“Bring it on!” — that’s what I say to the Christmas season. Bring on the fun, the gifts, the food, the baking, the music, the movies. Bring on the merry! I love Christmas, but you know that.
As a little girl, I could hardly wait for Christmas to arrive. When you’re a kid, the longest and slowest days happen between Thanksgiving and December 25th. Now, as a grown-up girl, Christmas seems to come faster and faster.
A few years ago I made a decision to press pause on the last two weeks of December. I decided to hustle fast the first two weeks and spend the rest of December on the merry. My work rhythm gives me that opportunity (My work is feast or famine — no in-between) though I know most of the world has a steady, even workflow. Even so, there is a way to pause in December. It might not look like two weeks, but it can look like rest.
You might be thinking, Rest? Now wait a minute, the title of this article looks like a list of ten things to do. Oh, don’t be fooled. These Ten Ways to Be the Merry are about being, not doing. Being takes some doing but not as much as doing takes. Confused? Perfect! Let’s go!
Remember, sometimes the way to bring the merry is to be the merry.
10 Ways to Be the Merry
- Rest. Did you know that resting, getting enough sleep, and taking short breaks during the day makes you more productive? Activity and productivity are not the same. Running from thing to thing is busyness and brings no guarantee of accomplishment. Take a few minutes to be still.
- Breathe. Well of course you do this all day every day, but intentional breathing is different. Being mindful of the breaths you take can slow you down, reduce stress, and help you make better decisions. So set a timer and take a few deep breaths each day. Four counts in, four counts out. Breathe to be calm.
- Stop. Shut down your work before dinner. I guarantee it will all be there in the morning. Shut down social after dinner. I promise you won’t miss what you don’t see. Unplugging makes being present possible. Spend those moments each evening being there for friends, family, and maybe even your fur-friend. Stop to be present.
- Write. Write down everything you are grateful for. Remember the little things and the things we tend to take for granted. Add them up as you write them down. Gratitude is a great way to reset a hard day or top off a great day. Write out your thankfulness to be mindful.
- Splurge. Take time to treat yourself to a long hot bath, a matcha tea, a massage, a brisk walk, or those boots you’ve been eyeing. It’s okay to get yourself a gift and to take a little bit of time, just for you. Treat yourself to be pampered.
- Share. Tell each other stories of Christmases past. What was your biggest surprise? What was the craziest gift you’ve ever gotten or given? What have you always loved about the season? Ask others these same questions. Reminisce to be nostalgic.
- Dance. Host a dance party of one. Sing along to your favorite Christmas song with a hairbrush in hand and DANCE IT OUT. Get your friend or family to join in. Let loose to be silly.
- Create. Everyone is creative because we are all created in the image of the Creator. Creativity looks different for each of us. You might knit, cook, write, style outfits, paint, or imagine everything you read in that novel. Well, you get the picture. Express your creativity to be creative.
- Choose. Joy is a choice and not so much a state of mind as it is a state of the heart. Joy brings a peacefulness even in difficult circumstances. Joy comes from a heart set on the eternal. Choose joy to be joyful.
- Be. Did you know that you are one of a kind? Everything about you was designed. You are exactly who you are intended to be. You are loved deeply by the Father. You have a purpose and a role to play in this amazing love story. Be that. Be the created. Be you. After all, if you aren’t you, who will be?
One last thing. I know I said ten, but I have to add number eleven because it really is number one. Don’t forget Jesus at Christmas. It really is very easy to do. Our world is loud and demanding and rarely applauds silence, solitude, and reflection, yet this is what we all desperately need. We need it every day. So, in all the hubbub of the season, carve a little time for you and carve a larger slice of time for Jesus.
We love these words from Candace Cameron Bure! She really is the queen of Christmas! And guess what? To help you welcome the Christmas season, we’re giving away FIVE copies of Candace’s new devotional, Bring On the Merry! Leave a comment below with one of the ways you rest during a busy season, and we’ll draw five winners.
Today only, you can save 50% on Candace’s Jesus Every Day devotional guides. These are beautiful, inspiring, and sure to help you engage with the Bible to discover the life-changing power of God’s love. You’ll also find tons of other beautiful gifts while you browse at DaySpring — and use code FRIDAY to save 30% sitewide through 11/28!! Some exclusions apply.
Then tune in on Sunday 11/28, when (in)courage friends Mary Carver and Anna E. Rendell host their annual watch-along party on the DaySpring Facebook page! As you watch Candace’s new movie premiering on the Hallmark Channel (starting at 6/7 central), Anna and Mary will post trivia and discussion questions, and have tons of giveaways and prizes, all on Facebook!
No matter how you start your Christmas season, we pray you’re able to rest, be merry, and keep your focus on Jesus.
Andrea C says
I think DANCE is something we need in my house this year! And to make space for this, I will shut down work and social and enjoy the family time. Thanks for the tips!
One of the ways that I rest during the festive season is to dive (as deeply as possible) into a story book.
I love to read and to escape to worlds of imagination (of which imagination I have a very very active one), and to get lost in a story told by someone that I will more than likely never meet (the author), and filled with characters that I will definitely never meet (the characters)
Sandra Sasser says
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these! Thank you! As a missionary for the past 26 years, rushing around has been a part of life! Thank you!
This is beautiful and so important to remember. I rest by taking a few minutes to gather my thoughts and focus where my heart is.
Genn Jackson says
On Christmas Eve, as a kid, we would spend the whole day watching Christmas movies that we taped off of network television over the years as they aired. Now that I have my own daughter who can appreciate the season, we spend the day watching movies and baking Christmas cookies. Rest comes in the form of unplugging from the rest of the world and just delighting in these years that are going by so very quickly!
Thank you for the reminder to take time for what is really important. Many years between Christmas and Jan. 1st we will get out a big jigsaw puzzle and put it together. It makes me slow down and for me (but not everyone!) it is a way to relax and reflect.
As silly as this may sound, I rest while wrapping presents. Forget this “wrap it the minute you bring a gift in the house” business; I am a gift wrapper at heart – always have been. My first adult/teenage job was gift wrapping in my town’s long-gone department store. Forget this “wrap a gift the minute you bring it into the house” business. Who wants to get out supplies and tidy up after every gift? Quantity wrapping is the name of the game – a perfect excuse to sit and watch Christmas movies with a pile of presents and wrapping supplies. I never wrap anyone’s gifts in the same paper and this method helps me keep track of that, too. (Ever watch kids (and adults) count the number of identically wrapped presents under the tree?!
I like to crochet, so that would fall under “Create”.
Maura Michael says
I never say yes to anything right away. I tell others I have to check with my family first, which I do. This gives me time to discuss any invite, request, etc with my family and not feel the pressure to yes to everything. This works anytime of year, but especially at Christmas when we often let ourselves feel stressed by the unrealistic expectations placed on us by a consume everything and do it all culture.
The last few years I have chosen an advent devotional to draw my focus to the true meaning of Christmas!
Sharon A says
I love all 10 and I love watching her movies. Sometimes on Christmas Eve I light every candle in the house and it is very relaxing! Lots of candles here. I also love her idea of dancing! I do that sometimes too through the year.
I’m so glad that you added – in highlights – ‘don’t forget Jesus at Christmas’. Society, the media, etc. promote the buying and spending that feed the holiday machine. The busyness of the holidays can make us just hope it will be over soon…….how very sad.
Thank You Candace for reminding us to slow down – think of ourselves, too – but never forget the ‘reason for the season’ – JESUS.
charlene jewell says
I decide what activities are most important for the day and accomplish all that I can after my devotions. Then, when I’m a little tired and need to refresh, I put my feet up on the couch and say prayers. Meanwhile, my little dog thinks it’s naptime and sleeps next to me while I pray.
I love spending time with an Advent devotional each night. I think this year again I will try decorating slowly. That gives me time to think about where I got the decorations or who created them or gave them to me as I put them out. I think this year I am going to try to write a personal note in each card, so will have to do those gradually as well.
Carol Witzenburger says
I relax by reading good, clean Christmas stories and watching Christmas movies on Hallmark.
Love this list! I need to so more of these but one thing I do try to do is share. I like to remember past Christmases and share memories with family.
Love to rest by watching a Hallmark Christmas movie. Especially one starring Candace!
I bought this book for 4 friends and am going to give it to them before Dec 1 so we can enjoy it everyday till the 25th together
I do love Christmas, my favorite holiday! Your 10 ways to be the Merry are helpful and doable!
Beth Williams says
Society is noisy & busy. People rush around buying gifts, cooking food/cookies & going to parties. So many activities that they get exhausted come Christmas day. In all their doing they miss out on the real meaning of Christmas. The birth of their savior Jesus Christ. What is needed is calm, peace & rest. We need to slow down & let God’s spirit of Christmas sink in. Remember that Jesus left the splendor of Heaven to come to broken Earth & save us. Take time this advent season to rest, dance & be merry. Enjoy yourself.
Christel Brewer says
Journaling helps me rest. I can put all my thoughts, questions, concerns, prayers, fears, anxieties down on paper and let it go! That helps me to leave it with God and opens us room in my mind and heart for whatever He wants to do in my life with less to distract me from His presence and His love!
I rest by spending time with my family after a hard day at work. Being present with them and really soaking it all in.
Thank you Candace for these amazing tips!! I like to dance to Christmas music and learn the lyrics to a new Christmas song with my family. It brings so much joy to my heart!❤
My Husband and I do an Advent study together each year; where we go into our office/prayer room and take turns reading the study aloud, combine scripture for the NT and OT then ask/answer the questions of the day for the reading. This enables us to begin late in November keeping our focus on the true meaning of Christmas which can so easily get pushed into the corner of our busyness if I’m not careful. For us Christmas first must be about Jesus, then family and friends while helping people less fortunate than ourselves. Keeping our eyes on Christ is key – and sitting in rest with him is so necessary! I pray everyone has a very Merry Christmas no matter what season you’re sitting in, remember the same God that raised our Savior from the dead LIVES IN US! ‘IN US’….WOW! If that is not reason to celebrate I don’t know what is. Thank you Candace for sharing your heart with us.
Tara Mielo says
I feel we have to have the right focus this time of year and that’s Jesus. My kids are old a enough now to get more joy out of a giving and they make that a a priority which makes my mama heart happy. I got me, when I need some time I use my YouVersion app and do some devotional time and I listen to music. Music has always been a go to for me in any situation. I always feel something moving in me with music. I’m trying to get better at journaling, especially during difficult times, and being more aware of when God is speaking to me and listen. Just being still can remind us what this season is really all about.
Angela Cain says
Resting during Christmas isn’t much different from resting during the year! It seems harder at Christmas sometimes because there are so many expectations we can have, especially of ourselves. If I spend even just a few minutes each day praying and reflecting on the reason we celebrate Christmas, I feel more at peace. Also, taking the focus off myself helps, too. For instance, I’ve been getting out of the house each day and speaking to at least one person I don’t know, to give them a smile and a little encouragement. I’ve also been trying to laugh more with my spouse. Laughter always seems to make me feel better!
Christine T says
Absolutely love to rest & relax with my Bible, enjoying a nice read with a cup of tea.
Walking first thing in the early morning when it’s so peaceful out and thinking of all the blessings in my life and trying not to take them
Courtney Anderson says
As a paraeducator working with middle school students, I have had to make rest a very intentional thing, especially in recent years. It’s so easy to bring work home, or at the very least, bring the emotional/physical exhaustion of work home, so without rest, life can definitely become overwhelming!
For me, rest often comes in the form of a little extra sleep (sleeping in on the weekends and/or catching a power nap here and there throughout the week), and yes, I admit, I enjoy sitting down to a good, positive, light-hearted tv show to rest my mind. During this Thanksgiving break, my tv choices have consisted of The Facts of Life reruns, old episodes of Survivor, and Hallmark Christmas movies!