If I’d never worked in advertising (or fundraising or publishing), I might think it was a little unrealistic. All the promotions and projects on the line at the holidays in our favorite Hallmark and Lifetime movies seem like a made-up plot device, don’t they? Who schedules can’t-miss meetings and client pitches a few days before Christmas?

Lots of people, apparently.

While I have never seen a real-life community concert or carnival scheduled for December 25, I have found myself working overtime mere days before Christmas. Sometimes that’s just when business is busiest, and deadlines don’t wait for all the shopping and baking and family-time-spending we really want to focus on during the holidays. This year is no different, as I’ve signed contracts to finish one giant project right before Christmas and one right after.

Work — and life in general — doesn’t stop for the holidays. In fact, it sometimes just doubles down on stress and schedules and “MUST BE DONE NOW” to-do lists. And sometimes, we do it to ourselves (or at least compound the problem ourselves).

Every year, I vow to avoid any unnecessary Christmas chaos. I promise to not even peek at Pinterest and its pretty bucket lists and delicious recipes. I unsubscribe from all the emails shouting at me about last-minute sales and commit to cutting back on how many times I look at the community calendars for one more festival to drag my family to. I pledge to keep it all simple, for once in my life.

And every year I break those promises — at least a little bit. So, on top of deadlines and meetings and events we truly cannot miss, I pile fun! And festivities! And more, more, more! Until my planner and my life look like an overflowing plate at Thanksgiving dinner.

It’s not a good look or a wise strategy for the season. So this year I’m trying a different approach. I still have intense deadlines, and our family has extra commitments for church and school. But rather than attempting to rein myself in and limit my “Let’s do it all!” tendencies, I’m going to be intentional about what holiday extras I lean into.

Join me at (in)courage to read the rest of this post (and a few ideas for dealing with December deadlines).

And for more devotions inspired by holiday movies, click here for Fake Snow & Real Faith, a FREE devotional.

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