This was one of my favorite posts from last December (one of the hardest months of my life). On Saturday I was part of a Spiritual Direction Advent group and the leader cautioned us about seeking too quickly for meaning. We Westerners do like information and meaning, don’t we :). It was a timely and gentle reminder the tug culture has on us all. The tug isn’t the problem, it’s the complete buying into and and not differentiating between tugs. I’ve added a few comments below just for fun.


I hit a small wall last week with the amount of tips out there on how to be more productive. With the new year around the corner, I fear we’re only just beginning the goal setting, productivity tips, YOU CAN DO AND BE MORE, phase our liturgical productivity calendar. 

Who says productivity is all it’s cracked up to be? I’m a disciplined person and like lists, don’t get me wrong. But enough, ok, enough!

Has the paradox of Christmas taught us nothing? I have a feeling how we view productivity is not how God does.

10 ways

Here are 10 ways to be unproductive in the traditional sense:

1. Sit in the dark and look at Christmas lights. Better yet, lay on the floor and look up at them.

2. Eat a cookie or some other holiday treat guilt free.

3. Look at the world through the eyes of a three-year-old. Can you imagine how much more fun we’d have if we got excited about the little things of life? Family coming?! SO EXCITING. Hot chocolate? Is there anything more delicious to drink?

4. Read a children’s Christmas book, complete with voices. Fun with a child, true. But children are not required for this to be unproductively productive. I wrote about nine children’s books I love. Last Thursday I was with a small group of visiting scholars from China hanging out at a Wendy’s and I read Wombat Divine by Mem Fox to them. It was a blast!

5. Light a candle and watch the flame flicker. Let your mind and soul rest.

6. Conjure up a happy childhood Christmas memory. Sit and enjoy it. Maybe share it with someone.

7. Ask an elderly relative about Christmas when they were a kid.

8. Read Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory or Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. This year my in-person book club decided to read short stories for December and we chose four from this list and recommend them all.

9. Sing Christmas carols out loud.

10. Recall getting one of your Christmas trees and call to reminisce with someone who was there.


Which of these will you do today? Anyone else a little gagged at productivity talk?

photo credit:  Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton



Leave A Comment

  1. Mike December 9, 2014 at 6:33 am - Reply

    These are all great, Amy! And I’ve already done a bunch of them! :-) Oh, and I still like “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” Reading it every year at Christmas has been one of our family traditions for years, and it’s now one of Alana’s family traditions. :-)

  2. Tina December 9, 2014 at 8:50 am - Reply

    Everyday since I put my tree up I sit with my morning coffee and enjoy it. Reflecting on the day and season ahead. I love Christmas and it is different now that my girls are adults. I am enjoying the challenge of navigating the holidays with grown children who are married and starting families and traditions of their own without losing the traditions we have built over the years.

  3. Katina Vaselopulos December 9, 2014 at 9:02 am - Reply

    Hi Amy,

    Your posts are always wonderful!
    I appreciate this one as I also think of “being” as better than “doing.”
    If we are present at quiet doing, all the much better.

    Wishing you wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year filled with peace and possibilities!

    Light and love,


  4. Melinda Pugh December 9, 2014 at 10:16 am - Reply

    Great job Amy! A really good reminder!

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