I didn’t get married until I was 34, so I spent a good number of Christmases by myself.

Well, I wasn’t by myself on Christmas. I lived near enough to family to have company and exchange gifts. But for the season itself, I was alone.

And in those years, I made Christmas big. Every year I added to it, inflating it a bit more each year, until preparation needed to begin so far in advance, I think the celebrations would have eventually met themselves year-round.

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I didn’t just bake. I had a baking budget. I would take a vacation day from work and slave from before sunup until long after sundown and rush around the next day delivering endless plates of treats. Sampler platters of Christmas.

I didn’t just buy gifts. I bought in themes. I wrote notes on gifts. I wrapped in matching paper and bought for everyone in my life…even if it was just a little something.

I didn’t just send cards. I made them by hand and wrote personal greetings and lovingly glued in a picture.

I didn’t just decorate a tree. I decorated a tree in each room. Even the bathrooms.

And I loved it. I loved the bigness and that I was known for being Miss Christmas. It gave me something to do in a season that could have swallowed me whole if I slowed down long enough to think about it.

The year Ryan and I got married, we chose December 2nd as our wedding date. When we arrived home from our honeymoon, I had exactly sixteen days to produce Christmas out of thin air. {And I worked full time an hour from home.} That year, Christmas was abbreviated. We put up just two trees, I ordered our cards, and I didn’t bake the first treat.

It nearly took my breath away to not bury myself beneath Christmas. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to celebrate properly without all my pomp and circumstance.

But that year was different. Marrying Ryan meant adding four family celebrations to the calendar. Four days of merriment in addition to the one I always observed with my family. Somehow that made up for what I missed in my own making.

This year will be our fourth Christmas together, and there’s a part of me that wants to tame this thing down. Not because there was anything wrong with what I did before. But because I don’t need it in the same way. The void once filled with baking and decking every hall I owned has been replaced with something new…something now.

So this year it’s a simplified Christmas. I hope to bake again for the first time in several years, but maybe just one thing. Not a dozen. I’ll put up a tree, maybe two. Probably not seven. And in the stillness, I plan to sit. To enjoy. To be.


bekah headshotBekah Shaffer is a wife, writer, blogger, and lover of life and creativity. God has redeemed and restored the life that felt broken and useless, and she loves to share pieces of her story so others can find hope in what God has done. She’s married to Ryan, her answer to many years of prayers, and she loves to scrapbook, make memories, cook, write, and point others toward the Lord!
Connect with Bekah online:
Blog: www.bekahsbits.blogspot.com
Instagram: @Shafferland2012
Twitter: @BekahsBits