Matt and I have officially enjoyed ten years of marital mostly-bliss…. aaand not nearly that many years of marital Christmas-bliss.  Let me give it to y’all straight: Christmases have not always been completely joyous around here.  Learning how to navigate so many families and people and traditions and OH HEY having a husband in ministry has not always been easy.  But I have to admit- I think we may have hit our stride over the past few years.

As I’ve pondered what we’ve actually done right this go ’round, I’ve arrived at a few thoughts.  Enter The Allisons’ Three-Pronged Approach to All Things Christmas.  Sure, the Christmas lights are down, the halls are un-decked, and we’re nearly a week into January, but WHATEVER.  I’m preparing you in advance for what is to come in eleven months.  You’re so welcome.  Here we go:

1.Don’t go crazy.  There will be many people, things, and events vying for your attention and time.  Do not do them all.  Maybe do half.  For instance, my clan places a high value on driving an hour to the middle of no man’s land to eat pre-packaged corndogs and drive through a field of Christmas lights.  SO WE DID IT.  We said “no” to other things so that we could say “yes” to corndogs and good friends and Christmas lights.  This is how it’s done, people.


We also said “yes” to waiting an hour to ride a horse-drawn carriage through the streets of Wake Forest.  Now, this was only a priority for me.  Every other member of my family whined about the entire experience, but that’s only because they’re a very misled group of people and did not have the Christmas spirit within their souls.  So their opinions were nothing to me.  Remember?  Do not go crazy.

IMG_6248Then, there was Christmas at DPAC.  This is a pretty stellar event/show/service that our church puts on in the days leading up to Christmas.

Now, remember, Matt works at church.  He’s a pastor.  This is kind of what he does.  There is no penciling this into our calendar, but it’s well worth it.  This year, close to 12,000 people attended.   And it was phenomenal, per usual.  If you still need a little Christmas right this very minute- or if you’re just in the mood to hear some insanely-talented musicians at work, watch it here.  It won’t disappoint.


There was Elizabeth’s preschool Christmas program.  Which just so happened to be the LAST preschool Christmas program we’ll attend as parents.  (Tear.)


And there was Christmas poker.

You see, all important things.

IMG_6571Moving on.

2. Don’t let your kids go crazy.


Now, this one is a bit trickier because my children always have a small element of crazy within their compact little bodies.  But we’re talking about the “gimmegimmegimme” brand of crazy here.  This year, I tried to keep those glossy-paged toy catalogs out of their hands and didn’t even bother asking them for detailed Christmas lists.  Why?  Because they would’ve WANTED IT ALL AND MORE.


Y’all, we’re not scrooges.  We love to give our kids good gifts!  But I’ve also seen their propensity to obsess over their lists of All Things They Must Have, and I just wasn’t feelin that this year.


Sorry not sorry, kiddos.  I still think you made out just fine.  And look!  You didn’t go crazy!  So, winning!


(We could only avoid the crazy for so long.  It’s inescapable!  It’s IN THE FAMILY, you guys!)


3. Keep Jesus first.

I mean, of course this would be on our list.  We are a PASTOR’S FAMILY, people.  I don’t know what you even expect.

Of course we do our Advent readings.  Daily.  With reverence.  Worshipfully.  Kids pleading for “More Bible! Less Minecraft!” and earnestly begging, “tell me more about prophecy and the incarnation, daddy!!”


Alright, so we tried.

IMG_6290But, hey.  If God came to earth as baby Jesus and was birthed in a dirty stable filled with the cacophony of bleating sheep and mooing cows, I’d like to think He feels right at home in our house of dustballs, far-from-sedate children, and parents aching to see some semblance of peace on earth descend upon their home.  And desperate not to lose their ever-loving minds in the process.