Loving My Actual Christmas

Have you ever found yourself wishing for a different Christmas? Does Christmas usually come with mixed feelings of joy, regret, and maybe even anxiety? What would your actual Christmas look like if you could have it your way?

Expectations surrounding the Christmas season seem to have turned from hope to entitlement, and from love to loathing all the stress that is heaped upon families during this otherwise festive time of year.

But there is hope, friend. Let’s take peek through those crummy curtains of condemnation and lay false expectations to rest. Listen to my conversation with author Alexandra Kuykendall to hear how she learned to finally let go and love her actual Christmas.


Click below to listen!

About the Author

A trusted voice for Christian women, Alexandra Kuykendall speaks around the world about issues of parenting, faith and identity. She is the Cohost of The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast and has authored Loving My Actual Life, Loving My Actual Christmas, and The Artist’s Daughter: A Memoir. Alex lives in the shadows of downtown Denver with her husband Derek and their 4 daughters who range in age from 15 to 6.

When My Actual Christmas is Driving Me Crazy

It took me years to actually find hope for the holidays. At the ripe old age of 22, I moved 3,000 miles away from my family and to an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I had my love, but every time a holiday rolled around, I became painfully aware of how far I had gone.

On top of everything… it didn’t even feel like Christmas in Hawaii, and we were newly married with a tight budget.

Fast forward five years to two babies and no grandparents close to share the time with. I would often fall into a puddle of tears every time I had to hang up and say, “We can’t come this year.”

In this episode, Alex talks about the “If’s” and “If Onlys.” Change is difficult, and not being able to change what’s already difficult is even more difficult.


“Christmas heightens whatever is already hard in our lives…every Christmas is one that I can’t get back with my kids… I don’t want to spend every year thinking If only this year were different, then we’d have a great holiday… and I’ve lived enough life to know that tomorrow is not promised.”

Loving our actual Christmas starts with understanding the blessing we already have. It begins with gratefulness.

The extra guilt or obligations is what causes stress:

MONEY – already strained?

TIME – already overly busy?

EXTENDED FAMILY – need to extend people grace while taking care of what needs to happen for our own sanity.

Instead, hold tight to Anchors of Truth. For example: believing the best in others, and sometimes the best ways to set yourself up for success are to practical realistic expectations and honesty with family members.

How can we wrap our minds around Jesus?

[bctt tweet=”God loved us so much, that He entered the story of humanity… @alex_kuykendall” username=”PracticalFamily”]

Alex talks about how her experiment helped to change her perspective on Christmas in just 5 minutes a day. Following an Advent structure and redefining our Christmas time as a period of waiting – a period of hopeful expectation.

In the Christmas story, there is a theme of gratefulness against harsh expectations… from others and what actually happened. Nothing was neat and tidy about Jesus birth, and people certainly expected many things from the Messiah.

But God wrapped up the greatest gift and gave us clues for His coming. Our newfound hope for the Christmas season is only to expect God to move in amazing ways, as we sit calming and allow Him to teach us about His plan for our lives.

Lay down your lists, just for a moment, and sit in a state of gratitude for what you already have, and what God is about to show you. It’s going to be a good Christmas.

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