Grace Expectations

A few weeks ago, right before falling asleep, I began stressing about the holidays. It was the strangest thing, because it is my favorite time of year.

I was thinking about to do lists,  travel plans, family dynamics and how busy the next month could potentially be.

Then I read this blog post, which put my mind at ease.

This season isn’t one that has to be stressful or busy. We choose for it to be that way. The great expectations I had placed upon myself weren’t required.

The author presented a challenge: “Write down everything you feel like you MUST do this holiday season, and then prioritize. What do you actually have to do? What things are simply extra expectations you feel like you should do? Consider how you can simplify a bit this season.”

What will this season look like?  I’ve broken it down into what’s expected (by me because of “tradition”) and how I am going to try and give myself grace, to truly embrace the season, for what it is, a focus on the 1st coming of Jesus.

Great Expectation #1: Christmas cards to family & friends

                   Grace Expectation: A blog post with life updates shared on social media & via email is much more realistic and even enjoyable for me to put together!

Great Expectation #2: Decorations up/down by a certain time

                    Grace Expectation: Making time to decorate because I’m excited to do it and enjoying it for as long as desired.

Great Expectation #3: The pressure to purchase the perfect gift/Spend a certain amount of $$

                     Grace Expectation: Our family has chosen since last year to gift via family versus individually, which helps with the focus on quality and not burdening anyone financially. I won’t feel compelled to gift someone just because they gift me because I have to be realistic about what I can afford and find other ways to show appreciation.

Great Expectation #4: Filling the calendar with holiday events

                       Grace Expectation: This introvert loves people, but the thought of multiple gatherings is exhausting. The focus will be on striking a balance between the desire to interact/participate in social traditions, with the perfect & valid desire to stay indoors and watch a Christmas movie.

Great Expectation #5: Being able to see everyone when traveling

                      Grace Expectation: I always try to pack many visits into trips back to the Midwest. My time is always precious, so I know I need to focus on seeing who I am able to and enjoying the time instead of rushing around. This makes me thankful for technology to connect during the season.

As we officially enter into this holiday season,  I very much look forward to trimming the tree, listening to my favorite Christmas songs and engaging with some of my favorite traditions.

My hope is that in it all, my focus will be on embracing God’s grace and anticipating his greatest love, Jesus, the truest reason for celebrating the season.

How will you add grace to your holiday expectations this season?


  • Kim

    Great perspective! So far, in order to avert stress, I’ve turned the radio station when Christmas music has come on. Give it to me when Advent begins.

    Implementing this idea: One, I despise crowds and shopping. So, I will do as much online shopping as I can this year.

    Two, I hate wrapping gifts. So, gift bags for as many presents as possible!

    • emily

      My rule is no Christmas music before Thanksgiving, I broke that once last week. But with Turkey day early this year, there’s a week between it and Advent and I can’t wait that long!

      This introvert loves online shopping, but I did get some great deals by going out this evening after the craziness was over!

      I also love gift bags! Some great ideas, thanks for sharing!

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