Friends, it’s almost Christmas! It’s just a few days away as I write this. I’ve been so busy and I’m pretty sure you have been too. Boxes and bows and malls and cookies and all that, right?
I’m not ready. Are you? I still have a few things to purchase, everything to wrap, and most of my baking to do. Some of you are probably far more organized than I. Others of you might not even have started their Christmas prep yet.
Guess what? Either one is okay. Whose standards of Christmas are we living up to anyhow? Here’s my philosophy: It’ll come together. Just like a wedding seems to just “come together” in the end and everything somehow almost magically works out, so will Christmas. Don’t allow yourself to get run down and stressed out.
Here are 5 ways to a Merry Christmas:
Adjust your expectations of yourself: You can’t do everything so just don’t. Ask for help. Even little ones can help decorate the house or cookies. If you did all the shopping, maybe your spouse can wrap the presents. Or maybe your kids will wrap presents for their siblings. Often moms do most of the holiday prep, but delegate. It’s not a mom holiday, it’s a family holiday. Enlist the help of your family so you all can enjoy the day.
Rest: Stop laughing. 🙂 It’s imperative that you make time for proper rest. In my post about preparing for this season, I wrote about getting organized so you don’t go batty doing it all. There’s still time to organize and make these few days until Christmas, a success. But you have to schedule rest time in there too. Are you most productive in early morning? Then don’t stay up too late at night so you can rise early in the quiet of the morning and bake, wrap, do some online shopping or get to the stores and beat the crazy lines that get worse as the day goes on. Take a nap. You’ll have a clearer head and won’t be frazzled.
Be Realistic: How many presents do you really need to purchase? How many can you afford to? It’s loads of fun to spoil our children on Christmas, but be realistic about what they’ll really use and play with. Several years ago, I slimmed down on what I bought. I was buying a lot of presents that got cast aside two days after Christmas, and my babies would focus on a few toys they most loved. I spent the same amount of money, but I concentrated it on fewer quality gifts that I knew they really wanted and would use. That in turn meant that while I carefully and thoughtfully chose each present, I didn’t have to do as much shopping or wrapping.
Remember: Wax nostalgic. Think back to beautiful Christmas memories that make you feel warm and childlike again. Hopefully you have many of those delightful memories. I like to make a cup of hot tea (my favorite beverage, especially in winter), turn off all the lights except the twinkle of the tree lights and a few other strands around the house. Then I sit with a comfy blanket and bask in the sight and warmth. I miss my parents very much, especially at this time of year. My Mom made Christmas magical with thoughtful gifts, delicious meals and treats, and that same glow of lights and hot tea. Sitting and remembering those childhood days when all felt right with the world, is bittersweet, but still sweet.
It’s Not About the Gifts: We put a lot of emphasis on the Christmas presents. A lot. It’s a societal thing. But we get caught up in it and it’s easy to feel pressured to buy the right things, the most things, the newest gadget. Picture this: If you were sitting in your living room in front of the Christmas tree spilling over with gifts on Christmas morning, but you were alone, how would that feel? Sure, there might be a little delight to see diamonds or a new computer. But it would probably be pretty lonely. Once the gifts were opened, it’d just be you and the gifts. Now picture this:
You wake up on Christmas morning, there aren’t many gifts or maybe there aren’t any. But your family is with you, healthy and happy. You have breakfast and later have dinner, and spend the day together.
Which scenario do you prefer? Gifts by yourself? Or no gifts and family?
I’ll bet you’d choose your family any day, all day, infinity. The presents are fun and they’re even more fun to give, but my point is, it’s not about the presents so if you can’t afford a lot of presents or if you can’t afford any, it doesn’t mean you won’t have Christmas. Because Christmas isn’t about the presents.
Remember the Reason for the season. Look out for someone who needs an extra hug, maybe help with a bill (if you can afford that), some groceries, a ride to church or a doctor’s appointment, a special plate of cookies, a kind word or hand on their shoulder.
You are special. Don’t forget it.