In spite of empty platitudes and trite sayings, we get — philosophically speaking — to the bottom of Christmas, after all. How does all the work of making Christmas happen correspond to our search for scholé? Can we simplify Christmas? Should we? And what has that to do with our faith? We talk about all this and more in today’s episode.

Is your house like Narnia under Jadis? Always winter and never Christmas? Give your Christmas spirit a philosophical boost with a good dose of Chesterton!

Thank you to our sponsor:

This episode is sponsored by The Art of Homeschooling. It’s the truth: The perfect plan will never be perfectly executed. Homeschool days will go horribly wrong. Our energy will fizzle out and our attention will wane. Our kids dawdle, complain, and bicker. It happens. To work our plan isn’t to fix ourselves, our home, or our children so that such things never happen. No, to work our plan is to have strategies for handling life even when it goes off the rails, because that’s actually when important lessons are learned by all. Visit Simplified Organization to download the free motivation prep sheet that will help you discipline & organize your homeschool morning attitude, even when it’s been two hours since your last cup of coffee.


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Show Notes:



  • Nitty Gritty Homeschool Question: Do you do anything to keep up your children’s skills during Christmas break?


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28 Responses

  • Loved this episode! It’s helped this semi grouchy mama with a cold realize that I’m doing the right thing by just making the Christmas things happen. (The countdown calendar, the wrapping of the books, and the pulling out of Christmas decorations. Tonight we visited “Bethelemham” and while crowded and annoying for this introvert it made the Bible more real for the munchkins and that makes it worth it.

  • Yes!!! How hard it is to get the Christmas out of Thanksgiving and Advent, a time of preparation, and to wait for the coming of Christ to put up the tree and keep it up until Epiphany. Jesse trees are great, but I have so many devotionals on it, we have a hard time choosing one to do per year. Last year we set up the tree but only put on lights then the daily Jesse ornament. I enlisted the college returnees to help decorate on Christmas Eve; it was awesome! And, yes, Advent is a “little Lent” but we sort of lost all these magnificent traditions along the way. With my older kids, we took Advent off regular school and did all Advent stuff – Tomie da Paola books, puppet shows to go with Strega Nona, etc. So glad I happened upon this podcast while lesson planning – okay, I’m internet shopping and getting the plans soon! 😉

  • Loved this one! Thanks ladies! I’m in the first timester and so Christmas is feeling a little overwhelming, this was just the motivation I needed to go for it as much as I am able:-) No waiting until I feel like it!

  • I hope it’s ok if I ask this. Pam mentions that she is Catholic. Mystic and Brandy, to what churches do you belong? I just ask out of curiosity. I can tell that you follow different traditions, yet you all agree on and emphasize Christ. I love that! Thank you for that example, and thank you for this podcast. You ladies have helped me think through lots of issues. ?

    • Sure, it’s fine! I will let Mystie answer for herself because I’m sure to describe it incorrectly. The church I belong to is technically nondenominational — it isn’t governed by a larger body. But it is confessional — its members must ascribe to either The London Baptist Confession or the Westminster Confession. It’s a good fit for our family because I’m more of a Westminster person myself, but my husband is definitely London. 🙂

      We will have to have Jennifer Dow on sometime and then we can have all three major branches of Christianity represented, since she’s Orthodox. 😉

    • I am just English and Ashkenazi, and that REEEAAAAALLLLY far back. Really, I’m just Californian, meaning I’m not much at all. 😉 I married a German to get an upgrade in my genetics. 😉

      But you are my friend. That is closer to Dutch than I used to be!! 😀

      What this has to do with religion is beyond me…

  • This is the first time I’ve actually listened to one of these podcasts, even though I’ve know about them (and known Brandy). I feel like you all were inside my head, in a good way. Like you were expressing my own thoughts and ideas… and making them better. Thank you!

    Thanks for mentioning Vodolazkin. I hadn’t heard of him. I just downloaded Laurus now, though, and I’ll be reading it with (after?) you.

    Kristen Lavransdatter is up there in my list of favourites.

    G. K. Chesterston loving Christmas more as he got older: yes! That’s how I feel, too. Thank you for those quotes.

    I guess I won’t comment on every little thing that stood out to me. I’ll just say thank you again.

    • Phyllis! I would really like to hear your thoughts on Laurus once you’ve finished it. I don’t want to ruin it by talking to you about it now, but it was tragic in its own way (though not in-your-face like Island of the World) and during my pastor’s Christmas sermon, I think I put my finger on why…

  • I loved this and plan to listen again. I have been wondering about how to learn more about the historical concept of the twelve days of Christmas. We are in a reformed Church, but they do not really talk about the church calendar and I definitely did not grow up in that kind of church. Any recommendations?

    • That is me! I bought a pretty stuffed angel and she comes on saint’s feast days during Advent. She always brings a treat — like an ingredient to make cookies — or an idea for something fun to do to celebrate. She doesn’t have to come every day, but she makes feast days special.

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