Just. Stop.

News flash!

Christmas is not a competition…

Of how decorated your house is.

Of how perfectly perfect your gifts are.

Of how busy your days and nights are.

Of how much baking you do.

Of how many homemade gifts you can crank out.

Of how beautiful your family is (or appears to be).

Let’s all. Just. Stop.

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  1. Cindy says:

    Love your post ! We need to remember what’s important in this short time on earth! I TOO CHERISH our farm ! I love my horses! Goats !dogs!chickens! And a VERY spoiled farm cat named Gypsy! GOD forbid any of our animals should get cold! Ha! They ALL have shelter and plenty of spoiling! ILOVE to bake and entertain in my country,farmhouse kitchen ! We have great friends on neighboring farms and are VERY blessed! I DO LOVE to decorate ! I do for all seasons but NOT to impress anyone! I could CARE LESS to keep up with anyone else! Who cares! Love your family and life! I am very grateful for my husband of many years and family and friends! God bless ! Merry Christmas,Cindy

  2. Mary Rauch says:

    Rebekah, I think I love your soul. Merry Christmas from someone who has not decorated for 3 years because I wanted more time to do and be with people and things that meant more than tinsel.

  3. Cindy says:

    A couple of months ago, At the top of my December calendar I wrote in BIG letters…MAKE MEMORIES! Making memories takes time but I’m doing it. I had two of my nieces Thanksgiving weekend. They are 13 now and I didn’t think they’d want to come over. We made Christmas bunting, a scene in a jar, Christmas cookies with Mom (grandma), went to the annual holiday light display, then a parade. Very full weekend. And it’s not December yet. I’ve been collecting gifts for my sister and cousin for months. Nothing expensive. Some handmade or on clearance from summer. Just fun stuff. I’m giving them a Christmas countdown bag of presents to open every day the month of December. Our family is going to see Scrooge at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. I’m loving it all. Spending time with family and friends is my favorite thing. I’ll rest in January!
    And the house….tree is up, not decorated…gifts on surface spaces need wrapped and I’m in my pj’s drinking coffee. It’ll get done. I’m breathing!
    Happy Snowy Merry Christmas Rebekah

    Ps.praying for Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge residents.

  4. Barbara says:

    I’m definitely in the “old lady” category and will soon add another birthday to the list. I have had really scant Christmases (no tree, no gifts and mac and cheese for dinner) and I been fortunate enough to have more elaborate holidays serving big dinners, lots of people and way too many non-necessary gifts under the tree. As my life has progressed I like to think that a real appreciation of the holidays has too. This year Christmas will be a small affair. I’ve decorated with memory ticklers and silly stuff that gives me a smile. I will drive thru town and ooooh and aaaah at the lights. I have a tote of handmade soft and warm items to offer to our church closet and I will bake a few items to share with friends and neighbors. And, the most meaningful thing I will do will be to hug my hubby and tell him he is still the best gift I ever received.

    Wishing everyone a peace and love filled holiday.

  5. Diane Van Horn says:

    I was just talking to my Hubby the other day about this exact topic! I remember when I was a child, getting just one special toy and of course an orange and a popcorn ball in my stocking. We didn’t decorate until the week before Christmas. I think this made it even more special. I also remember watching all the magical Christmas movies. My Mom and I would make all sorts of candies, breads and cookies to distribute to all the neighbors, friends and relatives. With six siblings the house was always “lived in” but the kitchen, although messy, smelled delicious with all that holiday baking! Far from the Pinterest perfect Christmas but somehow always the best memories.

    This year I have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree and that is all. I have always relished decorating every room in my house but now that I live in a basically one room cabin, I don’t have the space or the inclination to decorate. I may go out to the woods behind my tiny house and cut some greenery for around my front door. Mostly because I love the smell. I sometimes feel a little guilty for not doing the whole house Christmas show but with my children all grown, married and living a good distance away, it just wouldn’t be the same. Christmas will come and go without all the dazzle and maybe just maybe, I will enjoy the real reason for the season in my tiny little house in the woods with the Charlie Brown tree.

  6. Rebecca says:

    I love this post because it’s exactly what I’m trying to do this year. Slow down and ENJOY the moment as it’s happening. When I was a child, we never got big lavish gifts; we got gloves, an orange, a little candy and sometimes a new box of crayons or small toy. And it was wonderful! A good fire has always been one of my favorite things….I have too many favorites to list. When I saw the truckload of firewood, I though of a saying that my dad used to use. Firewood warms you 3 times, once when you cut it, again when you chop it and finally when you burn it.

  7. My favorite things are going to the village holiday parade, eggnog, making gifts with the grandkids, watching The Polar Express on Christmas Eve and offering a toast in memory of my Dad at midnight on Christmas Eve as he was born at 12:03A.M. Christmas morning.

  8. Deb Bosworth says:

    Merry Christmas, Rebekah! This post is just what I needed this morning. My mind has been racing with all I ” think” I need to be doing to get ready for the holidays. I’ve been working towards slow holidays for a few years now and your words today just gave me permission to finally just give into it with OUT the guilt…! You’re so right about social media, pinterest etc…Maybe we should all start taking photos of our imperfect homes and share them… That would be inspiring and freeing to many I bet! As a daily practitioner of gratitude here are a few of my favorite things…The twinkle in my hubby’s eyes when I’ve made him laugh, holding hands on the couch when we binge watch Sherlock together, hearing my mom say she loves me, ( she lives with us now, so I get to hear it often) a hug from my daughter, hearing my sons footsteps on the stairs just as I start dinner, mamma time with our corgi, Max. I love the sights and sounds of my family stirring about the house. To me these are the best gifts anyone could ask for. I wish you the same soul-satisfying holiday season on the farm! I know you’ll make it happen!
    Much love from Deb, the Beach Farmgirl xoxo

    • Denise Ross says:

      I was thinking the same thing actually Deb, that we should take pictures of our lived in homes and share them. I think we would all relax more and take the pressure for perfection off of ourselves.
      Have a holy and merry Christmas
      From Australia

  9. Beth says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Rebekah. Life is not to be lived in a rush. Savor the time with your friends and family, we lose them all too soon. Memories maybe the best gift any of us can give or receive. Relax, seek peace and rejoice in the season. Merry Christmas to all!

  10. bonnie ellis says:

    I love your post. The older I get, the more I savor the moments. I will make out my list of favorite things which includes, faith, family, farmgirls and fun! Have a blessed holiday season. Oh, did I forget to mention slow food…time to make and savor.

  11. linda says:

    Thank you for your inspirational holiday thoughts. I am wondering how you are coping with the holiday demands and your recent ankle surgeries? It appears I may need knee surgery in these upcoming weeks and do far looking at a bare house and grandkids traveling here from afar. I so appreciate your insights. I too am a city girl raised in San Francisco and now on an acre of redwoods in northern California. Blessings

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Linda, preparation was the key for me. Do what you can before the surgery. And let the rest go. Healing, following doc’s orders, and taking care of yourself will be the most important part of recovery…don’t push it. Hey, Grandkids can decorate when they get there! My other piece of advice is to let people help you. I have a friend, over 70, who had her knee replaced last year. She was up and about in no time at all. You will be SO HAPPY to have this behind you. Keep us posted so we can send healing thoughts and prayers your way! oxo

  12. ann says:

    Just reading your post has calmed my spirit. Thank you.
    I’m trying to breathe squarely while laughing at that load of wood! 🙂

    xo at Christmas time to Everyone reading this!

  13. Brenda Powers says:


  14. Marilyn says:

    Thanks for these tips. Christmas should be and was meant to be a time of joy,love and happiness. Now it has become a mad rush!
    P.S. My family are adults and we still fill stockings.

  15. Nanette Boots says:

    Well written. And…thank you for writing to remind us what this season should be about. Have a very Merry Christmas.

  16. These are a few of my favorite things: my Bible, my record player, albums and 70’s
    45’s, Hank the Cowdog, my five hens, three horses, my guitar, our fertile almost 40 acres in the mountains of Northwest Wyoming, my pottery wheel, my journal, and my paints and canvases!! Not to mention my oven and bakeware that creates a variety of yumminess!!

  17. Brenda Towsley says:

    Love all your thoughts you have shared. This is what I have been trying to do the last couple of years. Slow down and enjoy the season. This also is really almost the only time I change things up around my house during the year. Yes I paint and redecorate rooms as needed but I don’t really change things up much for any other season. I do love the lights and shiny stuff added to each room though at Christmas, so I would add that as one of my favorite things. Of course there are my many grandchildren, which there has been another added this last month. Enjoy seeing their delight when I can find that one thing they were hoping for, since both families have been struggling for 3 or 4 years. I am praying there will be a change with that soon. My hubs is back in the wood shop for the winter I love seeing him enjoy it so much. And the Bug she does love the snow I hope she has some soon to play in, me not so much. So my favorite things are my family around me and seeing them happy all the rest I could live without if I needed to.

  18. Irene says:

    I agree with what you are saying Rebekah. I am not a part of Facebook. Last christmas was not the best I promised myself and my husband that this christmas would be different. I worried so much last christmas about presents for everyone and making sure one gift was not more than the other since Facebook lets everyone know. When it was time to take our tree down I realized I didn’t allow myself or my husband to appreciate the true meaning and beauty of the holiday. Our porch will have cuttings in a watering can and a tiny tree. Nothing fancy inside or out. Its not for me. There will be presents but no worrying.

  19. Sharon Elaine says:

    Little by little over the years how did this beautiful, blessed Christmas season become a burden? Bombarded with commercialism, the pressure to perform and compete has eliminated the joy and peace Christ provided at His birth. Thank you for reminding us we can bring change and the true meaning into our own hearts and homes by simplifying, giving and loving.

  20. Diane Loehr says:

    I loved your post. My daughter and I will get through these holidays but with some difficulty as my husband passed away in July of this year. We decorated the house already and put up some of his favorite ornaments. We think of him a lot during this time since he was a “Grinch”, but I think he may now feel that what we did during the holidays wasn’t so bad after all. I do agree that slowing down and enjoying the holiday is something that we all need to do. But it is hard – at least for me. We have been lighting our Christmas Trees and our decorated window every night so far. We just love that and I also like to put on a Christmas Tree scented candle and crochet. I would like to wish you and all your reader a wonderful Christmas! But I am praying for a non-white Christmas – sorry! 🙂 Merry Christmas Everyone – Diane

  21. Vivian Monroe says:

    Great post, great advice, I actually learned this years ago and have never gone back to all that hurry and scurry business, I just sit back and chill. Most of all I love the pic of Merlin at the end. I zoomed in and cropped and made me a picture of him. Hope you dont mind. the scenery was so pretty, I think I might frame and include in my CHristmas decor next year or this year if I get around to it. 🙂 Be Blessed and praying for a White Christmas for all of us here in NC. Neta.

  22. Leigh Ann Craddock says:


  23. Shelley Wilson says:

    Uncommon common sense and a heartwarming sense of humour. This post is a practical and inspiring gift in itself. Many thanks!

  24. Joan says:

    I can imagine a dolly, orange and nuts for Christmas, there were times that we shared the orange and nuts and didn’t get the dolly BUT it was still a wonderful Christmas. I am a Christian that has believed in less is more for many years and now that I am ‘way a senior’ it is easier to not HAVE to do it all. Being a decorator by choice this is hard for me but your wonderful words and pictures says it ALL!!! Bloom where you are planted and Dance with the Joy! God bless.

  25. Mary Murray says:

    There’s nothing new I can add to what’s already been said, just sending my “thank you” for sharing with us what we all need to hear. It’s so easy to get pulled into the “competition” … baking, decorating, gifts…who has the best/biggest/prettiest. I’m heading outside now to put some simple old-fashioned greenery around our old farmhouse and let that be that! (and if Gladys Kravitz down the road and Polly Perfect across town aren’t impressed, that’s okay!) Thanks for sharing your thoughts…it’s a post I’ll definitely read over and over.

  26. Denise Ross says:

    Hi Rebekah,
    My Christmas this year is more centered on time together as my oldest son is leaving for London in March next year to work as a paramedic and this is last year to have Christmas together with us as a family for the next Few years. He’s 21, moving out of home now for the first time and when he does return, if he chooses to, life will be different for us all.
    We are having all of my husbands family stay with us and celebrate Christmas together. It’s going to be crazy wild, but I’m hoping for some wonderful memories to be made for us all. I’ve decorated very simply inside my home with some pretty white twinkling lights and some ivy and holly tinsel and lots of lovely candles. All things I love and I’ve managed to grab cheaply thanks to discount stores and thrift shops. My basket of pine cones I grabbed off the side of the road I run on. I’m focusing on the reason for the season, keeping it simple and full of grace, kindness and love, imperfectly perfect through my mixed bag of emotions. Thank you for the stop and savor post. It’s what I’ve been thinking on and trying to implement in my daily life too. My favorite things are Christmas Eve church, late night chats p, watching the carols on Christmas Eve on tv and spending time together, cooking together and doing the advent bible study, savoring this time and what it means to me. Enjoying the beach in the middle of summer here with family and slowing down in the hot days here in Australia.
    Have a wonderful joyous Christmas Rebekah

  27. Meredith Williams says:

    Our Christmas tree has been up since Dec. 4. It has pretty lights on it but no ornaments. The box of collected ornaments from the last 30 years is sitting on the floor nearby. It is now Dec. 21. I’m thinking the tree will wear her lights and be beautiful just like that. Not that I don’t have time, but I would rather spend it doing something else. This year I think that’s the way it’s going to be.

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