By Courtney Ingle

The Christmas season is supposed to be one of joy and reverence as we celebrate the birth of our risen Savior.  In my core, I know it. But while Jesus deserves our worship, it is so easy for me to be pulled into the commercialism and keeping-up-with-the-Joneses that often drives (and antagonizes) the Christmas season.

There is a lot of pressure on parents this time of the year. The family Christmas-card pictures, the school play, the church singing, the live nativity, the decor, the school party, the work dinner, the Christmas list, the advent calendar, picking the perfect family devotional — not to mention the shopping and hiding of gifts.

Regardless of whether Santa stops by your home, you only get about a dozen Christmases with your little kids. Then they’re teens and young adults, and the dynamic changes. Knowing this, it’s easy to want to throw yourself into making the most beautiful memories to cherish.

But don’t be a Martha-Mama (Luke 10:38-42). Don’t work so hard making memories FOR your family that you aren’t making memories WITH your family. It’s one thing to want to serve your family and create these special moments. It’s another to turn that into a goal of perfection.

This is coming from experience. My kids are 6 and 2. I’m already anxiously mapping out Christmas events, planning gifts, and scratching off neverending to-do lists. I’m feeling the weight of trying to do it all.

And let’s be honest: If we ride and look at Christmas lights for more than 10 minutes, the kiddos will fall asleep, and the routine will be off. Then there’s the apocalyptic anger of the 2-year-old who doesn’t care about comfort and safety — he wanted to finish his nap in the car.

Christmas is a joyous occasion to celebrate the birth of our Savior. So why do we add so much extra pressure? How can we slow it down?

Here are my tips:

  • Carve in the calm. Create stillness in the schedule. Bask in the moment with your family, even if that means just cuddling together and reflecting on what this season in life means to you.
  • Keep it Christ-minded. Our home is one of Santa’s stops, but we consciously point our kids to the birth of Christ in this season. We read books about the nativity and have nativity sets for all ages (even toy ones). Do an advent devotional with your family, and find a solid advent study for your quiet time.
  • Be realistic. Moods sour. Illnesses happen. Nothing is perfect. Don’t set your heart on lofty ideas of what Christmas “should” look like.
  • Make memories. Make memories, not media content. Truly embrace these moments with your family. Take a couple of pics and put the phone away. Let the kids help with baking, even if the kitchen gets destroyed. Create Christ-centered and family-involving traditions that your family will look forward to for years.

Enjoy this season of celebrating our King. Merry Christmas!

Courtney and her husband, Jeremy, live in Brandon and are members at Park Place Baptist Church in Pearl. They have a daughter, Taylor, and a son, Jacob. Courtney is a full-time homemaker and can be reached at