Book Review: Loving My Actual Christmas by Alexandra Kuykendall

"It is here, in the middle of my actual circumstances and holiday, where I look for a new way to do Christmas" (17)

Title:  Loving My Actual Life:  An Experiment in Relishing the Season
Author: Alexandra Kuykendall
Publisher:  Baker Books
Release Date:  September 5, 2017
Genre: Non-Fiction / Christian Living

"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.

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.

For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.



Alexandra Kuykendall is on staff at MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers) where she encourages mothers of young children to keep growing as they take on their new mothering identity.  She is a regular contributor and consulting editor to MomSense magazine, Connections magazine, and the MOPS blog. A frequent speaker for MOPS, Alexandra has been featured on Good Morning America. As the mother of four young children, she continues to refine her mothering identity. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, Derek, and their daughters.

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