Christmastime is supposed to be a great time of joy and anticipation, but what if planning for the holidays leaves you exhausted and even discouraged? 

As Alexandra Kuykendall surveyed women across the country, she found that there was one time of year that seemed to knock women off of their feet – the weeks leading up to Christmas. While those weeks were supposed to be a time of celebration, the season had lost it’s joy and instead was bringing out stress and even a bit of dread. After one particularly crazy holiday season, Alexandra came to a conclusion… it was too much.

“I never wanted to do Christmas that way again. I didn’t enjoy all of the activities I was trying to cram into my and my family’s schedule. I was trying to make magical moments for my kids, but there were too many of them.  Add to that the comments I was getting from other women who seemed to be feeling the same way, and I came up with a plan. Next Christmas would be different.”

Alexandra used the framework of Advent to devise a plan to prepare both her own heart and her family’s hearts for Christmas. Using the four Sundays that lead up to Christmas, she purposely incorporated one theme per week into her planning and preparation. The themes she drew from the Advent season were Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace.

“I began to ask myself, how do take these themes and apply them to my actual life – to my running around, crazy, preparing-for-Christmas life? On week one I asked, ‘How do I have more hope in my life? What does it look like to look for hope in the world. How does God provide hope? Why is hope important in the Christmas season?’ And it was in mining those themes, things started happening in my experiment.”

Alexandra found that intentionally focusing on hope, love, joy and peace brought a very different feel to the weeks leading up to Christmas and also brought a rich appreciation and reverence for Christ as she anticipated the celebration of His birth.

“Let’s face it, we want Christmas to be special. That’s why we do all of this planning and hoopla in the first place. While there is certainly a commercial element there, there is also something in our souls that longs for the Messiah, that longs for the Christ child, and there is joy in the knowledge that He has come for us and is coming back for us. And that makes Christmas full of joy if we can just focus on that.”

While we may not be able to eliminate all busyness from the holiday season, keeping our hearts and mind focused on hope, love, joy, and peace can at least be a starting point for keeping Christ at the center of our preparations.


Alexandra Kuykendall spends her days washing dishes, driving to and from different schools and trying to find a better solution to the laundry dilemma. All while trying to sneak in chunks of time to work on various writing projects. On staff with MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers) for nearly a decade, Alex is an established and trusted voice in mothering circles.

Loving my actual Christmas

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