On the evening of December 25, after a day full of relatives and festivities, my family sat down to watch the classic 1983 film A Christmas Story. It was a cozy scene — cheese and crackers on the side table, candles burning on the mantel, humans cuddled under blankets with cats sitting on our laps.
Within about twenty minutes, I was fast asleep.
This may have had something to do with the fact that I’ve watched A Christmas Story several times before, or that my belly was full, or that the cats helped us all to feel warm and snuggly. But the truth is that I was completely exhausted. I had seen the wee hours of the morning too many times over the previous few weeks as I had attempted to squeeze holiday traditions into a schedule already bursting with unplanned extras — and it was time for me to crash.
There are times in all of our lives when we are in a state of overflow, and that’s okay — but we don’t want to linger there. I know from experience that I am significantly happier, healthier, and friendlier when I create enough space in our home for rest. Heck, I can even stay awake for the duration of a movie.
This desire for rhythms of work and rest inspired the creation of Martin and Sylvia: Day of Rest. Through these stories, we have the gift of observing Martin and Sylvia’s family as they work through the process of setting apart one day each week to rest as a family. Over the year, they experience moments of sweet joy — and moments of grating frustration. But through it all, they learn to appreciate a rhythm of work and rest, creating ways to honor that weekly pause in the midst of their full lives.
Although we start off by merely listening to Martin and Sylvia’s experience, we don’t have to stop there. Consider this whole series to be an invitation for you and your family to test out patterns of rest for your own lives. To aid you on your way, we’ve made a few notes and recommendations to accompany each month’s story — you can find them linked below.
We hope you enjoy your journey as much as we have. Here’s to a new year with more joy, more connection, and more rest for all of our families!
Follow along with Martin and Sylvia this year with the downloadable journal to create a Day of Rest ritual with your family.
January Think through some of the most fundamental questions of a day of rest. When should it take place? What shall we do or not do?
February It’s time for your first round of tweaking. What’s going well? What isn’t?
March What is work, exactly? When is something work, and when is it rest?
April Even on a day of rest, disappointments happen — but a little training in self-awareness and the five stages of grief can help.
May What do you do when a family can’t agree on plans? Cultivating a spirit of giving and service smooths over rough patches.
June Everyone needs this important lesson at times, and Sylvia says it best: “Simplify, not complify!”
July What can we learn from other traditions that honor a day of rest?
August Sharing rest with others can multiply enjoyment and satisfaction.
September When the calendar starts to fill up, we can protect our day of rest with a little creative thinking and planning.
October How can we lean into magic and mystery in our days of rest?
November When we practice gratitude, we can enjoy the gifts of the present even more.
December Even young children can guide our rituals once they have the right tools.
About the Author
Ann is a writer, editor, homeschooling mother, voracious reader, full-fat baker, and musician. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two daughters and chronicles the journey at Boyds’ Nest News.