We all know the Holiday season can be stressful and exhausting! Approximately 6 weeks of non-stop advertising and extra to-do’s added to the calendar. This year the media added the stress of not “getting what you want” and running out of supplies due to the backup of cargo ships . Plus we are still feeling the lingering effects of the pandemic. We can get caught in the trap of consumerism so easily but building memories and caring for people is more important than things. I believe we really need to re-evaluate what is truly important. Everyday we have choices and can control the chaos this Thanksgiving and Christmas.
What are the most important traditions for you and your family? Put those at the top of the list! Carefully consider other events before saying yes to others. Don’t try to do it all or you won’t enjoy anything yourself. If Mommy (or Daddy) isn’t happy then nobody is happy!
Have limits and lower expectations that everything will be Hallmark perfect. If you have small children and especially if you have children with special needs, you may have to say no to too many extra activities. Don’t feel guilty. No time to bake? Buy cookies. Limit the visiting hours and try to maintain a regular bedtime. One year we just couldn’t get our family Christmas letter done and didn’t send any cards. Nobody died because of it (but I did get a reprimand from an elderly friend).
If this is a particularly stressful or financially tight year for you then only decorate the Tree, the mantle or table and the front door. The tree represents – eternal life and Jesus the Light of the world. The mantle or table decoration is right in view for you while the front door is what others see and where you enter and exit everyday.
Plan and limit your shopping. It is too stressful to push through the crowds of people to “find the perfect gift”. I have been so happy with online shopping but watch your spending and set limits there too. Getting into debt over gifts does not leave a satisfying feeling afterwards.
Stop and take a deep breath – seriously. Breathing helps clear our minds, calms our racing thoughts and lowers blood pressure.
Make sleep a PRIORITY – Take cat naps if necessary – I am finding a great benefit to it. Have a coffee or tea and take a 5 minute power nap – it really will refresh you!
I love the idea of “no politics” at the table. Sharing funny stories or remembrances is a much better way to enjoy and connect even with difficult relatives. Take a walk, play a board game or watch a classic movie together instead.
Take advantage of FREE things. Driving around the neighborhood to view different lights and displays is fun! Enjoy a local holiday parade (or Macy’s on TV). Play music: slow to relax or fast to pump you up to finish a task. Music is the international language that speaks to the soul and that’s why everyone loves Christmas music!
Most important DO NOT neglect your time with God! Read a Christmas devotional or one Chapter of Luke each day for the month. Read the real story of Thanksgiving. Learning about their first winter and harvest meal will make you grateful! Christmas is about celebrating Jesus’ birthday and the reason He came. Ask God to help you count blessings and not focus on difficulties. He will fill your heart with peace, wonder and the joy of the season.
God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen
God rest you merry, gentlemen, Let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from Satan’s power, when we have gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy – O tidings of comfort and joy!!!