About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
Find more at DaySpring.com
(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
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Reader Interactions


  1. Jen, thank you for this post! The holidays totally stress me out ever single year. You gave me just what I need–permission, grace, and a little more creativity. Grateful for you, girl!!

  2. I just posted an identical post on my blog last night titled “The Quest for the Perfect Holiday”.


    We women do put so much pressure on ourselves to make it perfect. We do it out of love for our families but I think they expect a lot less than we do. It’s the moments, memories and traditions our children will remember. And it seems that the memories where everything went wrong are the ones we remember and laugh about now. They are all precious!!!

    Happy Thanksgiving Jen! I am thankful for my new on-line friends!!!

  3. Thanks for the post … it’s a great reminder at the beginning of the season to slow down and enjoy the time.

  4. For me scaling down is by far the most important thing that I need to remember to do! Like Proverbs 17 says “Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.”

  5. Jennifer,

    I’m on my lunch break at work and was cruising the web trying to figure out how to decorate my Thanksgiving table for the 20+ people I have coming over.

    I could feel my stress levels rising as I started to get anxious about all I have to do in the next three days when the Lord reminded me of the (in) courage website. (I heard Holly Gerth speak recently and she explained (in) courage’s premise.)

    So I quieted my spirit and just read your post.

    I just wanted to say thanks for ministering to me. My peace is restored and I’m going to lower my expectations of what this holiday will be and just focus on enjoying my family and ministering to them.

    Jennifer, your post made my day!

  6. Such a good reminder! Thank you. My 3 year old has reminded me to light candles…every day for the past few weeks! I’m finally getting into some of the candles we got as wedding presents…7 years ago (gulp), that I was “saving”. She’s teaching me to live and celebrate life in the moment!

  7. Oh, man, do I love this! I have always decorated every available space inside and out during the holidays. And had a huge holiday open house (read huge numbers of people in a very small house). Last year I realized that the kids were getting older and not really into all the decorations anymore. The party was stressful to prepare for in the middle of all the other things going on (although it’s always lovely to see friends). So this year I made some changes.

    First, I told the kids that whatever got decorated was up to them. I would help, but I wasn’t going to do it by myself , and I wasn’t going to nag them to help me.

    Second, I switched my winter open house to a summer garden party. Last July we had a fun BBQ in the garden with all the folks who usually show up in December. No special decorating required — the garden took care of that. It was great fun.

    As I approach this holiday season, I am a little sad that the house probably won’t be the most lit up, festive place in the neighborhood, but I know I will be less stressed, less cranky, and more focused on the joy of the season.

    Thank you for reminding us to give ourselves permission to have a truly happy holiday!

  8. Thank for this encouragement and these practical tips! Even if some don’t feel a huge weight of stress during the holidays, I imagine most of us can relate to many parts of this post!

    Amen on this: “…the reason we gather: to celebrate, reflect, and pour out gratitude for the blessings found through our Savior.”