Book of Joy, Day 9, by Jen N.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the most crafty of people on a good day. I have learned over the years how to pull off a decent holiday season. As with homeschooling, I always say I can do two things well. Unfortunately, there are three priorities at any given time.

  1. Children educated
  2. Clean house
  3. Three Meals a Day

We can have a clean house and meals prepared or kids educated and meals prepared, but all three are a rare occurrence. I do the best I can, but that is the simple truth. I can do two things well at any given time.

Add the holidays, family stress, and the fact that I like to write words in long documents and save them – and I am behind the eight ball. When my kids were younger I consciously and predictably said no to many outside-the-house activities. I had a bunch of small kids, and I knew that it wasn’t my season to commit my time anywhere but to my family.

I’m not sure when I started to let that slide. Maybe it was when two kids left the house? I felt like I “should have” more time on my hands.

I don’t because other priorities have replaced the intensity of having a bunch of kids at home.

In the past I have scoffed at such things as pre-made cookie dough and packaged crafts. “How lazy can you be to not just mix up dough?” I thought. Now I know that it has nothing to do with laziness. We all have ten thousand things demanding our full attention and Every single one of us has to choose each day how to spend our time. We have to decide what  the priority of that day should be.

After I freed myself from my own expectation of being able to command some sort of Pinterest-worthy holiday decorating spree, I realized that I wanted to spend a few afternoons making crafts and decorating cookies. I knew we wouldn’t actually have any entire afternoons and that I would need everything all in place ready to go as soon as the moment presented itself.

While I was grocery shopping, I put pre-made dough in the cart and then made one quick stop at Michael’s where we spent $20 on craft kits.

Last night after I finally got the floors washed upstairs, we plopped down and used the cardboard from our cabinet boxes and painted up some ornaments.

For whatever reason, this holiday season may not be your ideal. It may be different from what you want or had planned, but know that it is yours. My best advice is to figure out what is important to you and focus on just that. And don’t worry about everything getting done. It won’t,  and you’ll still survive somehow.





Jen N. – Jen has spent her time homeschooling her five children since 2001. She has read over 5,000 books aloud. A fan of all things geeky, she calls her children her horcruxes — each one has a talent for something she might have pursued herself. Jen and her husband have created a family of quirky, creative people that they are thrilled to launch out into the world. With the three oldest graduated, Jen now has time on her hands and has started a blog:

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