Thanksgiving and Christmas come every year, at the exact same time as the previous year. They are never a surprise, and yet somehow I’m always completely taken aback by their nearness.
November 1 rolls around, and people start proclaiming 7 MONDAYS TIL CHRISTMAS! And I’m all, “What?! How?! It can’t be! I’M NOT READY!”
Maybe you can relate.
If the holidays seem to be sneaking up on you year after year, here are a few tips to help you (and me) prepare so that we can actually enjoy this precious season, rather than merely survive it.
5 Tips for Enjoying the Holidays
1.) Make time for quiet every day
Perhaps one of the most stressful aspects of the holiday season is the absolute chaos that seems to trail behind it. There are parties to attend, gifts to purchase, cookies to bake, presents to wrap, trees to decorate, and memories to make. It’s all beautifully, and terribly overwhelming all rolled up together.
Setting aside time each day to simply be still and quiet keeps much of this stress at bay. Wake up early and sit by the tree with your coffee, enjoying the serenity of the twinkling lights completely alone.
Take time at night after the kids go to bed to turn off the TV, snuggle up on the couch, and read a good book.
Setting aside time for quiet recharges even the most extroverted of souls, so build it into your days purposefully this holiday season.
2.) Make a plan, and do it early
I am notorious for doing this last minute. I thrive on spontaneity…until the holidays when I suddenly wish I would have started planning months in advance.
Write down everything you’d like to accomplish and participate in this Christmas, then look at it realistically and determine what you can manage, and what needs to be delegated.
As moms, we tend to dig in our heels and do ALL THE THINGS! Because let’s face it: We know what needs to be done, and sometimes it’s just easier to do it ourselves.
But what if we gave some of that responsibility away? What if we gave our husbands the shopping lists, and actually trusted them to do a good job with it?
What if we let the older kids help with the cookie making? Will some of the cookies get burned? Maybe. Will memories be created and stored away for life? Most definitely.
A lifetime of memories is worth a few burned cookies; would you agree?
Look at your to-do list and figure out what you can give to others in your family, then do it! Share the burden, and the fun, and make some special memories as a family!
We sing Joy to the World without joy in our hearts.
Dear moms, don’t let the hectic days of Christmas steal your joy! Press into the joy this holiday season, and realize that more than a perfectly decorated home, and an endless line of activity, your kids want you. Be the joy for them and with them.
4.) Sing it loud for all to hear
Take a tip from Buddy the Elf and sing. Harmonize your love for the holidays with the kids. Your younger ones will be delighted as you dance around the Christmas tree, and they will join you.
You older kids will feign horror at your raucous display of holiday cheer, but I’d be willing to bet that deep down inside, they love it, too. You may even get those surly teens to join you.
5.) Remember the gift
There is no more treasured gift than that of family. With all the challenges and heartaches that come with living together in close quarters, there also comes great joy. Celebrate the joys this Christmas, and choose to let go of the hardships.
Remember the gift of family, and dive into it. Everything else can fade into the periphery.