seem to get enough of sleep lately.

  5. Light Projectors

    This was so beautiful! You captured your kids’ Christmas magic perfectly and I’m sure these pics will be treasured forever. Love your daughter’s mis-matched socks and their sweet expressions. Merry Christmas!


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