Last year was the first year I had to got to dress up my daughter for Halloween. And in my typical fashion, I spent hours researching and brainstorming and planning and budgeting and dreaming.

And in the end, she went as a cat. With no tail. And crooked eyeliner-drawn whiskers.

What happened? I don’t know for sure. I think I used up all my energy on the planning part and came up empty for the actual execution.

I’d like to say this has never happened before, but that’s another post for another day.

Today I want to encourage you as we head into the holiday season. Don’t overdo it. Don’t fill your legal pads and planners and – seriously – prayer journals with to-do lists and seating charts. Don’t wear yourself out planning parties and making centerpieces and baking cookies.

Well, if you must do something, I’m sure a couple dozen cookies would be fine. Chocolate chip, please.

Anyway, how about we pace ourselves this year? Take it one day at a time, enjoy the moment, be present with our friends and family – the whole deal.

Will you join me in giving up on a perfect Halloween? (And Thanksgiving and Christmas and you get the picture.)

On Friday, October 30, I’m going to host my very first carnival. I’ll show you my most pitiful Halloween costumes and tell you my most embarrassing Halloween story, and you can link up your stories and photos and recipes and whatever else you’d like to share.

And oh yeah – did I mention this? – I’ll also be giving away a few prizes that day. Believe me, you don’t want to miss it.

Here’s a button, if you want to spread the word. Or decorate your blog. Or print it on stickers and decorate the ladies’ stall. Whatev.

What’s your most stressful part of the holiday season?

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