evening carols and days of gratitude: the first noel

evening carols
notes from maggie's farm

Tonight, I am grateful for No.

I am generally considered a pretty positive person.  Sometimes irritatingly so.  Pollyanna has occasionally been bandied about in my presence and one family member has been known to describe me as "God's oldest cheerleader".  I'm not sure that was a compliment.  

I'm usually all about the yes.  Yes.  YES.   Happy, cheerful, positive, YES. But sometimes, not enough No, makes a less than happy, cheerful, positive yes.  It's all about moderation.  I'm working on moderation.

This year, I'm keeping the No in Noel.

Are you with me on this?  You do too much, don't you?  And if you don't do too much, you spend too much time feeling guilty about not doing too much.  I mean, we people just don't feel like we're doing enough, until we've worn ourselves to a frazzle doing too much.  

There!, we say.  I'm a wreck.  I've done too much.  Must have done enough.  With a (weakened and withered) pat on the back and a distant memory of what this holiday was intended to be, we've overextended our budget, financially, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

I encourage you, this year, to stand with me and say No.

No spending money we don't have.
No maxing out the credit.
No, not one more dozen cookies.
No to rushing, to last minute, or to holiday lines and traffic.
No to one more string of lights.  Around the chimney.  Spelling Ho, ho, ho.
No to anything that steals my joy.
No to X Box.  Sorry, X Box.  But, no.
No to thinking everyone has to have the biggest, baddest, latest thing.
No, I will not hunt, catch, kill, and dress my own turkey. 
No, Martha, I will not be hand painting the gift wrap this year.
No to commercialism.  
NO to the hijacking of this holiday.

Whatever your faith, this holiday, be it, like me, to honor the birth of our Lord and Savior, or the re-dedication of the Temple and the Festival of Lights, or the first fruits of the harvest, or simply, and specially to share goodwill with family and friends, say YES to just that, and only that.  

Think of all the season's past in your lives.  Think of the special events that stand out for you.  What are the happy memories?  Was it how you managed to spend every day leading to the Big Day  in a state of frenzied preparation? Probably not.  It was more likely one party with treasured friends, or the glow of your family, gathered, or the happiness that one charitable act brought to another.  

Today, take a moment to contemplate all that is before you in the next two weeks.  Place a check mark in front of those things which truly honor the season for you, and then, bravely, with a clear conscience, and a pen, not a pencil, consider a few well-placed No's, in Noel.


  1. Great post!! I'm right there with you on the "NO" thing. People are losing the true meaning of the season. Truly, the most important gifts can not be bought, ie. family, friends, good health, happiness, etc...

  2. Thanks for your comment! I had hoped it didn't sound too negative and I appreciate the feedback. Now, let's keep reminding each other to say NO! lol

  3. Wonderful post! Made me smile and nod in agreement. Love the first photo too. :)

  4. So so true. Sometimes I feel so much pressure during Christmas because my younger sister, who is a housewife, (whereas I am a career girl and make more money) spends so much money on gifts for our family. This year, I've said no, I'm trying very hard to stick to a budget to increase my savings and meet other goals. My gifts for the parents are likely 1/5th of what she will spend but I'm not going to let it bother me. And no to other things too due to time constraints.

  5. Thanks, Staci! Is it just that getting more mature makes us realize that too MUCH is just TOO TOO MUCH? I hope you are having a great season.

    Good for you, Mauishopgirl, for knowing when to say no. If I were more like you, years ago, instead of your sister, I'd be a bit more secure now. DO not let it bother you--- and let your family know how special they are to you. That's the Christmas gift I'd most like from my family.

  6. Yes Mam! to the No Mam! Wait what about those cookies tonight? just kidding. I have totally paced myself this year and by doing this I've created a schedule for the first time I can manage. Yes it did mean several 'No"s but I don't feel guilty so I guess that means I'm growing up. Great post with a great list of "no"s to print and keep to remind me. Thanks!


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