What is it we all crave during the holidays? Chocolate? For sure. But what do we really want from all our efforts? Why do we put up the tree and tangle with the same strands of temperamental lights every year or dig through 45 awful sweaters to find the ONE that will fulfill Mom’s wish list? What we’re looking for is a sense of family, a connection, that love and peace promised in every tiny Christmas song heard throughout department stores the Nation over. It’s that feeling we worked to capture in Christmas Kisses: An Echo Ridge Anthology and it’s that feeling that Connie Sokol wants to help us find this Christmas. I’ll turn the post over to her and let her get to it.
3 Tips to Simplify & Savor the Season by Connie E. Sokol
The holidays are upon us and like many women, my mature response often goes like this: panic, stare, shudder and roll over, desperately clutching a tin of Danish butter cookies.
But no more. This year, women can enjoy the holidays with a few simple and useable tips.
Step 1. Focus on a feeling
This seemingly warm, fuzzy consideration might be overlooked but is actually the underlying driver of a memorable holiday. Answer this question ahead of time: What feeling do I and my family want to experience and remember the most this holiday season?
The particular feeling isn’t as crucial as being intentional about it. Choose a feeling that fits your needs or desires: peaceful, exciting, joyful or spiritually grounding.
What matters most is that you choose what matters to you and your family. Then ask each member to choose one family tradition that is the most meaningful. As you enjoy those traditions, each person will experience that personally satiated, contented feeling.
2. Get the family buy-in.
Too often women feel solely responsible for creating a successful holiday season. But when we involve our families, they feel more joy, create memories, and learn life skills. To do this takes getting the buy-in — meaning holding a semi-official meeting to ensure that with time, energy and enthusiasm, the family will put aside electronics to help hang the holly wreaths.
The holidays are for family, so let them help. Let go of your inner controlling Mrs. Claus, and understand that even she uses elves (I have it on good authority). When everyone pitches in, each can enjoy the experience and you can let go of “The Mom Show.” Not only is that a gift here and now for you, but it is also a future gift for your children, because they will use those life skills year after year and prepare them to be stellar adults (and relieve your holiday stress).
3. Keep it simple
Especially during the holidays, conventional wisdom encourages women to consciously review and reduce their expectations, because emotional and physical overload can create “yo-yo” emotions. Too much to do combined with the desire to please too many people can create a lose-lose situation.
So the point here is, to keep it simple. Ask yourself:
• Am I doing this to create family memories or for show?
• Am I making this because I love my family or to check it off the list?
• Am I being present in the moment and enjoying this event or am I thinking ahead to when it will be done, or planning the next thing?
Consider how much holiday stress you’ll eliminate by focusing on those who matter most and not on how someone might perceive you or your item, event or decor.
The holidays can be a time of joy and peace and giving. With a bit of simple organization and intentional savoring, we can experience just that.
Mother, Author, Speaker
Enjoy a little more holiday cheer with the delightful, Christmas Kisses, a collection from five bestselling and award-winning authors for only $.99.
Set in the snowy town of Echo Ridge in upstate New York, these inspirational romances are sure to delight while you sip cocoa by the fire and listen to Christmas carols.
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The Candy Counter Heiress by Lucy McConnell Amazon bestselling & award-winning author
Someday Reese Gates will own The Candy Counter at Kenworth’s; but someday can’t come fast enough when the manager threatens to bring in a national candy provider. Reese secretly takes matters into her own hands hoping to save her parents from additional worry and prove herself capable of running the company. Her deception deepens as she ropes computer guru Andy Edwards into helping her expand the business. Reese wanted to shake things up, but she wasn’t planning on her heart getting caught in the mix by Andy’s stolen kisses. If she can hold it together until after Christmas, then she can reveal her successful online company and her feelings for Andy. Unfortunately for Reese, even the best laid plans can melt like chocolate.
Christmas Makeover by Cami Checketts Amazon bestselling author
Chelsea Jamison has been infatuated with Drew Stirling longer than she’s loved playing basketball, high-top sneakers, and the Knicks. Unfortunately, all Drew sees is the kid who kicked his trash in the high school free throw contest and not the girl whose heart breaks into a fast dribble when he’s near.
Drew makes an unexpected visit home to Echo Ridge and their friendship picks up where they left off as they scheme to make a teenaged boy’s Christmas dreams come true. When Chelsea realizes she’s fallen for her best friend, she wonders if there is any hope of a relationship with Drew or if she’s stuck in buddy-status for life.
Soda Fountain Christmas by Connie E. Sokol Amazon bestselling author
Keira Kenworth has one focus this holiday season: save her father’s old-time department store from bankruptcy. She is not focused on Tayton Wells, the tall, dark, and genius marketing guru from downtown New York, hired to make it happen. He is as doubtful that her nostalgic connect-the-town ideas will succeed as she is about his numbers-first plan. However, it’s not just their different approaches that cause sparks to fly. Working together on a fast deadline to save the store before Christmas, the unspoken connection between them grows. But will the tough decisions they face drive them back to their separate worlds, or will they lead to the beginning of love?
Hope for Christmas by Rachelle J. Christensen Amazon bestselling & award-winning author
Anika Fletcher hates Christmas–its promises of good tidings and hope for the future are as tinseled as the ornaments on Kenworth’s Hope Tree. Despite her feelings, Anika wants to maintain her daughter’s faith in the magic of the season and gladly accepts a second job working with the handsome Carlos Rodriguez to restore Kenworth’s old fashioned soda fountain. Carlos is no stranger to hard times and slowly shares his life of light and joy with Anika as they work together. Just as her fragile soul begins to feel hope again, an ill-timed act of charity changes everything. Anika isn’t sure who she can trust or if hope is worth nurturing–especially at Christmas when it’s easy to enjoy a kiss and believe love can last longer than the season.
One Winter Night by Heather Tullis Amazon bestselling author
Jonah Owens thought moving to Echo Ridge to open his art gallery would solve all of his problems. The need to sell his grandma’s house adds an unexpected complication. It would be easier if his neighbor didn’t have all those farm animals.
Kaya Feidler’s family has owned their land for nearly a hundred years–long before the neighbors were there. There’s no way she’s giving up the animal therapy business she’s been struggling to make profitable. She gets a temp job helping Jonah in the gallery. Spending time together is a recipe for romance, but can they overcome their own hangups to be more than friends?