Bringing the Joy Back to Holidays
During the holidays we often see the “to do’s” and the obligations. Our lives are not focused what the holidays were supposed to be about; family, Christ, and service. Instead of the good feelings that natural stem from focusing on these priorities our lives become full of stress, until we are overwhelmed. This year I have decided I’m breaking this pattern of miserable holidays running around like a turkey with my head cut off.
Before you can take action you need to sit down and do some reevaluating. Make a list of that overwhelming list of things to do and accomplish from house work, traditions, shopping, baking, and gift making. Next fill in your calendar. Now take a good long look at them. REALLY? Is it possible to actually accomplish all of it?
Now go through your list and ask with each one – what would happen if I/we didn’t do ______ this year? If the answer is nothing leave it. If its something that you absolutely can’t miss (kids choir concert, family party, certain family traditions) than highlight it. Those are your only essentials. Do the same with your Christmas shopping/gift list. Whittle that down too. No one really needs stuff; they need time together and memories.
Do the Hard Thing
Its really hard to cut back at this time of year. So many great events and awesome deals not to mention a huge amount of pressure to create a certain level of Christmas expectations. We often don’t realize how much we play keeping up with the Jones’, with our selves. Do you really need to out do last years Santa? Do you really need to make matching PJ’s, dolls, pillow cases, blankets, and church clothes for all the kids? Will your neighbors feel offended if they don’t get a plate of cookies? Will your great-great-great grandma be offended that you didn’t do the Christmas pie? (Sorry grandma!) It’s not easy to go against the grain, but that’s when life gains clarity.
A New Tune
As much as we love you guys, Shelle and I are changing things up a bit during the holidays so that we too can focus on our families. This month we’ll only be posting twice a week, but you won’t want to miss our Prepared for Christmas series this year! It promises to be inspiring and helpful to all you gift givers.
This year our family is changing our tune. We informed our kids that we are asking Santa and everyone else to forgo the gifts. We explained that we are asking instead for either an act of service performed for someone else, or a donation to our family vacation fund so we can visit family far away. Memories and service, the worlds greatest gifts! I can’t say everyone has complied, much to our kids relief, but I feel a huge load has been taken off my shoulders. I know that this Christmas will be our most memorable yet.
What will you change this year for a more joyful holiday season?
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