12 home bloggers’ Christmas candlelight house tours of homes lit up at night decorated for Christmas.
It doesn’t seem possible that we’ve already arrived at Christmas Candlelight Tour day.
Every year, just before signing off for the season to enjoy time with loved ones, I join in with my best blogging friend Rachel at Maison de Pax for a peaceful walk through of our home at night set aglow by candles and twinkle lights.
(If you’re visiting from Courtney’s gorgeous house at French Country Cottage, welcome!)
Whether you photograph your home at night or not, I hope you take a few moments to do this too.
There’s something grounding about turning off the screens, playing some soft Christmas music in the background, and just walking through your decorated home in the quiet while everyone is asleep.
This season, even though it’s so much fun, it can feel so overwhelming. And if I’m not careful, the stress of all of the events and never-ending tasks will eat away at me.
So in the last days leading up to Christmas Eve, I like to put down the to-do list and tell myself, “Whatever task didn’t get finished in time, it’s okay. I’m going to be thankful here and now.”
It’s so easy to put pressure on ourselves at Christmas.
As a kid, I saw and felt the magic in the decorations and the gifts and the food and the traditions, and I lived for it.
Now I know a lot of that magic existed because my mom made it happen. Moms are Christmas rockstars!
If you’re a mom facing the mile-long to-do list, know this: you are enough. You deserve time to breathe.
Because it’s been a hard year… a hard couple of years actually.
It’s okay to order Chinese when you have no energy left to cook.
It’s okay if the house isn’t spotless or perfectly decorated.
It’s okay if you need to let go of some family traditions.
In celebrating the Prince of Peace, it’s okay to make “peace” the center of that celebration.
Because I have a sneaking suspicion, He would rather we acted as a Mary instead of a Martha, to choose stopping and listening versus preparing and working ourselves to the bone.
It’s okay to take a deep breath and say to ourselves, “I have done enough. I deserve to rest.”
No matter what this Christmas looks like for you this season, no matter how your year has been, I hope you can find that peace. I hope you allow yourself to come as you are.
If there is anything Christmas has taught me over the years, it’s the wait that is the best part.
It’s been a long wait for life to feel “normal” again… a long wait for that new job or that new baby or that new house or that new chapter that in our minds we tell ourselves, “When I reach [this new thing], then I’ll be happy.”
But the wait… that wait shapes us, it changes us, it teaches us lessons that reaching a new chapter in a blink ever could.
And maybe Christmas shows us a little glimpse of that wait too. Because to me, one of the very best parts of Christmas is the anticipation.
The kind that keeps you awake all night tossing and turning on Christmas Eve knowing good things are right around the corner… the excitement of counting down the days until you see 1 day left on the calendar.
And you just know it’s going to be the best Christmas ever. That’s the GOOD stuff. The wait is the BEST part at Christmas and in life whether we realize it or not.
Because these past two years especially, so many of us have experience a dose of loss, a dose of hurt, and a moment of living in “wait”… for wounds to heal, for peace to come, for a chance at turning a new page, even if it looks drastically different than the chapter before…
I can hardly wait to see the good things right around the corner. So while these last couple of years have been really hard, I have hope.
Tomorrow is a new day. Next year will be a good year.
We’ve had to endure the hard stuff these last two years to get to the good stuff.
This entire house is a reminder of that to me. These rooms hold so much good stuff, but none of it happened without a lot of the challenging, messy stuff.
These rooms have seen our family at our lowest.
They’ve seen us almost give up, almost throw our hands up and say, “There’s no way”.
The hard stuff made the good stuff possible.
It makes moments of gathering around the table with people I love even more fulfilling.
It makes moments of gathering around the Christmas tree with family even more worth it.
It took a lot of waiting, a lot of hard stuff, a lot of choosing to let go of the things disrupting our peace.
There will never be a perfect home, a perfect family, a perfect year, a perfect Christmas, and that’s okay.
I remember my and Robert’s very first Christmas together in our tiny apartment we could barely afford to rent, and as we sat in our small living room watching It’s a Wonderful Life beside our old secondhand Christmas tree with only half working lights and thrifted ornaments, I remember even then feeling so thankful.
(Look at this old photo I found of that first tree!)
Because it wasn’t about the “perfect” Christmas. Everything I needed in that moment was right beside me. I lose sight of that sometimes when this season rolls back around, but that moment with that first tree and that reminder about what’s really important always comes back to me.
Perfection isn’t worth our pursuit, peace is.
So I’m putting aside my Martha tendencies to be more like Mary. To choose tranquility over toil.
I have done enough because He has done everything I ever need.
Whatever this year has looked like for you, friends, I hope you are able to feel the gift of peace more than anything.
I hope you’re able to offer words of kindness to that cashier in the grocery store who really needs it today. I hope you can drop by a local community pantry to give a little extra to those who have less. I hope you can give a little bit of your heart because there’s nothing better to give than that.
There is so much good ahead so long as we have hope.
Wishing you ALL the merry this Christmas to you and yours! I am so thankful for you.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace.” – Romans 15:13
And to continue the tour, you can click over to the other bloggers below:
Merry Christmas, friends!