About the Author

Now graduated from her role as a homeschooling mom of 8, Dawn Camp devotes her time and love of stories to writing her first novel. She enjoys movie nights, cups of Earl Grey, and cheering on the Braves. She and her husband navigate an ever-emptying nest in the Atlanta suburbs.

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
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things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. Dawn,
    This Christmas perfectionist (okay recovering perfectionist) breathed a huge sigh of relief when I read the title of your post. Yay! I can’t mess up Christmas because it’s not about me. It’s the “me” part of Christmas that brings all the stress and frustration and ultimate disappointment. Jesus doesn’t really care if our homes look like a Better Homes and Gardens display ad, He wants our heart and for us to come away and spend time with Him. As I survey my totally undecorated house, I breathe and remember it’s all about Him. Oh how I needed this today!!

    • Bev, you totally nailed this: It’s the “me” part of Christmas that brings all the stress and frustration and ultimate disappointment.

      It’s when I focus on everything I think I’m doing wrong that the season frustrates me.

    • Bev,
      As you and others have said, it’s me who causes all the stress, you said you were looking at your undecorated house. You don’t mean that you will do no decorating at all, do you?
      I don’t think I could be totally undecorated, and I know it’s b/c everyone else decorates. Isn’t that awful, that I let others decide how much stress I’m going to put on myself? But I do love seeing the decorations once I get them out put them where I want them.
      I do try to remember our Savior’s birth also. Playing carols, getting to special services, reading Scripture, putting Christmas tracts in Christmas cards. Doing the cards does take a lot of time, but I feel it is a great way to witness to neighbors and unsaved friends and loved ones. I’m not a fast person, so the stress is always going to be there. I do wish I could get rid of it, and I have cut back on things since my kids have left the house. My husband says why not buy cookies instead of making all that work for yourself. I don’t make a lot of them, but last wk. my granddaughter and I baked cut-outs together and that made it all worth while.
      I guess the stress will always be there, but then many other things are stressful also. I do want to honor my Wonderful Savior during this special season. He is the One who makes it all worth while!!

  2. Yes! Yes! And THANK YOU!!!! Every year I am guilty of the same! And every year I am completely worn out by Christmas. This year, although not altering it but by a little, I am walking in more thanksgiving and prayer. I am finding this is a glorious time of year! These reminders are so important and serves as my reminder to keep it slow and simple!

  3. Your post is truly appreciated Dawn. If everyone remembered, Christmas would be more about what it is meant to be……

    I’ll try to remember from now on to give a candy cane upside down, to form a “J”.
    My son and I did a craft together that was simple but he really enjoyed. While he was assembling it he mentioned how he would like to take them to the Senior’s home. So now I need to make sure to follow through………

    Take Care,


  4. Perfect timing! I am so working on this so I can look forward to Christmas rather than dread it. It’s all about my Lord and the love he extended and charges us to extend in day to day life, not killing ourselves over the way we choose to celebrate the holiday. Where does one buy cheesecloth?

    • Cindy,

      I have found cheesecloth in the baking section in the Dollar Store . You could try there or even in the grocery store.

      take care,


    • We have actually made it through the first 5 days of both The Greatest Gift and Unwrapping the Greatest Gift with the kids. It’s reminding me to breathe and appreciate.

  5. I really appreciate this post. I’m not a perfectionist, but just have often felt overwhelmed, and events surrounding Christmas have been tough for many years.

    I’ve never forgotten a radio program many years ago that mentioned Jesus asking “Whose birthday is this? Are you giving Me gifts, or are you giving each other gifts?” So we do try to do something for someone who would not have gifts, or would be forgotten, etc. the least of these, so it can be done for Jesus. We also have a Jesus birthday cake, and sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus.

    I like the version of Luke and I cry too, and we also try to read Matthew. And yes it is about the warm memories we make with our children so they can pass it on. This is the best reminder I’ve read so far that mentions keeping Christmas simple and doable.



  6. Because it isn’t about me, is why my favorite part of all we do to prepare and enjoy Christmas is the Christmas Eve service, because as busy as everyone is, for that segment of time in a beautiful candlelight service we all slow down and truly savor what the meaning of Christmas is.

  7. Thank you SO much!! I stress out every year over Christmas. This year I’ve been more stressed than ever. We don’t have money to spend on gifts. My husband is seriously Ill and I have fibromyalgia with chronic pain every day. I can’t wrap my brain around Christmas this year but I’m trying to wrap my heart around it. CHRISTmas is coming and it will be here whether or not I decorate and buy gifts. I so n ended this today.

    • Lisa, I’m so sorry. Money stress is awful at Christmas and it seems to make us focus on what we lack instead of what we have. Bless you!

  8. Dawn, this is perfect. I sat down to write about all my Christmas hoopla apathy yesterday and couldn’t even muster words. Christmas isn’t about me and whether I’m ready or not. Christmas is about Jesus. So this year, we may not have a tree, but it will surely make me more grateful for the tree at Easter. So much love!

    • Katie, if you celebrate Christmas in your heart a tree isn’t going to change that, right? The antidote to the apathy is refocusing on the meaning of it all.

  9. There is such a peace when I remind myself of this very thing: we can’t mess up Christmas because Christmas isn’t about me. Thanks Dawn for your timely reminder. Blessings to you and your family this season.

  10. This Christmas is a bit different for me. It feels a little blah hum bug. Life is super stressful dealing with aging dad, good friend’s mother dying, father in hospital, work stress. Like Lisa I’m finding it hard to get Merry about Christmas.

    My home will never look like Home and Gardens, my tree is “Charlie Brown” sized and it suits my hubby and I just fine. After all it is about Him and His Birthday.

    Thank you for the encouraging message that I can’t mess up Christmas.

    Blessings 🙂

  11. Dawn, I never stress about Christmas and always stay focused on the real “reason for the season”….preparing my heart for the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! The greatest gift we will ever receive! But even in the knowing, I have often still felt a failure by comparison to all those women I know that do it all…baking, crafting, decorating, gifts all beautifully wrapped, perfect shoppers, planners and hostesses. While I say to my children even now in their adulthood “All is well! Jesus is coming! Immanuel…our God with us!” I take my comparisons and once again set them aside. Your thoughts today tell me to stop setting them aside to come back next year, but instead to turn to my Abba Father, thank Him for the gift of His Son and offer up all my feelings of not enough. To praise Him for being the center of my life and know that He is enough and no matter how well I prepare my home for Christmas, I am focused on the more important thing… preparing my heart! A Blessed Christmas to you!

  12. Dawn, this is BEAUTIFUL and exactly what this mama needed to hear. I feel like I ‘fail’ Christmas every year. I have a ‘bah humbug’ attitude because I can’t keep up with all the Pinterest Perfection moms. Thank you for this heartfelt reminder! 🙂

  13. “In Matthew 11:30 Jesus says, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” and I’ve never read a translation that includes the footnote “except in December.” I LOVE THIS! It’s going to have to be included on my blog somewhere!

    It’s usually about this time in December when I realize my over-the-top expectations for Christmas are, once again, not going to live up to the hype in my heart. Thanks for the encouragement that it’s not about me. It’s not about doing things just so. It’s about my heart and sharing the love of the Lord with everyone. Thanks, Dawn. Many blessings to you.

  14. Amen.

    If we were perfect then He would never have needed to come. I always remind myself that Jesus hung around most with the messy-people…so I guess I fit right in.

    Thank you for this reminder.

  15. Thank you for reminding us that Jesus is the reason for the season. Seeing it written is a reminder and calmed me. I will share your words with my coworkers when we exchange gifts. I prefer giving a gift to someone who really has a need. Have a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas as we celebrate the birthday of The King.

  16. The blurb at the beginning of this really touched my heart. My mom’s birthday is the 29th and my daughter’s is the 30, and we have a separate party for each. I am blessed to work at a University which closes from the 24th till jan 2 but I still manage to go back to work completely exhausted.
    Thanks for this!

  17. Thank you!! I absolutely LOVE this!! Our beautiful messy grace filled lives simply cannot undo Christmas unless we are so frantic and irritable that our Savior is not felt nor seen. I pray we love and give thanks. Christ gave His all so we may live forever with no pain or sadness! In His glory forever! We celebrate Him no matter our circumstances!

    • Stefanie, you nailed it here: “Our beautiful messy grace filled lives simply cannot undo Christmas unless we are so frantic and irritable that our Savior is not felt nor seen.” I don’t want to steal my own Christmas!

  18. The best post of the Season. I shared it with all of my friends and family. Thank you and God bless.

  19. I needed to read this. Thanks for posting. This year I decorated our house a little, but have not been able to muster the energy to put up a tree. When I confessed this to my husband, he asked, “What does the tree have to do with Christ? Are you wanting to decorate for Christ or is it just for the festivity of the season?” He helped me realize my heart was condemning me. Putting Christ as the center and focus not only of the season but of my heart helps me put everything else into perspective.

  20. For many years, I have struggled with finding joy in Christmas. This post came at the most perfect time for me. From the bottom of my heart…thank you. You have propelled me into a different direction. Maybe this will be the year I find it.

  21. I was just about to start feeling stressed but then you stopped me. Thanks, it is not about me.

  22. As so many others have mentioned, this article is so timely! I especially liked the part where you said, even if you can’t clean everything, entertain anyway! Excuses for not being hospitable come so easily, but by giving in to those excuses we miss out on many blessings. Thanks for reminding me that my house doesn’t have to be picture-perfect; just warm and welcoming. 🙂

  23. Well said Ladies ~> YES ~ Cellebrating ‘JESUS Birth-Day’ … IS ~ The REASON 4 ~
    The Season …
    (Mr. Mom;)

  24. Well said Ladies ~> YES ~ Cellebrating ‘JESUS Birth-Day’ … IS ~ The REASON 4 ~
    The Season …
    (Mr. Mom;)

  25. I loved and shared this beautiful post, Dawn, because I needed it. But I also have to tell you that I made your wassail for my son’s birthday party today and it is DELICIOUS. Thanks for the recipe!