7 Steps To Take When the Holiday Train Is Rolling Too Fast (and Taking Your Peace With It)

This month I’m writing about experiencing peace right where we find ourselves. And, man, do I wish I were an expert on this subject!

The holiday train is on the move and quickly picking up speed. If the days go by much faster, they’ll be gone before I catch sight of them.

So how do we experience peace when the view outside the locomotive window is but a blur?

Steps To Holiday Peace

Although admittedly not an expert, being a disgruntled passenger on this train in the past has helped me discover a few tips for putting on the brakes to the madness. The first three are essential.


  1. Be in the Word every day. DO NOT — never, never, never — give up your daily quiet time with God, not matter how busy your day is (or START one now)! Nothing makes more of a difference in creating peace and joy.
  2. Keep your focus on the real reason for celebrating. It’s not gifts or food or decorations. The actual reason for celebrating any day, really, is the Lord. He must remain our focus.
  3. Be intentional about celebrating the gift of each day. Consider downloading this Discover the Gift of Today action card for 3 simple steps to help with this. It’s free: click here to get it. Honest thanksgiving always breeds contentment.
  4. If at all possible, delegate something each day. It’s not all yours to do. I love to wrap, but this year, with our first Christmas party looming right around the corner, I enlisted Rachel and one of her caregivers to wrap them. Now instead of looking at the pile of presents yet to be wrapped and frowning, I look at the lovely pile of already wrapped presents and smile.
  5. Give up doing one thing this year. In my family, I’m the official Christmas candy maker, especially chocolates. It can quickly become overwhelming. Last year, to regain a bit of sanity, I decided to make only one kind of truffle instead of three. It doesn’t seem like much, but every little bit helped, and nobody seemed to miss them.
  6. Make lists … and use them. In just a week and a half, I’ll have four more hungry mouths to feed for 4 days. What a blessing, but it doesn’t just happen on its own. I have to plan it. So meal lists, ingredient lists, and to-do lists are my friends (and yours too).
  7. Create simple ways to celebrate. Ways that aren’t overly time-consuming or costly. A few years ago I introduced a Thanksgiving tree to our mid-November decor. Decorating twigs with leaves of remembrance for gifts received has been a wonderful, and simple, celebration of thanksgiving (get Scripture leaves here)Adorenaments, Ornament Set by Barbara Rainey has served a similar purpose for our Christmas season for years. (They’ve changed a lot since I bought the first version. I love these new ones — click on the name to take a peek!)

Honestly, I’m not very good at it, this giving up and slowing down the train thing. I want to do it all and do it all well.

But with overfilled days comes stress and discontentment, not joy and celebration. So I’m learning, ever-so-slowly, to incorporate key components to hold onto that holiday peace.

With overfilled days comes stress and discontentment, not joy and celebration. Click To Tweet

Slowing down the holiday train is essential for peacefully and joyfully celebrating. And it allows for the creation of beautiful memories as well. 

Preparing for the approaching holidays can be stressful. Incorporate these 7 steps to hold onto holiday peace. Click To Tweet

“Teach me good judgment and discernment, for I rely on Your commands.” Psalm 119:66

Reflections: What aspect of the holiday seasons make it difficult for you to slow down?

More than 4 years of counting and I’ve surpassed 4,000 gifts in Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare! What a blessing! Here are numbers #4,474–4,494. Read my entire list by clicking here.

  • Freedom God’s grace allows; A husband who allows/helps me to pursue my passions even when he doesn’t “get it”; A go-to recipe that is easily adaptable when you are missing, say, 3 of the main ingredients
  • Watching the sun ascend beautifully over the lake; Thin layer of frost covering the grass; A buck making his grand appearance in front of my picture window
  • Potatoes all dug and turnips and rutabagas pulled; Walking down memory lane as I browse photos for this year’s Christmas card; Thunderstorm and tornado watch on November 11 in Iowa
  • Caring nurses willing to ease the fears of a young lady who doesn’t understand the need for vaccinations; A cozy bistro in which to meet friends and get work done; Comfort of my bedroom
  • Always gifts, even during hard days: ‪#‎JoyDare‬ Time I have to rest when needed; Christians worldwide mobilized to ‪#‎PrayForParis‬ and against evil; Feeling well enough to drink/eat more than just hot tea
  • A favorite caregiver for Rachel returns after an unexpected absence; Gorgeous afternoon for spreading woodchips on the garden with Joey’s help; Ending the day with the kids and Star Wars
  • Missing church with Rach not feeling well, but home worship with the kids is still sweet; Dave home from helping family; Beginning a weeklong break from editing, perfect timing for starting Thanksgiving preparations and Christmas candies/cookies

By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

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