About the Author

Mary is a writer and speaker who lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons – but lives because of God’s grace. She writes about giving up on perfect and finding truth in unexpected places at MaryCarver.com. Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.

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Reader Interactions


  1. I needed to read this today, Mary. Thanks for help in thinking through this process of living in the moment with all its wonderful happenings. When I try to straddle two (or even three!) holidays all at once, my cheap bid for transcending time — something only God can do! — just turns me into a stress mess. And furthermore, nothing gets properly observed, much less celebrated.
    I’m loving fall right now — everything harvest!
    When November rolls around this week, I’m going to give thanks with all my heart, and put off the celebration of Christmas until after the pie is gone and the turkey carcass is turning into soup on my back burner.

  2. Mary,
    I received an ad in my email….”Pre-Black Friday Sale”. I immediately deleted it thinking, are you kidding me? It’s still October!! The world would love nothing more than to whip us into a frenzy starting sooner and sooner each year. I am continuing to fight against what the world says by simplifying little by little. My decorating is much less than it used to be. My cooking is scaled down. No one in our house will die if I don’t make cookies. Before you think I sound like Scrooge….I DO, however, make Advent a priority as I anticipate the coming of Jesus – the “Who” you focused on in your post. I read Ann Voskamp’s “The Greatest Gift” and I hang my ornaments on my Jesse tree starting at the beginning of Advent. I try to stay focused on the “Coming” instead of the one day Christmas deadline that I cross like a finish line, exhausted, and collapse to the ground. Like Michele, I try to take one season at a time….one day at a time. Refusing to let Black Friday sales crash my Fall and Thanksgiving celebrations. Keep your eyes on the “Who”…..you nailed it, Mary!
    Bev xx

  3. Mary,

    You nailed this post! The world wants us to rush around all crazy like & stressed-actually this is of the devil. I just take one season at a time. One holiday at a time. Our church had trunk or treat last night. We had about 20 or so kids dressed up & gave out candy. We also had some food to snack on. Today I shall relax & ready myself for church. My next thing is to get with my in-laws about Thanksgiving. What I will make/bring & what they can do. In between I will take one day at a time relishing the blessings of God.

    Holidays don’t mean that much to me anymore. My parents are gone. We only have his parents & nephews. My sisters all live out of state. I just try to focus my attention on the meaning of the holiday/season & celebrate the best I can.

    Blessings 🙂

    • Currently counting my blessings like Jennifer Schmidt mentioned yesterday. This helps put the holidays into perspective.

      Blessings 🙂

  4. Thank you Mary. I needed this. Holidays are always so stressful. Family issues, money issues, last year I left home for one of them, skipping it all together. My search for a way through them heightens just about now as I always ask God to keep things on His level and not mine.

  5. Mary,
    Thank-you for writing this. I can clearly remember the call on Christmas three years ago when my Dad passed away. Just days before he would tell me,”Remember the time when…,” not, “I remember the shirt, etc. that you bought.” I agree, scaling back let’s us focus on what Christmas was meant to be, and create special memories.
    Have a blessed day all,

  6. Thanksgiving and Christmas have been hard for me. Now and then I have and invite out for Thanksgiving which is nice to spend some time with others and to have a Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings, but like most other Holidays, I am alone. The first, probably years were the first, being totally alone, not having anywhere to go. I would rent a bunch of movies on the day, itself, and mostly watch them all day long. I’m not really into movies, but it did help to get me through. My children would call and that was the end of my Holiday celebration. I would treat all Holidays as if they were like any other day. I would learn at a much later time that my ex came between my mother, brothers and I with twisted stories and lies. The things I learned they were saying and doing was so very painful. I couldn’t believe that my mom would turn against her only daughter and spread the horrible trash my ex was telling her and my brothers. She had my ex to her house for dinner, even getting together for Christmas. I have never felt such pain inside before, it about did me in. But Praise be to God, He is healing the hurts of that time. I can’t say the pain is all gone, but I do know it is not as ouchy as before. Daily, I must forgive them for all the hurt and pain and sorrow my own mother and brothers caused me. Now, Thanksgiving is what I want to be doing all day……..I concentrate on the wonderful things God has done and is doing. I am grateful for Him as I learn I am not alone, He loves me and I matter to God. Christmas Day is not so bad ass my children and I do get together at some point over the Holiday. On Christmas Day, I am free from all the hustle and bustle and can focus on God and His wonderful gift of His Son, Jesus, our Messiah, our Savior and our King.

    • Dawn, I’m so sorry to hear that your holidays and relationships have been so painful. I can’t imagine what you’ve gone through, and I’m so grateful that God has walked with you through everything and is healing all of those hurts. I pray you have a blessed holiday season this year, no matter what the actual days and gatherings look like.

  7. Mary, I have always watched from a sideline the busy-ness of the holidays. One of my businesses is a fitness biz and I watch my clients year after year fall off of exercising, gain weight, become MORE stressed and can barely move with that fake smile of the holidays were wonderful. (ha!) This is just an example of how we humans live life. There is so much greatness, bigger, waiting for us in God’s hands.
    We are not here to conquer EVERYTHING in one day or one holiday season. I feel we miss the true meaning of holidays, and most importantly the true meaning of Life!