Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Your Official Holiday Permission Slip

By the authority vested in me, a certified and duly sworn member of the High Council of Seekerville, I hereby declare unto all Seekervillagers, along with their heirs, assignees, and house pets, that for the duration of this holiday season you are granted the following freedoms:

  1. You shall have the right to forego baking Christmas cookies, fruitcakes, pies, and other assorted goodies and instead purchase them at your local bakery or deli.
  2. You shall have the right to ooh and aah over your neighbors’ elaborate outdoor Christmas light displays and not feel like Scrooge for putting up minimal decorations yourself.
  3. You shall have the right to watch all the sappy Christmas movies you can handle, without feeling guilty over sobbing when that adorable yellow Lab saves Christmas or Mrs. Miracle brings Christmas joy to yet another deserving couple.
  4. You shall have the right to do all your Christmas shopping online and let the gift recipients worry about mailing back items that do not fit or are the wrong color.
  5. You shall have the right to do absolutely NO Christmas shopping in December and instead give all your loved ones an IOU for January 15 after the crowds have dissipated and everything is on sale again.
  6. You shall have the right to send your electronically savvy loved ones a Christmas e-card instead of a paper card with envelope and stamp.
  7. You shall have the right to keep this year’s Christmas letter short and sweet, or even to abstain from this practice entirely if so desired.
  8. You shall have the right to order Christmas dinner prepackaged from your favorite restaurant or deli, serve it on your own fancy china, and never let your family in on the secret.
  9. You shall have the right to expect lots of help with dishes and after-dinner cleanup so that everyone shall have equal opportunity for fun and relaxation on Christmas Day.
  10. You shall have the right to expect everyone to understand that you are not cheap or lazy or lacking Christmas spirit but rather you are a very committed writer on deadline (and it doesn’t matter if it’s a “real” editorial deadline or a self-imposed deadline for completing your work-in-progress and getting that proposal off to an editor, agent, or contest organizer).
And finally, you shall have the right to disregard any or all of these freedoms and do Christmas any way you want to!

Now a question: If you could change ONE THING about how you celebrate Christmas, what would it be?

Leave a comment on today’s post to be entered in a drawing for Myra’s novel One Imperfect Christmas.

Christmas is the season of miracles, but when blame and guilt keep people apart, a miracle needs a helping hand. Natalie Pearce loves Christmas so much she’d gladly make it a year-round celebration—until her mother suffers a massive stroke while taking down the decorations. Natalie’s guilt over not being there to help her mom soon builds a wall that separates her from the rest of her family, including her husband, Daniel, and their teenage daughter. As the next December approaches, the last thing Natalie wants to be reminded of is another Christmas season. Only her family’s tenacious love and an unexpected Christmas gift from her mother can help Natalie mend the broken pieces of their lives.


  1. Thanks for that permission slip. Several of those are on my not to do list... :)

    One thing to change huh? Uhmmm... Looking at the snow drifts outside just now, perhaps a bit warmer weather this year. And speaking of e-cards, I do wish the Jacquie Lawson Advent calendar had worked better for us (we never did get it to load)...

    Otherwise, it is shaping up to be a good one!

    Especially in Seekerville!

  2. Oh, my gosh. I love you.

    I would make cutting out cookies and baking them and decorating them a family event and the only hoopla around the holiday. No more presents except..cookies or anything homemade. NO STORE BOUGHT PRESENTS.

  3. I'd also like to move Christmas to July, but that's another post.

  4. Oooo - thank you! Love it!!!!

    The one thing I'd change is taking 7 of us [my 6 plus my sister] on a 2.5 hour drive [each way] to spend 3 hours with my dad/stepmom. If they were having a shindiggy type thing with my stepsiblings [one lives in their town, the other 3 hours the other side - I've met them each 2-3 times], it would be one thing. But no.

    It's because my dad thinks we should come to his house and if we don't it's because we hate him or something. The one local stepsibling showed up for ten minutes last time and not at all the time before that. If it's a gas prices issue, I'll pay for it, but it's not so... /sigh/ Think of me Saturday, would ya?


    Ah well. We'll survive. There's worse things. And if I ride with my sis instead of DH [two kids per car], I'll get some reading in ;).

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

  5. Such a fun post! :)

    I just finished reading a family devotional book that I'm reviewing for Tyndale called "Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room," and I loved it! :D It was so good!

    I've got three more finals and a paper left before I head home on Friday... But then I get to be with my family! And I think if there's one thing I want to change (or at least do a better job of), it's truly focusing on Jesus and being thankful just to be with my family and friends for the holidays.

    There's nothing quite like being home for the holidays! :D

    Merry Christmas, everyone, and talk to you soon! And thank you for the chance to win Myra's book. :)



  6. Love the permission slip.
    one thing I would change is to have people to share christmas with. while I am ok with being alone I would really love to be included in someones festivities.

    Tina I dont really want Christmas in July in the wet and cold but I guess christmas with a fire would be nice but where would the decorations on the mantle go? Carols in the park would have to be move cos it would be so cold. But it could be interesting. If Christmas was in July at least we wouldn't have the end of year things as well. so could be interesting.

  7. Great list...in fact, I'm am sending e-cards this year without a long letter. I sent out a Thanksgiving letter instead.
    To change this year up...I'm thinking to just have it slow down and reflect. I love the ministry work we do, but sometimes I get caught up in all the "work" and forget to reflect for myself.

  8. If I was honest about all those 'permissions' I've taken advantage of, you'd think me the biggest Scrooge in town. But I don't feel any less Christmasy and I'm under no stress. Simple enjoyment of the real reason for the season.

    One thing to change - I'd like to see every family do a 'draw a name, gift exchange' to limit the spending and frustration frenzy. Of course the economy would nosedive again...
    but it saves people from buying stuff they don't have money to buy for people who don't really need or want that gift in the first place.

    Give the gift of time instead. Spend time listening, helping, relaxing together. Those are the real gifts!

  9. Thanks for the encouragement, Myra. My tree does have minimal decorations and the only outside lights are those my husband is willing to deal with. I can't get out of wrapping gifts, but I actually enjoy that.

    Long time, no hear everyone. Wishing all Seekers a blessed Christmas!

  10. Myra, love the way you packed up all the holiday stressers and sent them on their way, just like that.

    KC, a friend sent me a Jacquie Lawson card that did work...stunning.

    This is the first year we will be alone on Christmas Eve as the kids are traveling to far off in-laws. My husband and I are going to Duke Chapel, our own little mini Notre Dame, for services because we can! We will celebrate on the 26th with all the kids. And we had a tree trimming Sunday on my birthday. I really wouldn't change any of those things.

    If I could change anything about Christmas, it would be my allergies. I can't eat all the goodies I grew up with or other folks make. It means I don't gain weight during the holidays but I sure do miss eggnog straight out of the carton and my grandmother's date nut pinwheel recipe. Not to mention Hershey's candy cane kisses!

    That's why I love this virtual world we meet in. I made some take-offs of the peanut butter blossom cookies for y'all. You know, the peanut butter cookies with the Hershey's kiss in the middle? Try these chocolate cookies with a candy cane kiss in the middle.

    Peace, Julie

  11. Geez, do I wish you'd sent the permission list last week! :) We decorated the basement and main floor last week. Hosted the "Over 40s" group - about 30 people from my church - on Saturday night, and hosted about 12 people last night form the local writers' group.

    I'm on vacation the week between Christmas and New Year's and would love to read your book as part of my relaxation.


  12. Myra--I think the one thing I'd change is make it so Iowa and Texas and Missouri weren't so far away from Arizona. I'd love to pop in to see long-time friends and extended family during the holidays!

    Don't foreget to come see my key chain Christmas tree! link name

  13. RATS! The link didn't work. I'll try one more time.

    Christmas Tree Tour

    Otherwise, please this into your browser.

  14. Thank you for the permission slip--I love it!

    If I could change one thing about Christmas it would be the hassle at the airports, so my luggage would arrive when I do. :o)


  15. It took me a little bit to think of what I would want to change about my Christmas. I totally enjoy everything about our Christmases; we have a routine now and I like that I know where I will be Christmas Eve and Christmas day. What I don't like is the tree. My wish would be for the tree to put itself up, decorate itself, water itself and then the second week of January take itself down and put away all of its decorations.

  16. Good mornin' Myra

    GREAT List :-)

    If I could change one thing? I'd work it out so that my parents and my brother's family could get together with us on Christmas Eve.

    I LOVE a full house on Christmas morning (I know, like 7 people isn't full-enough:-) But I grew up celebrating Christmas Eve with about forty other people. Seven is a whole lot less :-)

    Otherwise, I kind of like Christmas the way it is.

  17. Great post! I am so done with cut-out sugar cookies . . . I've read and reviewed Myra's book and loved it! It's heart-touching and makes a great gift.

    One of my dear friends is a missionary in China and can't easily get her hands on Christian fiction. She recently came to the US to visit a son in another state and told me she could take 5 books back with her. I had to include Myra's book in the ones I sent for her. I know she'll love it and pass it on to co-laborers when she returns to her mission!

  18. Ooo, I like Chris' change to Christmas too.
    I'd include all the decorations being put away by themselves in January, including the tree :-)

  19. I started changing some Christmas traditions a few years ago. When I started cooking Christmas dinner either at my mom's or at my home, I changed the menu. Growing up, it was turkey with all the trimming just like Thanksgiving but I was tired of cooking all morning and cleaning up most of the afternoon. Only one person seems to miss the old menu. No one misses the clean up!

  20. Oh my stars, I would have pegged this for the TEEEEENSTER if I hadn't known it was Myra's day.


    I've never, ever, ever been more proud, LOL!!!!!

    A custom I'd change....

    I've changed a lot of them these past few years. We spend less on our family, donate more...

    Less is more is working.

    I love this, Myra. Just love it.

    But I won't tell you how many decorations I've done, inside and out.

    It's an illness. I'm determined to make up for Connealy's lack so it's her fault, actually.

  21. I love the no store-bought presents theme, Teeeenster.

    And we're getting closer.

    Cookies... time in the kitchen with the grandbabies....

    Now there's a great tradition.

  22. Myra, I love this post. I've been doing most of this for years and am so glad to now have permission. smile.

    I can't think of a thing I'd like to change about Christmas. The only thing that would be nice would be to have more weekends in December so I could go to all the parties.

    Some of us are doing like you mentioned and have our parties in January. When we have time to relax and visit.

    Chris, my solution to the tree thing is I have my housecleaner decorate and undecorate. It is a treat for her and for me as well. She loves doing my house in December/January because of that.

    Ma Donna, You said it all. I love to sit by the tree, light a candle and really get into meditation and prayer.

  23. Tina,

    Our family did that for years. We'd make our gifts in July when it was too hot to go outside and do anything else.

    Love it. I still have some of the decorations we made during those years.

    Now we just send cards.

  24. Glynna! Loved the key chain tree! I hate to say it, but ours isn't even up yet!

  25. Felt a bit like a whiner after that... and felt the need to clarify... DH works until noon on Saturdays as it is and it's not like this is our 'family home' or something - Dad's lived there about seven years, something like that - sis and I have never lived there. And my kids don't do well on road trips /sigh/...

  26. MYRA!!! Oh, if we could JUST issue an international proclamation, we'd be in elf heaven!!!

    I'm with Deb this year, I'm afraid -- I may appear a bit scroogish on a few fronts ... like no cookies baked, which is almost profanity for a woman who used to bake 60 dozen cookies and 35 rum cakes for cookie plates for the neighbors!! Or setting a limit of two presents for the kids and three for Keith and me when we used to do 14-15 presents each (okay, okay, that's because we're doing a family cruise instead, so not entirely Scroogish, I guess!). But it has been SO liberating because I have talked most of my friends and family into NO PRESENTS and was a major factor in discontinuing the cousins' exchange, so one trip to the store has done it!!

    Part of the reason is an international event our church started (actually one of three churches that started it) called Advent Conspiracy, which focuses on giving PRESENCE instead of PRESENTS and giving more of YOURSELF rather than your MONEY. And then spending the money you saved on charitable giving such as providing clean water for those around the world who don't have it. The AC slogan is:

    Worship fully. Spend Less. Give more. Love all.

    A phenomonal idea!!! Here's the link in case anybody is interested:


  27. Glynna Kaye, just checked out the tree. My nativity set was featured on December 8th and was sharing that link with someone. There your tree was in all its glory. Fantastic!

    Peace, Julie

  28. I love how we do Christmas, time with EVERYBODY, even though it means traveling on Christmas day. We're lucky to be close enough to both families to be able to do it.

    Mostly, I'm writing to let TINA know I just bought a Nook, and the first book I purchased for it was The Rancher's Reunion. There will be many more Seeker books, of course, but hers was the first :)

    To everyone at Seekerville, Merry Christmas and heartfelt prayers for a wonderful New Year!

  29. Myra, Love the permission slip for not baking cookies! Like Ruthy, I can't stop decorating. Don't even want to. I'm blessed because my d/h enjoys the trees and decorations as much as I do and does most of the work.

    What would I change about Christmas? I'd love to have more time during our family gathering to focus on Jesus. I'll work on that this year. Maybe even get those carols sung. LOL The blessing is our grandkids and kids know and love Him.

    I've been looking for frogs to give our grandkids as a reminder on how to live life.

    F fully
    R relying
    O on
    G God

    All I can find are cheesy plastic toy frogs. I'd like these frogs to be something they'll keep for years.


  30. Tina, I'm sooooo grateful I no longer have to make Christmas gifts. I used to and that really adds pressure to the season. But I agree that homemade gifts are the best. My mom used to give quilted presents--still cherished.


  31. LOVE this permission slip. Tucking it away somewhere.

    If I could change anything, I'd have my husband's folks do their Christmas on Christmas DAY rather than Christmas eve. Ever since I got saved 16 years ago, I've wanted to go to our church's Christmas Eve service, but I still haven't had the chance.

  32. The one thing I'd like to eliminate is stockings for anyone over the age of 21--like my 2 grown kids. That's always my biggest shopping hassle. I think I will discontinue stockings as of this year. Thanks for helping me think of this, Myra!

  33. The question is:
    Can Myra, sweetheart and all powerful OZ that she is, truly grant us permission to NOT do what a lifetime of guilt riddled experience has taught us to do.

    I heard someone last night say about gift cards....
    The gift that says Do It Yourself.

    and not in a good way.

    I love those things. sooooo easy.

  34. I'd agree with many comments here of taking the focus away from gift giving (or at least the enormity of it). Create a gift exchange so you gift to 1 person. And instead focus the rest of the time on its true meaning of the birth of Christ. If you're not Christian, you're still more than welcome to join in the spirit of Christmas with charity events.
    That, and and get rid of the stigma of not listening to certain Christmas songs throughout the year. There are some I'd love to hear every month!

    susiesheehey (at) verizon (dot) net

  35. Amen Debra M!! I've thought of suggesting drawing names but haven't gotten the nerve yet! :)

    Great post, Myra. Thanks so much for the permission. I've broken Christmas law and have done a few of them already, so thank you for the amnesty. :)

  36. Julie HS, I'm so jealous!! That'll be an amazing Christmas Eve. Last time I was in the chapel I bawled just listening to the organist practice! My son looked at me and said, "I knew it. I knew it would make you cry."


  37. Chris L, when you find a tree that'll put itself up and take itself down, please let me know!! I would pay a fortune for that. LOL

  38. Ruthy, I knew as soon as I started that this was Myra! :)

  39. Janet, I was recently shopping for book ends--just the basic metal ones. But it seems to me like I saw some frogs. So search at Target, Amazon and Walmart.com. Those were the places I was looking.

  40. Good morning, Seekervillagers! It's cooooold here in the Midwest this week. I suppose that should help get me in the Christmas spirit, but to be honest, cold weather any time of year just makes me depressed.

    Anyway, glad to see so many of you up and about this morning. I'm still in my jammies, robe, and slippers.

    So, KC, I'm with you when it comes to wishing for warmer weather! Here's hoping for a lovely, sunny day on December 25!

    TINA, I feel like our family has gone overboard too many years on the store-bought gifts. And what I really hate is when the old score-keeping demon creeps in. Oh, and Christmas in July SOOO works for me!

    CAROL M, I didn't think you were whining. It's just so frustrating when families can't agree on how and where to get together.

  41. AMBER, I totally agree about doing a better job of focusing on Jesus and family. How in the world did this crazy commercialism replace the Christ in Christmas???

    AUSJENNY, I'm so sorry you don't have someone to celebrate Christmas with! Any possibility of connecting with other in your church or community who also don't have loved ones nearby?

    MADONNA, slowing down to reflect sounds like a great idea!

    DEBRA, "Scrooginess" is all in the attitude, and it sounds like your attitude is just fine! And I'm all for cutting back on the gift-giving frenzy!

  42. DIANNA, my husband "resigned" from putting up outdoor lights on the second-story eaves a couple of years ago! Now we only do what we can reach with a short stepladder.

    JULIE H.S., aren't those Jacquie Larson cards amazing? And I have several in my family who deal with food allergies. The holidays are a special challenge.

    EDWINA, sounds like a fun party! Hope you enjoy your week off after Christmas!

    GLYNNA, a key-chain Christmas tree--what a clever idea! What I'd really love is to have all the Seekers within about 100 miles of each other so we could get together more often!

    KIRSTEN, oh my, the airport situation! These days I avoid flying like the plague. If we can drive it in 2 days or less and have the time, then we go by car.

  43. Per my husband, I'd move our anniversary to a different date than December 24. :-)

  44. CHRIS, when you find a tree that decorates and undecorates itself, let me know. Or isn't it MARY who just covers hers with big trash bags and sticks it in the closet until next year?

    PEPPER, it sounds like you have a really close, loving family. Yes, I'd say 40 would definitely fill up the house!

    RENEE ANN, thanks again for your kind words about my book, and for sharing it with your missionary friend!

    ROSE, I'm all for keeping Christmas dinner simple! When we used to have big extended-family gatherings at my sister-in-law's, we finally opted for cold cuts, sandwiches, and salads. Oh, and plenty of pies and desserts!

    RUTHY, I like the "less is more" idea, but I usually get carried away with decorations, too. This year, though, we did keep it simple. Half our decorations are still on the shelf.

    SANDRA, you party girl! And way ahead of the game on keeping things simple!

    AUDRA, do you realize Christmas is only 11 days away? Yikes!!!!

  45. JULIE, I used to bake up a storm in December, but after we no longer had kids at home to help eat them up, that changed. Besides the fact that I'd rather be writing! Have a WONDERFUL family cruise! (And just ignore that extra large trunk that got mixed in with your luggage. It's just me tagging along!)

    ANDREA, you truly are blessed to have your loved ones not too far away. Have a wonderful Christmas with everyone!

    JANET, you are so right--it's a real blessing to know that our children and grandchildren know Jesus! Have fun finding "frogs"!

    JOANNE, a Christmas Eve worship service is part of our family tradition, too. Afterward, we usually drive around for a bit and enjoy the neighborhood light displays.

    CARA, we still do the stocking thing for the adults in our family. It does get harder every year to be creative AND inexpensive. I mean, how many packages of gum, breath mints, and lip balm can you use in a year?

    MARY, I was trying to avoid the whole guilt thing, honey. For an hour or two at least.

  46. SUSIE, when we were still celebrating Christmas with in-laws, cousins, and all, we did the name exchange thing. It worked well for a while, until some of us moved away and didn't really know people's likes and dislikes anymore.

    MISSY, it's my pleasure to grant you amnesty from Christmas guilt. And thanks for recognizing me--LOL!

    EC, I can see how celebrating an anniversary on Christmas Eve could complicate things. And there are a couple of people in my extended family who were actually born on Christmas Day. Makes it very hard to separate the two occasions.

  47. Avoiding Guilt...it's a noble effort, OZ. Keep fighting the good fight.

  48. What you mean I don't have the right to put off all the holiday preparations and stay inside and read as many Seekerville books as possible? Oh wait I already do that! ;-)

    One thing I would change about the celebrating of Christmas is to make Christmas traveling free for everyone so I could get together with all of my family and friends without worrying about whether or not we'll have the gas money to travel LOL!

    XOXO~ Renee

  49. This was great! I feel free at last! :)

    Merry Christmas, Seekers!

  50. Oh I loved this! Thanks for the laugh this morning.

    It's snowing outside right now and I will admit that I hope it continues for a little bit. Sledding is one of my favorite things to do in the winter. So I'm not sure I would change anything at the moment. Except maybe speed up my week. :)

    Thanks Myra!


  51. Missy, to make you even more jealous I must tell you my son got married there in December four years ago. So you can just imagine.

    The kids grew up playing in the chapel when I brought them to school with me. Since my son was able to get married there because I was a graduate, I told him I could wear whatever I wanted to the wedding. They were afraid I was going for poinsetta red. I went for green instead.

    Peace, Julie

  52. Thank you, Myra! You're my kind of woman! :-) (I wish my husband thought more like you!)

    Actually, this year is not about the presents, so I am basking in my heavenly Father and Savior's love. So I give you permission to do the same!!!

    And praising the Lord for antibiotics, and especially for antibiotics that don't cost an arm and a leg. (For those you you here yesterday, I took Faith to the dr. and it is a sinus infection, as I suspected. I was glad, because the other kids at church has some really horrible stomach virus! Very thankful to dodge that bullet! I hope!)

  53. Carol M, I give you permission not to go this year!!! I have a feeling you are all going to be sick ... yeah, that's it. Too sick to go.

  54. Hi Myra:

    Your ‘Bill of Freedoms’ reminds me of when I used to ‘give up’ vegetables for Lent when I was a kid. (It’s a Catholic thing). Sister Mary Albert would always make amendments. (I still feel guilty. You can be absolved of sin but not guilt! )

    My new Christmas tradition would be the same as my wife wants. Make it illegal to mail any Christmas card that does not have at least a 50-word, hand written, personalized message. (Otherwise, don’t bother.)

    Also, if anyone has not read “An Imperfect Christmas,” I’d like to point out that the story reads like a Hallmark Hall of Fame production and would actually make a nice gift even for people who do not read romances.

    BTW: I just reviewed “A Match Made in Winter” on my web site. I think anyone would want to read this if they plan to write for Woman’s World. The story is in the December 27th issue.


  55. MELANIE, glad to hear Faith has the meds she needs. Sinus infections are no fun, especially at Christmastime.

  56. VINCE, that is so true--we can be absolved of sin but still live with the guilt. And I DO feel guilty if I don't write at least a short personal note in every Christmas card I send.

    However, I am not above printing all my mailing labels on the computer.

  57. getting up early and spending the whole day running (to families, but running none the less) I wish we could all just meet in one big place and be happy and comfortable all day :)
    And eat....
    all day:)
    OH wait! I already do that...maybe I'd rather change the whole eating a hole in the world thing on Christmas.

  58. Cara, about the stockings. I have one not only for each of us 6 people in the family, but one for each of the 5 pets. On top of that, I have a memory wall, where I hang up all the stockings of the pets who have passsed on, along with the stocking from the foreign exchange student we had one year. The good thing is that I never put anything in any of them. But I want to remember everyone, four-legged or two, who have been with us.

  59. KELLY, wouldn't it be nice if Christmas travel weren't so hectic? It gets even harder when family members are scattered clear across the continent.

    CHRIS, your comment really hit home with me! We don't do all those stockings, but we have one wall in our den that our daughters have christened "The Wall of Dead Pets." It's where we display photos of our dearly departed 4-legged loved ones.

  60. Mellie - so glad about Faith! And cheap drugs are good too! We had that stomach bug around here [almost everyone who was here on Thanksgiving had at least a little bit of it - DD7 ended up in the ER with it]. Be so glad it's not that!

    And DH has been looking at the forecast. Here. In Tulsa. In New York City [not that we're anywhere near NYC] just to see if there's a remotely weather related reason to not go ;).

    Myra - glad you didn't think I was whining. I felt like it ;). Guess I just don't see the point of taking 2 cars and 7 of us to see the 2 of them when there's no overwhelming reason for us to go there other than 'we said so'. It's not like either of them have any health problems or anything that would make it difficult... Of course, these are the same people who still haven't sent 2 of my kids their birthday presents or cards [from 2 mos ago] and never said anything about it or anything. Fortunately, my kids didn't realize it [they're 9 and 7] or they would be crushed. I'm glad I haven't had to deal with it... But then they also get annoyed that the kids aren't as lovey dovey as their other granddaughter [my step-sister's daughter who my dad sees at school nearly every day].


    I'm off to escape with Mandie and Nate and see if I can't get them to behave... I'm not holding my breath... =D

  61. Definitely a thanks for the permission slip! What I would change this year, I can't. I would love to have my dad with us, but that's not meant to be. So instead, I would love to be with my entire extended family, even if that would mean probably catching flack from my dad's side of the family about my recent tattoo.


  62. HOLLY, not sayin' a word about your tattoo! I know a couple of very hip Seekers with tattoos!

    I've just set out a big steaming urn of apple cider, so grab a Christmas mug and help yourselves! I've also stocked the goody table with homemade divinity, peanut brittle, chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin bread, and a gigantic bowl of Connealy Crunch. It's all 100% calorie-free, so dig in!

  63. The permission slip is awesome, Myra. Thank you--I feel so free!

    And maybe there's some reverse psychology at work here, because now that you told me I don't *have* to bake and decorate every square inch of the house, I'm kinda in the mood to do just that.

    Try to stay warm, everybody!

  64. Thanks for the frog suggestions, Missy! Will check at those stores. I'd about decided this would be a nice Easter gift.


  65. Melanie, relieved Faith is on antibiotics for her sinus infection. Is she too little to use a saline nasal spray?


  66. I will probably skype some of my usa friends I haven't for ages and would love to connect again I did this a few years ago.
    I have been invited by a couple of people but as I dont know any of there family and friends dont really wnat to intrude. If I get to lonely I will go over the road and spend time there. It just seems different as the past couple of years I was in the big city and much more to do.

  67. Myra, You've been spying on our house, haven't you? Thanks for the permission to ignore the thoughts of "But we've always done it that way."
    And no need to put my name in the drawing for your wonderful book, because we have it and have read it.
    If Santa Claus makes it to Oklahoma this year, hope he brings you lots of good stuff. If he doesn't make it there, come on back to Texas, the land of plenty.

  68. ANNE, you know, you could be right about the reverse psychology thing. Seems like it's the things we think we have to do that we're most resistant to.

    AUSJENNY, isn't Skype wonderful for those overseas calls? We used it often when our kids were on the mission field.

    DOC M, it's never too late to start a "new" family tradition! And honestly, right now Texas is looking pretty good--that is, if it's warmer there than it is up here! Unfortunately, that would be even farther from all our kids.

  69. Myra I forgot to say dont enter me either I have read the book and its now in the church library.
    Skype is really cool and with the laptop even better as I it has a camera and mike.
    Just finished icing the first of the cookies. (have two lots to deliver today) today its about 70 well will be a bit cool and back to jeans after a wonderful 90ish yesterday.
    I always think its interesting how people (mum for one) had to have the house spotless for Christmas, windows washed and all the other jobs which added to the stress for so many. Oh and the lounge has to be spotless which makes me laugh cos as soon as the family arrived it was open gifts and the room looks like a bomb site! I think we can do the extra jobs throughout the year like windows. I have been doing one at a time 3 to go have left the tall ones to last.
    When we simplified christmas lunch to cold meats and salads (who wants a hot roast when its almost 100) it made things so much easier and the only reason anyone ate the plum pudding was for the money in it.
    Mum would get so worn out but there wasn't much you could do to help out. My Brother and family never offered to do anything and would only bring a bottle or two of soft drink which only they liked and cherries but nothing else. When we changed to cold food they started to bring some of the salads which helped greatly.
    My advice if you are doing everything and say you dont mind start letting others bring or do things cos it will become expected and there may be a time you just need that break and its almost to late to ask so let others help now.
    I saw this with mum it is one of the reasons she lost the joy of Christmas as it got just to much for her but she was still refusing to let go of so much of the work.
    The few years it was just mum and I we had a simple lunch and it was just so much easier and just as good.

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  71. One Imperfect Christmas sound wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.Thanks for the wonderful giveaway.augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.

  72. I already have Myra's wonderful book, so I should exempt myself from today's drawing.

    Could I make the traditional Christmas Eve dinner Chinese food?

    Could I wave a magic wand and make all holiday calories non-binding?

    I'd really like to Christmas in Hawaii. Just once. (I have done Christmas in Singapore. That was fun.)

  73. Myra,

    After a long day, this post is a great pick-me-up!

    I would like to feel that I wasn't rushing into the holiday and barely hanging on to my sanity.

    Usually, I have work stuff, and I am selling my first book this year, which is a nice gift book. I also let my daughter sign up for a travel softball team AND basketball team and the first games for both are on Sunday, before Christmas. I didn't know that at the time.

    I guess I need to make myself and my family hold this time sacred and quick being stretched just as we are every other day of the year.

    This year, for the fifth grade party, I offered to send...drum roll, please. Napkins! Would you believe DD said they were swamped with offers to make cookies and no one else wanted to send napkins but me.

    Plus, I had bought a batch at the dollar store for my book signing and just sent those. I'm not going shopping for that special napkin.

    Myra has now given me permission not to feel guilty about that.

    Would love to win the book.

    cathy underscore shouse at yahoo

  74. I am actually making a change from the normal this year:)
    We will be spending Christmas with our extended families which we haven't done for 13 years.
    We are giving up Christmas Eve services on a Florida beach for a Christmas Eve service in a very cold state to be with family, but I am looking forward to each and every minute of it!
    I am just blessed to have family with whom to celebrate:)

  75. Sounds like a fun book.

  76. Thanks for the permission slip. My Christmas is already going to be somewhat slower because of finances alone. Maybe I'll find time to fill a few pages up with some of the words floating around in my head.


    Tina P

  77. I loved all of these, especially the one about waiting until January to give gifts! lol The one thing I would change? Extend the season to two months! More time for cookie exchanges, parties, shopping, etc. It seems all the local church performances land on the same weekend making it hard to see more than one. I love the living nativities and singing Christmas trees and Nutcracker ballet. As I say every year, and hopefully I'll actually do it in 2011, I'm gonna be better prepared for the holiday season!
    Thanks for this post!

  78. All the traditions we have are fun, but not written in stone. Last year our grown children bought us goats and chickens and medicine through World Vision. This year some of the grandchildren wanted goats! One thing I love is the blessing of the animals and children at my daughter's barn.A beautiful candle ceremony.It gets bigger every year.

  79. Love, love love the permission slip, what a unique idea.
    I think if I could change things at Christmas; it would be to have all of my family gathered around for EVERY Christmas and just enjoy what Christmas is meant to be.

  80. Checking back in this afternoon after another round of Christmas shopping this morning. That's one thing I have NOT been able to give myself permission to avoid. We do try to keep it under control, though.

    EMMA and WENDY, thanks for stopping in!

    WALT, you can make any kind of Christmas Eve dinner you like. Chinese sounds yummy! Also (if you mean takeout) fast and easy! And Christmas in Hawaii? Sounds WONDERFUL!

    CATHY, congratulations on your gift book! How fun! And yay for volunteering for napkins. You're my kind of gal!

    CHARLOTTE, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family, even if it is up north in the cold!

    TINA P., I'm sure the state of the economy has made Christmas a bit more sparse for many. But it can also be a good reminder to stay focused on the real meaning of Christmas. (And get some writing done too!)

    KAREN, I say every year that I'll work on being more prepared. Somehow I never am. December 1 blindsides me every time.

    B.SCHWIND, I love the idea of goats, chickens, etc., through organizations like that. We've given through Heifer International many, many times.

    ROSE, I couldn't have said it better myself.


  81. Thanks for the permission slip! I hope it's valid through December of 2011. I've completed all of my Christmas preparations with the exception of the Christmas dinner and dishes of course. Honestly, there isn't anything I would change about how I celebrate Christmas. It's spent with my loving family and for that, I am grateful.

  82. Oh, Myra...I SO want to drag my husband out of bed and make him read this post. LOLOL!

    LOVE THIS!!!!!! Printing it now and I'll let you know if it works. LOL!


  83. Wow, I now feel less guilty for not doing all those things!

    What I'd love to change... is being able to make cookies exchange hugs with my grandchildren and great grandchildren instead of buying gifts. I can bearly keep up. They get everything they want anyway, but still expect a gift from grandma. Or is it that I *think* they do? Hmm, maybe next year, I'll see if I can get away with it. HoHoHo.

    Keep the spirit going, Seekerville!

  84. JILL, you are SO on top of things! Good for you!

    CHERYL, yes, definitely let me know how this goes over. I wish I could guiltlessly let go of a lot of the stuff I feel like I "have" to do every Christmas.

    RITA, several years ago, instead of always giving our grandkids a bunch of gifts, we started an "Activity Fund" for them. We've been adding $50-$75 at Christmas and maybe $25 on birthdays, so whenever they want to do something like Cub Scouts or a sports league, their mom lets us know and we forward them some money from their account.