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Loving My Actual Christmas: An Experiment in Relishing the Season Paperback – September 5, 2017
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From the Back Cover
"This is the book you need in order to fall in love with the season again."
--Jennifer Dukes Lee, author of The Happiness Dare
Do you long for a time when you can actually slow down and enjoy the Christmas season for what you feel it should be--a delightful, meaningful time with friends and family--rather than what it is--a tornado of commitments and bills that leave you overwhelmed and exhausted?
The Christmas season is a particularly difficult time for many of us. It is a holiday that can 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 popular Loving My Actual Life, Alexandra Kuykendall shares her own personal experiment to be completely present in her life as it is during the holiday season. Reflecting on hope, love, joy, peace, and relishing the season, she shares practical advice on common Christmas stressors such as finances, schedules, and extended family. With her signature candor, Kuykendall encourages you to go easy on yourself, remember what truly matters, and find joy in your own imperfect Christmas.
"Alex Kuykendall has crafted a rescue manual that will enable you to save your sanity as you savor the Savior, focusing on the true essence of the season."--Karen Ehman, Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker; New York Times bestselling author of Keep It Shut and Listen, Love, Repeat
"I highly recommend this book. In fact, it's going to be one of the first gifts I'll be buying and sharing this holiday season!"--Tricia Goyer, USA Today bestselling author of over sixty books, including Where Treetops Glisten
Alexandra Kuykendall is the author of Loving My Actual Life and The Artist's Daughter and is the cohost of The Open Door Sisterhood podcast. A popular writer and speaker, Alexandra has been featured on Good Morning America and Focus on the Family's daily broadcast. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, Derek, and their four daughters.
About the Author
Alexandra Kuykendall is the author of Loving My Actual Life and The Artist's Daughter, and the cohost The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast. A popular writer and speaker for moms around the country, she is a regular contributor to MOPS International's blog, conference, and curriculum. Alexandra has been featured on Good Morning America and Focus on the Family's daily broadcast. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, Derek, and their four daughters.
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Top customer reviews
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Have you ever felt like the Christmas season is just another big "to-do" rather than a time to celebrate the true meaning of it? Well, you're not the only one. Alexandra Kuykendall, author of one of my favorite books last year, Loving My Actual Life penned another book on relishing the season, Loving My Actual Christmas: An Experiment in Relishing the Season. A personal memoir of how to really get back into the meaning of Christmas in her life, Loving My Actual Christmas like its predecessor allows readers to share in on this journey, and what an encouragement it is!
"This is the Christmas season. To pause from the hustle and remember." (70)
Encouragement for those that needs it, encouragement for those that seek it and encouragement for those that didn't even realize it. Day by day, with scripture and remembrance, and intention, we leave behind expectations, but relish in the message.
". . . the point of Christmas. The over and over. The message on repeat. In all circumstances. Whether we acknowledge it or not, this message of 'I love you,' this love note of a Savior wrapped in swaddling clothes - more importantly, wrapped in skin - is to be the wave over us every year. 'I love you.' And again, 'I love you.' And a year later, when we've had a heck of a go at life and things aren't looking as we thought they would or should, 'I love you' again." (91)
I also love her chapters of grace and gift giving. Awesome ideas as well as understanding. In all, Loving My Actual Christmas isn't just the author's experiment, it's an idea and an inspiration for readers to find that message in their daily life again, not just the season.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.
Level - Short, easy book
I think the best summary of this book comes from the subtitle of the intro chapter - A Recalibrating of the Season. That would be the Christmas and Advent seasons, both the secular and Christian aspects. Her goal in writing this is to help people get past the over commercialized, hectic and stressful parts of the American Christmas season. She advocates doing an Advent devotional/study to help ground you in the Christian aspect.
So much so, that the majority of the book is her going through the four weeks of advent, what she did that week in actual life and what she did as far as reading, studying, and being thankful.
She finishes up the book with a conclusion that is about half as long as the entire book, because there are so many sub parts - scheduling, finances, relationships, and logistics. This is where the book takes a turn from reflection to more practical tips.
I wasn't really a fan of this book, not because it is poorly written or has a bad message or anything of that nature. The main issue - I'm quite far from the target audience. She is one of these busy Christian women with four or five kids that is heavily involved with a number of things and is constantly stressed. I'm a father of one, and overall pretty chill guy. I don't really relate to the pressure and stress of mom bloggers with multiple active kids.
If that is you, then this will probably be a great book to help ground you for the holidays. Another thing I didn't know when I requested this book, it is a spin off of her other book - Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What's Right in Front of Me. So, to be fair to the author, had I known about this book, I would have known more about her writing and audience and likely wouldn't have requested this book. However, judging by the other reviews, had you read that book and enjoyed it, then you will also like this book.
I thought her reflections on the Advent devotional were interesting, and more importantly, it will help introduce some people to the concept of Advent. Most American Evangelical churches do not use a liturgical calendar, which can be very helpful in keeping your mind focused on Christ throughout the year. So if nothing else, if readers decide to start an advent devotion for themselves or a tradition with the whole family from reading this book, then it will have been a great success.
Finally, her concluding thoughts were very practical and useful. If you are the target audience, they are also probably pretty helpful in reminding you not to go to wild and over-schedule yourself too much, both time-wise and financially. Overall, if you fit in this category and are looking for something on the topic of handling the season, this is probably a good book for you.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.