"What our kids will remember from the holidays are the traditions that characterize our celebrations year after year and the feeling in our homes throughout the holiday season."

With less than 100 days until Christmas, the craziness of Pinterest at the holidays will soon be a reality.

While I love Pinterest — and love Christmas (obviously!) — I am not a fan of “keeping up with the Joneses” or giving in to the pressure of expectations. At any time, really, but especially at the holidays.

That means that many years I make Christmas cookies to share…and many years I don’t. That I’ll often find a cute craft to do with the kids…and I skip a lot of the others. That our “12 days of Christmas” countdown consists of the same traditions every year. And that — gasp! — we’ve never done an Elf on a Shelf.

There are some who might say that Life Your Way contributes to the problem of holiday overload with our 101 Days of Christmas series, and I think that’s a fair statement.

But I certainly hope we don’t.

I hope I’m the only one who is actually doing all 101 projects for Christmas each year (and even that’s a stretch between contributors, guest bloggers and posts like this one). And I hope what people find at Life Your Way is inspiration for the holidays that is more about giving and loving other people than creating the most beautiful cookie or the craft that is going to wow the socks of their neighbors.

The truth is that I intentionally search out the easiest projects possible — not only because of my own limited skill set, but also because 101 projects is a lot, and there’s no possible way I can pull it off if I’m putting hours and hours into each one. And because I want this series to be realistic for average families and not just for the Martha Stewarts among us.

Why traditions matter more than Pinterest

Handmade gifts and decorations are a wonderful way to pour your heart into the holiday season, but if they’re pulling you away from the things that really matter — or making you grumpy at the most important people in your life — it’s time to cry uncle and walk away from the sewing machine.

Similarly, baking for others can be fun and fulfilling, but if you’re fretting over cookies that aren’t perfectly perfect or yelling at your kids for getting underfoot while you bake, put the mixing bowls away and leave the baking for another year.

What our kids will remember from the holidays are the traditions that characterize our celebrations year after year and the feeling in our homes throughout the holiday season, not the fad of 2014 or that we spent approximately 216 hours creating the most beautiful handmade stockings on the internet.

That means…

  • Elf on a Shelf might be a super fun tradition that your kids look forward to each and every year and that you enjoy doing. But if you’re only motivated to do it when you’re blogging about your ideas or sharing your elf’s escapades on Instagram, it may be time to rethink your motivation.
  • Baking and sharing treats with others can be satisfying. But if you’re grumbling under your breath the whole time about having to do it, the thought really doesn’t count.

As we count down the days until Christmas, let’s commit to making our holidays meaningful this year. To embracing tradition and magic while also showing our kids how amazing it is to give and serve. To looking for ways to make the holidays about more than just presents and sugar and fun.

World Vision Gift Catalog

Posts from the archives:

Deliver Cookies to Community HelpersAnnual Ornament TraditionHoliday Mail for Heroes

Join us as we celebrate 101 Days of Christmas with new DIY projects, gift ideas, traditions and more every day from now through Christmas!