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Christmas Chaos | Not Quite Amish

Christmas Chaos

Have you ever had too much Christmas cheer stuffed into your home? I’ve spent entire afternoons untangling lights to hang on the roof and the trees. Invited guests for a holiday dinner and suffered through planning, cleaning and cooking. Christmas chaos! There’s nothing wrong with any of these things, but . . .

HOME is supposed to be a haven, a place of rest, a place of peace. Right? So how can you kick the hustle, bustle and pressure out of your house?

1) If a certain holiday task causes you to feel anxious, ask yourself if it’s really necessary. Having friends for dinner is great, but you could ask everyone to bring a dish rather than cooking for a crowd.

2) Consider decorating with less. I adore Christmas, but several years ago we moved to a new house that is smaller in some respects. I decided to go with LESS decorations and now only put out my very favorite pieces.

3) What about outside? Remember, you’re not decorating the outside of your house to win a neighborhood award. If you WANT to put outside decorations, then do. But sometimes simple battery-operated candles in the window are enough.

4) Celebrating with family can be stressful. I know some of my family is flat-out crazy, whereas I am completely normal (hee hee hee). Whether you invite family into your home or you visit someone else, offer grace. Don’t judge someone else’s housekeeping and don’t worry about whether the last speck of dust is gone from your home. This is a time of reflection, holiness, and joy. Focus on that.

5) What one thing stresses you the most? For me, it was Christmas ornaments that my cats would knock off and bat around the house. Problem solved! I made, bought, and borrowed ornaments that are cloth or lace. Now if it goes sailing across the room—my husband and I look at each other and shrug. Identify the thing that stresses you the most and find a solution.

Christmas is about our Lord. It’s about the miracle of His birth and His love for us . . . but it’s so easy to forget that. One of my most popular books to date has been A Simple Amish Christmas. I think readers love this story because it shows how one young lady returns home, to a family she loves dearly, and a Christmas celebration that is plain and simple.

Blessings to you all this holiday season.



Congrats to Diane Feryo Bojda, who was yesterday’s giveaway winner. Anna, you have an email in your inbox. Today’s giveaway is Vannetta Chapman’s A Shipshewana Amish Mystery series (three books) and an Amish calendar! To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below. If you have trouble seeing the widget, try using a different browser (i.e. Chrome, Firefox, etc.). Only those in the continental U.S. are eligible to win. The winner will be announced on tomorrow’s blog post.

PLUS, don’t forget about the Pin & Win contest where you could win a media library of more than 40 books, CDs, and DVDs! More info here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Vannetta Chapman (29 Posts)

Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. Her first novel, A Simple Amish Christmas, quickly became a bestseller. She now writes Amish fiction for Abingdon Press, Zondervan, and Harvest House. Chapman lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.


  1. I love your article above. Christmas has become way too busy. Should just make it smaller where’s theres time to enjoy being with family and friends without so much work. Just meet to enjoy the love passed on to us by our Saviour. GOD is love. Maxie ( mac262@me.com )

  2. The one thing that stresses me most used to be how big my tree was -it was too much for me. A smaller tree made me much happier -just not sure about everyone else!

    • Vickie, that big old tree certainly stressed me out – especially with our cats. One thing I did to help my small tree look bigger was put it on a large box, and cover that with a pretty tree skirt. It puts the tree UP where you can see it.

  3. A few years back I went through our totes of Christmas Decor and ditched about half of them keeping only those ornaments and decorations that truly meant something to me and my family. Now decorating takes us less than 2 hours when we all work together.

  4. Katie Johnson says:

    I would say Christmas shopping can be quite stressful for me. Having to wait in long check-out lines, having to search for a parking spot at a crowded mall and not finding the right gift.

    • Katie, you are putting your finger on a lot of the things that take the JOY out of Christmas for some of us. I went shopping with my mom yesterday (Monday) and there were no crowds at all. Sometimes picking an alternate day does help.

  5. Trying to figure out gifts stresses me.

  6. Debbie Curto says:

    Trying to buy the perfect gift is just too hard anymore!

  7. Moving to Lancaster County near the Amish has so totally changed my outlook on life and “things”. “Simple is better” is now my life! I choose to celebrate the meaning of Christmas without all the clutter 🙂

  8. malinda Passwater says:

    Making sure house is cleaned every bit of it. Not sure why because it needs to b done afterwards. Shopping also what to get everyone.

  9. Melissa L. says:

    I am not a Christmas person so the whole idea just stresses me out. But I especially dislike decorating the Christmas tree. However, my husband doesn’t understand and completely pushes me every year to help decorate the tree. I tried to tell him it is something he and our daughters could do without me but it didn’t work. Not sure how to fix this.

    • What if you just sat with everyone and unwrapped the ornaments and handed them out – you could be the one to find the “holes” in the tree that need more ornaments too.

    • Great idea, Kim. And Melissa, sometimes we do things b/c it makes the other person happy — like me sitting in a deer stand with my hubby. 🙂 I pray you all find a nice compromise.

  10. Thank you Vannetta! I’ve been working hard to make Christmas simple for years -and I find it goes against the cultural flow. Now I enjoy December and the worship and relationship aspect of it, though. I do always feel like a Scrooge, however, when I drive by all the lit houses and ours is dark and boring! I LOVE the idea of putting some battery-operated candles in the window. I think I’m talented enough to do that and make it look good. 🙂

  11. Pamela Hargraves says:

    Trying to figure out how I am going to do CHristmas Eve in one town and the Christmas Day in another twon 6 hrs away and get home to work the next day. AHHHHHHHH!!!!

  12. Bonnie Traher says:

    Winning would be awesome.

  13. kathy fowler says:

    Trying to figure out gifts stresses me big time.

  14. I am exceptionally lucky. The family and I go to my mother in law’s for four or five days. The only main things I do is the Christmas cake and the prawn cocktail on Christmas day itself. I really love seeing my younger children spend quality time with their grandparents. Presents pah…they are replaceable. Family, cherish them while they are around! 10 days before christmas the decs go up and I start getting the presents. With visits to my mothers and friends, its a busy busy time!

  15. For me I think it’s the shopping that’s stressing me out this year. Usually I enjoy buying gifts and writing down in my notebook what I’ve gotten everyone, and figuring out the perfect gift. This year though, money seems tighter, and I’m just stressing about it more & more.

  16. Jane Squires says:

    I love your blog. What you wrote is inspirational. I have always used less especially since kids left home. If I get a tree up, I do good. No one is here anymore to see it but my husband and I. Maybe my 1 year old granddaughter will spend some time here this month so will put it up. My cats are a problem too. If you don’t break something yearly, it seems unusual. I put some candles in window. And a Santa that was my Dad’s that lights up. We have had it since I was little.

  17. Laurie Thompson says:

    Decorating the tree has always been a pleasant experience in my family. My father used to take us out on Christmas Eve and cut down a tree on a neighbor’s farm. It was not one of those big, beautiful live trees that are sold now but what we call here in NC a scrub pine. In our eyes, it was the most beautiful tree in the world. I wanted to continue the tradition with my children so we decorate our tree on Christmas Eve.

  18. One thing that really stresses me out is being expected to buy Christmas presents for everybody. I have now limited mine & hubbys buying of Christmas presents for our adult kids, their spouses, our grandchildren and one another. My in-laws are not happy about it. (And these are the gparents that never bought our kids presents for anything).

  19. I will be spending a week in Cocoa Beach,Florida & then going on a long cruise to the Bahamas with family. Looking forward to this but getting anxious too!

  20. Lindy Enlow says:

    The thing that stresses me about Christmas is trying to get the visiting with everyone planned out. It seems to never work and someone is angry.

  21. I miss christmas spirit! I grew up with huge family christmas. But now we have dwindled down to just my 2 daughters and grandson. Christmas just isn’t the same.

  22. While I really love Christmas
    The past two years I haven’t been in the Christmas spirit. Hopefully this year will be better.

  23. Love your books Vanette!
    Thank you for the tip.
    I definately need to try some of them.
    I for one stresses very easily.
    It can be hard for me to get in the
    Christmas spirit with the stress at times.

    Cheryl Baranski

  24. Linda McFarland says:

    I get stressed some times not knowing what everyone wants for Christmas…but this year is gonna be different…because we are getting a gift…and drawing numbers to see who gets what if well be a surprise for everyone…..but this is only for the adults…the little kids still get lots of gifts they are still just kids and Christmas is really for all but kids really get in to it more and love to see the expressions on their faces when they open em,…….priceless……..love your books Vanneta Chapman….and would be thrilled to WIN.

  25. Paula Osborne says:

    Christmas is just not like it used to be too commercial, kids want too much and are not thankful for what they get, shopping is harder each year to do and traffic is terrible inside and out, folks hurry through the aisles of the stores knocking into you and running ahead of you-not peaceful at all, I find it easier to just give gift cert. and this is not what I want to do.

  26. Cheryl Callan says:

    I love Christmas time.. And watching all the grandkids faces…I go all out decorating..And it is so worth it when they open their gifts..I very rarely get stress during the holidays.. My favorite time of year..

  27. Great post.

  28. Donna Haynes Robertson says:

    Vannetta, I am a card-carrying Christmas nut but this year I am dealing with a broken ankle, limited mobility and reduced income. As much as I love the decorations, baking, etc., I will have to reduce that this year. And you know what? It will still be Christmas! Thanks for the encouragement.

  29. The thing that stresses me the most is taking down the decorations. If I could just shove the tree in a closet without having to undecorate it, I would. 🙂

  30. Thank you for the contest, I would love to win. All of Christmas stresses me out, and this year I will have a houseful…the cooking, baking, buying presents and decorating. It’s just not an easy holiday and although I enjoy it at times, I am thankful to get through it without too many additional gray hairs.:)

  31. Thank you for having such wonderful contests! (I enjoy entering, but have never won!!) LOL I really enjoyed meeting you last year in Shipshewanna!! We went to Shopshewanna again this year for the Light Parade!! Loved it!! Take care!!

  32. My husband wants to continue decorating as we did when our children were home. We now travel to one of them for Christmas. I commented to our youngest daughter I was looking forward to staying home next year so I could put lights outside, which I didn’t feel I could now because I would have them on for a while and then off when we were gone. She suggested a timer to turn them on and off. Still think I will wait until next year and see what that brings. But… great idea for a timer even if we are here! Kathleen

  33. Jennifer Koehler says:

    Not having all of my kids home stresses me out.. I have two in the military and they are both overseas.. (One in Japan and one in Afghanistan)

  34. I love the sound of this series, thank you for hosting this giveaway.


  35. I have a couple of Vanetta’s books and adore them. Being single it does help lessen the holiday stress….i put up a tree this year for the first time in over 10 years and only put ornaments on the front half. LOL

  36. Dawn Searcy says:

    I try not to stress over anything, I put a smile on my face and love in my heart, please enter me!

  37. We live nearly 1,000 miles away from family, so all the shipping costs this time of year stresses me out.

  38. Cheryl in WVa says:

    this year, I’m lacking the holiday spirit….I’m hoping it will hit, and hit soon…or I will be buying presents at the last moment!!

  39. Every year I stress out about making sure our boys get at least a couple of things that they really want for Christmas. This year I am determined to focus more on celebrating our Saviour’s Birthday and being a family and doing things together instead of what is under the tree, being grateful for what God has already given us!!

  40. I’m hoping to find a ceramic tree like used to be popular, can’t find them anymore. I would be happy with just that.

    • Loretta Shumpert says:

      I was leaving my name when I accidently hit enter and it looks like it went through. Leaving name and email again. I was having problems even getting to post.

  41. the money we don’t have to spend on gifts is what stresses me out the most….I love Christmas and wish folks would get back to the simple life of giving homemade gifts as the Amish often do! thanks!

  42. Crystal H. says:

    These are such great suggestions! I’m also reading Crystal Paine’s book on simplifying the holidays, and am finding that really helpful, too.

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