Do you look forward to Christmas or do you want it to just be over because it gets so complicated? What if you could just change a few things this year to keep it more simple?
Are their things you have been doing every year that everybody loves? Do you have special movies you like to watch together? My family loves Elf and Charlie Brown Christmas. We also like to make cookies and go look at Christmas lights. As families get busier, sometimes you have to sit down and regroup and see if there are a few things that can be let go. Ask your kids what is most important to them for the holidays. You may doing more than needed and not even realize it because it has become a habit every year.
Come up with a budget and try to stick to it. Remember to include stocker stuffers which can really add up. Also remember to include any gift cards or donations to charities. Try to remember that our kids will probably lose toys and outgrow their new clothes, but they will ALWAYS have their memories to look back on. You don’t have to get them everything on their wish list.
Put on the calendar any school plays, church events or Christmas parties you want to attend. Remember you can always have a party after the holidays when everybody isn’t so busy and you can actually enjoy seeing each other instead of thinking about your to do list… It is alright to not accept every invitation you receive. You don’t always have to give people a reason why you can’t come. Just say “thanks for the invitation but we can’t make it this year”.
Make sure you are leaving some room in there to relax and enjoy your family. Instead of sending out a bunch of Christmas cards to people you never hear from, maybe you can narrow it down to family members and a few of your out of town friends.
Take kids outside for a walk and get some exercise. We like to walk around our neighborhood and look at the lights. My husband Jon gets these cool glasses we wear that make the lights look really special so we take turns wearing them. We come back inside and drink some hot chocolate and watch a Christmas movie.
Helping others is a great way to serve and learn to be thankful for what we already have. My daughter and I have rung the bells for Salvation Army a couple of times. It was a great way to spread some cheer since she and her friend played violin part of the time. Operation Christmas Child is also a fun family project.
By trying to keep things more simple, we can remember Jesus is the reason for the season. What can you do to make this Christmas more meaningful and less stressful?