I'm not ready and it's okay

So, it’s already December 12th. Christmas is less than two weeks away, and I haven’t decorated the tree or the house, or wrapped any presents. I haven’t figured out what we’re having for Christmas eve, or Christmas brunch with my parents, or Christmas dinner. It’s unusual for me to be this far into December without having made any tangible progress toward a merry Christmas. It’s even more unusual for me not to be all stressed out about my lack of progress.

But honestly, I think it’ll be all right.

Because I’m getting such a late start, I’ve decided to go small this year. Small and simple. I’m not going to decorate the whole house, just the tree. I’m not going to give a million gifts, just a few very thoughtful ones. I’m going to worry less about the ingredients of my big, glorious feast, and more about the people I sit down to celebrate with.

And I think it’ll be all right.

What I’m suggesting isn’t new or revolutionary. Everyone knows this. It’s not about the gifts and the decorations and the food (well, maybe it’s a little about the food). What matters is who we gather around us, how we love, how we’re loved. Brene Brown wrote a great post about going small for Christmas. In it she says:

When our lives become pageants, we become actors. When we become actors, we sacrifice authenticity. Without authenticity, we can’t cultivate love and connection. Without love and connection, we have nothing.

Yep. I believe that. I’m banking on it. I’m going small and meaningful this year, and I think it’ll be all right.


In other news…

I’m making 1-word note cards for the shop. I know I’m biased, but I love them.  They’ll be up for sale within the next week. I’ll let you know on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram when they’re available. (So make sure we’re friends!)



Also, I once wrote an essay for Wild Sister Magazine’s Dream issue. It was called “Making Dreams Come True, a 10-step guide,” and I wrote it as much for me as for anyone who might read it. That essay was selected for inclusion in their new book, WILD AND PRECIOUS. Here’s #10 in my guide…

Believe that every step you take brings you closer to the dream. Believe that your desire, your vision, your forward motion (however fraught) qualifies you for the dream you’re seeking. Believe that the only validation you need is your own, and no one – no matter how much they love you – can tell you what’s best for you or what dreams you should pursue. Only you know what makes your insides hum, what quickens your pulse and grounds you at the same time, what makes you ache and swoon and shimmer with possibility. And that feeling, the excitement in your suddenly achy, swoony, shimmery core? That’s truth. Your truth.

No one gets to argue that.

This book is PACKED with love, wisdom, and inspiration. I’m honored to be part of it. I hope you’ll check it out.


One more update (and this one’s extra awesome): We’ve earned $2500 for metastatic breast cancer research so far. I’m happily stunned and so grateful to all the people who have purchased art for the cause. If you’ve been waiting, this is just a gentle reminder that the limited edition “Find Beauty” prints and note cards will only be available through December.


This is my last post of 2014. It’s been, for me, an evolutionary, roller coaster of a year that I’m hugely grateful for. I hope whatever you celebrate is happy, and I’ll see you in January!


p.s. I drew you a picture!

Merry Everything


  1. Lucy Pollard-Gott on December 12, 2014 at 5:55 am

    Big or small, I wish you a Christmas that warms your colorful, giving heart–as you’ve warmed ours this year–and wrinkles your eyes with happiness. 🙂 <3

    • Lucy Pollard-Gott on December 12, 2014 at 6:01 am

      Hahaha, I meant: crinkles your eyes! ^_^

      • j on December 12, 2014 at 11:54 am

        Thank you so much for the Christmas wishes; I wish the same for you, wrinkles, crinkles and all! xo

      • elizabeth marie on December 12, 2014 at 11:59 am

        Lucy, I just burst out laughing at crinkles vs. wrinkles. thank you for that!

  2. elizabeth marie on December 12, 2014 at 11:58 am

    I love the lava-resistant socks. When my younger brother and I shared a room when we were 4 and 6, the floor between our beds sometimes turned into lava. Those socks would have come in handy. I simplified Christmas for myself about 20 years (grief-based simplifying, unfortunately). Oddly enough, I still stress a bit. I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas, dear Judy.

    • j on December 12, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      Probably the socks would have taken all the fun out of it, Elizabeth!

      I’ve been slowly simplifying too. The last couple of years almost all the gifts were handmade, but, of course, that’s a lot of work and often times every bit as stressful as shopping. This will the be the first year, I’ve not bothered with anything but the tree. But even just typing that lifts a weight from my shoulders.

  3. leah77 on December 12, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    You are amazing, Judy! Look at all that you’ve done! I really am in awe of you and your ability to get things done magnificently!! You are so ready to blast off to the moon with your gorgeous artwork. I absolutely adore your plunky self-portrait. <3 Merry Christmas my dear friend. Wishing that all your precious dreams come true.
    Love and jingle bells!

    • j on December 12, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      Leah, I freakin’ adore you. And I’m glad you like my plunky self-portrait, because there may or not be a plunky Leah-portrait in your future, superhero. xox

      • leah77 on December 13, 2014 at 11:25 am

        Oh my goodness!!! I’m getting giggly just thinking about it! <3

  4. Nancy on December 12, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    J, you are just too adorable! I love the self-picture. I’m really adding this year, because I’ve invited some people over to my house for two nights in a row next weekend. Wow. This means I’m actually putting up a few lights, but more importantly cooking for these folks as a way of showing my love and gratitude for them. I think this will be more meaningful than anything else I can do (one group is from work, and another from yoga).

    I’m all for anything that gives meaning and love to connections, whatever that includes. I’m hoping my connections this year will ease the pang of not having Mama for Christmas this year.

    I love the one word cards! I’m putting my order in for “Focus!”

    Love you to the moon and back!


  5. Nancy on December 12, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    While I’m at it, maybe I need a card that says….”Proofread!” Hehe.

  6. j on December 12, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Adorable is good! : )

    I think you’re doing exactly the right thing for your first Christmas without Mama, right down to the cooking for people you love. And decorating your beautiful little space will, I think, make you feel the spirit of the season every time you come home.

    “Focus” made me laugh. That seems like it might have a niche audience (all my ADHD friends). Love you back, my friend. xoxo

  7. spirallady on December 12, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Small is good. Simple is good. You are great. And so are your lava socks.

    • j on December 12, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      And THIS is the last thing I’m reading before I go to bed. (Thank you!)

  8. Nina Badzin on December 14, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    That is an awesome Christmas card! And just ordered some more of my favorite Thank you notes from your store so THANK YOU! (and congrats on that essay!)

    • j on December 15, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      Thank you, Nina!

  9. Alarna Rose Gray on December 14, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Judy, Christmas is less than two weeks away… and I haven’t decorated, bought presents, sent cards, decided what I’m doing for Christmas, or anything! I suspect there are more of us out there than would ever admit it, so not to worry. It’s really just another day, and it will be over soon (that’s how I’m looking at it, this year). I love your approach to goal setting, as I’m usually all about what I haven’t done, which is not a great motivational tool. In fact, this year has been huge and next year I’m looking forward to a totally new approach to work, home, writing and everything. That’s the stuff that truly matters. Cheers to you and all the wild and precious things – particularly, your published essay 🙂

    • j on December 15, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      This year felt huge to me too, in so many ways. It’s like my soul got reordered somehow. I’m looking forward to the second half of this month – patting myself on the back before I start dreaming big about next year. Cheers back to you. I’m thinking good thoughts for you and your whole new way. I have a good feeling about it. xo

  10. Tara Murphy on December 15, 2014 at 9:01 am

    I’ m glad I’m only one that just kind of got into the Christmas spirit ,
    now I’m decorating and putting the regular stuff away and wanting to make my cozy home even cozier and Christmasy. I’m not going to stres, gifts are getting bought, baking is being done & I enjoy all the prep &, baking & giving. I will make a nice dinner on Christmas Eve for my daughters and my sister and then Christmas Day we will be with my whole family and Sunday we start to bake and bake and bake and cook and bring food to friends & family, less monetary gifts, more gifts that were made with love.. and yes I agree it’s all about who surrounds your table ,who is around your Christmas tree and not what’s under it ..I love reading your posts , they are always so funny and witty and get right to the heart . I wish you and your family the happiest of Christmases and hope you have a wonderful New Year !! I am looking forward to see what you come up with next year! :)))

    • j on December 17, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      Oops, Tara. Not sure what happened to my reply from last night. Probably I hit delete instead of post, or some such sleepy nonsense. Thank you for noting my funny. I decide how smart everyone is by whether or not they get my jokes. (I don’t even entertain the thought that my jokes might not be funny, and that’s why my audience isn’t laughing.) 🙂

      Your Christmas plan sounds truly wonderful. My friend has a day of baking with her sister, nieces and mother. I always feel a little envious of all that familial girl power in one room. (I’d probably pick a different room than the kitchen, but that’s just me.) Alas, I come from boys, then grew up and had boys, so there aren’t multiple generations of girls to do anything together.

      I’m rambling. Pretty sure last night’s response was more concise. What I’m trying to say is merry everything to you, Tara, and wishing you a super sparkly 2015. xo

  11. Karin on December 16, 2014 at 6:23 am

    Wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas xo

    • j on December 17, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      You too, Karin! xoxo

  12. Annie Neugebauer (@AnnieNeugebauer) on December 22, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    This sounds like a very lovely, very special Christmas. I hope it’s wonderful. And congrats on Wild and Precious; that looks awesome!

    • j on December 22, 2014 at 6:53 pm

      Thank you, Annie! Today I made homemade wrapping paper with a friend. It was such fun. Think I may make it an annual tradition. Feels way better than running to the store for gift wrap and last minute gifts. Merry everything to you too, my friend. xo

  13. Chris Edgar on December 24, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    I like the reference you made to how Christmas (or any other holiday) can become an exercise in blind adherence to tradition (and perhaps burnishing the facade of perfection) as opposed to giving people an opportunity to get together and communicate genuinely. If I were designing a holiday, I would remove all gifts, alcohol and themed songs from it and instead have people sit down in a circle, pass around a rock or some other kind of object that designates whose turn it is, and have them tell the truth about what’s going on for them. Or maybe something similar that wasn’t so structured.

    • j on January 4, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      Chris, I’m so sorry for the delayed response. For some reason, gmail has decided that comment notifications from my own blog are spam, and no matter how many times I click the “Not Spam” button, I can’t get it to deliver them. GRRRR!

      But I digress… I love your idea, though my version might include some red wine. ; ) I love this phrase “have them tell the truth about what’s going on for them.” I doubt very many people’s Christmases are even remotely close to that. It’s mostly families trying to get along, and the one thing virtually no one’s doing (or no one over age 5) is being real and honest about their hearts. Maybe I could have a holiday like this for summer solstice… Hmmmm…

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