Getting All Wrapped Up in Christmas

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Getting All Wrapped Up in Christmas

By Paula Deen

This month it’s so easy to get wrapped up in all the last minute shopping, baking and wrapping that you forget to enjoy Christmas. Then before you know it, you’re hauling the decorations back up to the attic and feeling sorry ‘bout the Christmas cards that never got sent. I’m guilty of it myself. I’m usually working out on the road until mid-December, and by that time I’m clamoring to get home to my family. Once I do, I have just about a week to prepare for Christmas. I don’t have time to get tired.

Course, I have a little help from my friends. My talented assistant, Brandon Branch, is like my own little Rudolph—he literally saves Christmas. Lucky for me, Brandon is a talented designer. For him, decorating for Christmas is like me walking in and fixing bacon and eggs for supper. It’s that easy. He does all fresh because nothing beats that smell of Christmas. Lots of times we’ll order wreaths and garland but we also use fresh cuttings from the yard. And if you don’t have a magnolia tree, go plant you one right now. Brandon puts those beautiful big glossy leaves everywhere, adding an inexpensive touch of Southern charm.

But this shopping thing is just plain work. I’ll take one day and just go out and shop all over town.  Brandon tries to get me to use the Internet, but I’m a little old fashioned—I like to pick something up and turn it over in my hands before I decide to buy it. But lately I’ve found that as my family experiences more success, it’s become harder to find something that they really need. We’re blessed with so many things that I’m starting to wonder what’s the point of buying something just for the sake of it?

Y’all, I think we need to stop biting off more than we can chew. There’s so much pressure on us to find the perfect gift, make the perfect meal and decorate just so. Even though I have a little more help than most, I feel it too. Instead of aiming for perfect, I’m fixin’ to aim a little off-center this year and settle for “good enough.” You know, paying more attention to givin’ things of substance—like fellowship and charity—rather than a scarf-and-hat set that’ll go out of fashion before the snow melts.

Yes, this Christmas I’m gonna try to slow down—if for only a day or two—and try to really appreciate the little things, like the sound of my grandson’s squeals when he discovers that Santa ate the cookies he left for him and the feeling of my husband’s hand in mine as we say grace before our Christmas supper.

As it turns out, “good enough” will probably be more than enough.

Read More From Holidays and Entertaining.

Read More From Christmas.

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Reader Comments:


I miss seeing you on TV. Im so disappointed in the network. I don't even watch it anymore. Someone please pick up this wonderful woman and lets move along from the past. Miss so much your work.

By CC Ren on December 10, 2013


Paula, I have followed you faithfully, and will continue to do so! My thoughts and prayers follow you each and everyday! I believe that God doesn't close one door without opening another! This soon will pass, I can't wait to see your comeback! I have contacted every retailer that has dropped you and while I'm just one person, I feel like I'm one of so many faithful followers! Keep your recipes coming!!! I finally got to buy one of your cookware sets! My husband and I are retired, and I have been wanting one of your sets, and finally purchased them! Thanks you for all your stories and recipes! My one bucket list is to come to Savannah and eat at your restaurant! Keep the faith!!!

By Debbie Klouse on August 13, 2013


Paula, I watch your show as often as I can and I love it. I really enjoyed your story and remarks about being together and enjoying the simple things about Christmas. Keep up the good work and I truely hope that you and your family have a very Merry and Blessed Christmas. Shirley

By Shirley O'Rear on December 22, 2011


Paula how did you lose all your weight when you are constantly around food?

By Renee Elbel on December 22, 2011


Hey Paula what is the difference between your Smithfield forest and Pit ??

By Marguerite Kingsley on December 22, 2011


At our house we sing, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JESUS!" We started that when J.J. (6) asked us, how old was Jesus, since we celebrate his birthday at Christmas. We have such little time with family and friends, we make at Christmas wish on the pumpkin pie when we blow out the candle. Then give each other birthday present for Jesus. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND BEST WISHES TO YOU AND YOURS FROM A GOOD OLD TEXAS FAMILY.

By Kathy Duncan on November 16, 2011


Paula, my kids and I are looking for something new to try this Holiday season, Roasting Chestnuts on an open fire, have you done this or do you have a receipe for this process?

By Donna Seybold on November 15, 2011


You know enough is enough for us because Jesus Christ is the reason for Christmas and family is next so we need to love our family and enjoy our time with them not worry about the gifts that probably will not matter to that person, but time with them will be greatly remember.

By Paula carter on October 04, 2011



By Rosie Herdman on December 30, 2010


You're right Paula, we're rushing around like crazy people that we tend to forget what Christmas is all about. It's a time of putting up a tree, letting the little people in your life help. All the smells, like the pine scent from the tree you have just brought in and put up, the smell of the turkey cooking. Hugs from all those around you who care for you and the fun of watching someone open their gift. But the most important thing is just slowing down and taking the time to enjoy all the things that the holiday means.

By Don on December 30, 2010


Maybe I shouldn't ask but I love the shirts you wear on your shows. Where do get them? I love the length. I watch your show every day. I drive a school bus and my morning route gets me home just in time. Your recipes are eaay for me and delicious. Thank you.

By Liz Lambeth on December 27, 2010


Hey there Paula! I doubt that you will have time to read this but have wanted to tell you that you have helped me through some rough times. My only dream is to find a way to go to Georgia and eat at your restaurant along with meeting you in person. I would love to cook with you, as I am a "cook from scratch" gal myself. I'm a few years older than you but you remind me so much of my Mother and her love of butter. She used to say if it calls for 1/2 stick of butter, just add the whole stick. I was forced to retire in 2006 due to a bout of Salmonella food poisoning, that put me in a coma for 6 weeks. I had to learn to think, walk, talk and function again once i woke up. The doctors told my two boys to pull my life insurance because I couldn't live through it. Well the good lord wasn't ready for me yet and I'm glad that I am able to function pretty normally now. I had a stroke and a heart attack while I was under and I died several times. Anyway, I am lovingly called "the soup lady" at the senior apartments where I live so I refer to your recipes on a weekly basis. I, like you, had to raise two boys alone and had to find out just how strong I could be. I even sold my wedding rings to feed us one time. They meant nothing to me. I hope you get this because I want to thank you for bringing other recipes to add to my family heirloom ones. I cook by instinct more than a recipe and I bet you do to. Love You girl. Edwina Collins

By EdwinaC on December 21, 2010


Paula, You must get more than enough email telling you how much they LOVE,LOVE, LOVE you and your show, or how they are your BIGGEST fan and how they are hooked on your ideas and cannot go thru a day without hearing you say.."Y'all" I won't bore you with more of the same clammer. I guess what I want to say to you and yours is "Holidays Best from Dunbar Lake to you!!!". Phyllis (QB) and hubby, Woodeye!!!!!!!!!!!! And, oh by the way, the only reason I watch you every day is because my Calico cat, Patches (real original, eh!)INSISTS on it!!!!

By Phyllis Thomton on December 20, 2010


I loved what you said about'buying things just for the sake of it. I have gotten into more homemade food things the last few years. I am 56 yrs. old and some of my family is older and theres not really anything we need. I have learned alot about 'wants and needs.' When I give a gift I want it to be something that person will really like, something that can be well thought about. Thank you so much for the Christmas letter on your email and way of simply saying things for Southern girls like you and me. Sincerely, Jayne

By Jayne Harbour on December 17, 2010


Paula Deen, you are absolutely charming I do enjoy you.

By sharon dickeson on December 17, 2010


You are so right, Paula. Each year you try not to do too much, buy too much, eat too much but it happens. This year my Mom is here and she's been cooking every day. I'm so thankful for her. I also took time off this year, 2 weeks to spend time with my 8 grandchildren and their parents and my youngest daughter and of course, Mom. I'm so thankful for all of them. Thanks for the reminder and the great recipes. Merry Christmas and God Bless you and your beautiful family.

By Debra Meggs on December 16, 2010


DearPaula, You are so very right, this article really struck a cord with me! I am a pre school aide working 5 days a week , mother of 25yr. old,(Christmas day)24yr.old, and a 14yr.old.My husband & I have always been putting too much stress on the holidays. I want to share my AHHAAAAAAAA (wake up moment) with you. Last night my 14yr.old's 8th grade class performed a musical pagent in our church. He attends the same parish school that I work at & this is his last year. He was honored to be chosen for the role of Joseph & had to sing to & carry a real infant. He also had lines that required him to speak to God. I really thought he was talking directly to God! It was the most beautiful pagent & the perfect way to celebrate Christmas ! His entire class put on a stellar performance that brought tears & tingles up your spine. I have not a gift bought, a tree trimmed,nor lights up. I do have an amazing feeling of warmth,love & peace after watching what the season is really about. Just had to share& I thought you might enjoy as I have received great joy from you, your family,and yourcharm & grace! God Bless you & yours this Season! Dianne Foore

By Dianne Foore on December 15, 2010


Paula, I am also blessd with a great son. My only child. He knows how much I love you and your show and he took me to Savannah on one of your tours and we had the best time! My son is the best and would do any thing for me and his dad.He gave me the best trip and I truly loved spending it with him. We went to Uncle Bubba's for lunch and The Lady and Sons for supper. We were so stuffed when we left,Ha!. All of it was so good and all the people we met at both resturants were so friendly, You'll never know how much we enjoyed ourselves. I almost met youn once at Happy Bookseller in Columbia but could not get a ticket to have you sign my book anyway I yelled at you on my way out after I bought your book and said I love you Paula and all yourbooks and you said I love you to darling! That made my day. Thank you for being such a friendly person and making everyone feel like you are their best friend. Hope to meet you one day and have your sons on always, they are great! Sincerely, Shirley Cassidy

By Shirley Cassidy on December 15, 2010


Waking up early and enjoying the PEACE in my home. Drinking my coffee and enjoying my lit up Christmas tree.

By Carolyn Wemmert on December 15, 2010


Waking up early, and enjoying the Peace in my home. Just my coffee and the lit up Christmas tree!

By Anonymous on December 15, 2010

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