Alex, welcome. What prompted your experiment in loving your actual Christmas?
I’d had enough years of feeling exhausted, even resentful, at the end of the Christmas season that I wanted a better way. When talking to other women I realized I wasn’t alone. A book that I need and others need is usually a good starting place for a topic.
In what ways has it changed you?
It has helped me see the benefit of the liturgical calendar. As I’ve stepped into the anticipation and themes of Advent and the longer feast of Christmastide I’ve recognized there’s a reason the Church has historically taken these times to ponder the miracle of Christmas. I was also reminded that we are to relay and remember this story every year because our weary souls need that annual refresher regardless of our circumstances.
What will a Kuykendall Christmas look like this year?
Ha! Much to my kids’ dismay I’ve pared down on gifts the last few years, so they now have that expectation. We will continue to figure out what our “new normal” looks like without my stepdad during the holidays. And we will have an especially quiet down time the days after the 25th.On getting real and doing Christmas differently this year. Q&A with @Alex_Kuykendall… Click To Tweet
In the context of loving your actual Christmas, what does it mean for you to celebrate beauty amidst the brokenness?
We live in a world that is upside down where we are reminded of both the pain of humanity and God’s presence in it. As a mom I have the joy of healthy children, while knowing one of my neighbors will spend her first Christmas after losing her 12-year-old son. To hold the tension of both is truly the Christmas story. To remember the world is not as it should be, and it is for this very reason God stepped onto it as a baby over 2,000 years ago.
What one word of encouragement would give to season-relishing skeptics?
Small changes can have big impact. It is shocking how stress-relieving a few intentional tweaks can be when made in the right spirit. Don’t try to do a Christmas overhaul but choose a few areas where you can cut back. Because usually the cutting back is what creates positive change.
And finally, what books are on your nightstand right now?
So many! Mostly because I have more that I want to read than I have (or make) time for. A few are Eugene Peterson’s new book As Kingfishers Catch Fire: A Conversation on the Ways of God Formed by the Words of God, Culture Care: Reconnecting With Beauty for our Common Life by Makoto Fujimura, and 5 Word Prayers: A 40-Day Devotional by Lisa Whittle.
Thank you, Alex! A pleasure to hear from you today.
About the book (from the publisher): The Christmas season is a particularly difficult time for women to slow down and relish what’s right in front of them. An annual marker for many, it is a holiday that can often remind us how life is not going as we’d planned. Our family relationships remain strained, our finances stretched, and our schedules stuffed with too much to do in too little time.
Following the formula of her successful Loving My Actual Life, Alexandra Kuykendall shares with readers her own personal experiment to be completely present in her life as it is during the holiday season. Addressing the themes of Advent and Christmas, she reflects on hope, love, joy, peace, and relishing the season, with practical pullouts on common Christmas stressors, such as finances, schedules, and extended family. Kuykendall’s signature candor helps women go easy on themselves, remember what truly matters, and find joy in their imperfect Christmases.
Buy it here.