I hope I don't sound like a Grinch, but Christmas can be hard. Hard because the season adds to an already very full life. Just normal day-to-day responsibilities fill our days to overflowing and now there is shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, parties, programs, guests, and more! to add in.
Many approach Christmas day frazzled, exhausted, stressed, and with little peace and joy. Often for us women, Christmas just seems like more work.
Therefore, I wanted to share 5 things I have learned from Christmases past that have helped me enjoy Christmas Day:
1. Do Not Over Commit.
It really is possible to have every weekend and the majority of the week nights in December fully booked. I can easily become over busy and over committed. A full schedule (even of fun stuff) not only takes a toll on me, but my kids too. We all end up exhausted and less able to cope emotionally.
Rob and I try to be intentional about what we say yes to. And we intentionally leave blank days on our December calendar where nothing is planned. But really something is planned! That something is time together at home as a family just us, time to rest, time to veg out, time to catch our breath, and time to quiet our spirits.
Reminds me of our blank weekends I wrote about last month. And the Christmas post I wrote 3 years ago titled Be Intentional about Saying Yes and Saying No.
2. Set Expectations for Me and the Kids
Me: I remind myself that Christmas is not going to look like a Norman Rockwell scene. It is not going to be perfect. It is going to be loud and messy and the kids are not going to be the best behaved because we are off schedule and they are excited and they have overdosed on sugar.
But I can make Christmas memorable and one that focuses on what matters most. I do this by asking myself and Rob and the kids what they want Christmas to look like? What activities do we want to make sure happen this Christmas? What would they rather skip? I wrote about this last year in my blog post titled: What Do You Want Christmas to Be Like? Check that out for even more questions.
|Christmas Morning 2010, not necessarily a Norman Rockwell scene|
For the kids: Rob and I talk with the kids ahead of time. We show them the calendar. We show them what is planned for what days. We talk about where we are going, what we are doing, who will be there, and how we expect them to act. We ask our teenagers what they have planned. We help them pick and choose activities. We show our kids the blank days too.
3. Talk Ahead of Time with Spouse and Agree to Remain Flexible
Rob and I talk ahead of time about the kids' food, naps, bedtimes, etc. Just so we are on the same page and present a united front to our kids. We learned this the hard way. One Christmas, Rob and I found ourselves fighting over whether or not we were going to limit the amount of candy and desserts the kids ate that day. One of us wanted to, one of us did not and we were hashing it out right there as the kids unwrapped another piece of candy. Talk about putting a damper on the Christmas spirit. So Rob and I talk ahead of time, but we also agree to remain flexible.
4. Pray over My Attitude
Oh, how many times have I written about how our attitude creates the atmosphere in our homes. We set the tone in our homes and that tone impacts our family and all who enter. And that is not just a responsibility, but an honor and a privilege.
We were made to be the heartbeat of our homes. And since my attitude is going to influence my whole family (especially since we are spending so much time together over the holiday break), I pray and ask God to help me appreciate the days. Help me not to wish the days away. Help me not to wish that school would start back up. Help me to enjoy the days. Help me to slow down and find the beauty and pleasure in the many small things of this season.
5. Lay out all the Necessary Supplies the Night Before
I have a list on my computer. Making sure I have these items on the side table in the living room the night before makes Christmas morning so much more enjoyable for me. I thought I would share my list with you:
1. Scissors and pocket knife (to cut ribbon, boxes)
2. Trash Bags
3. Box for Recycling Wrapping Paper (if you rip the paper and white shows, then it is recyclable. If color shows, like the inside of the paper is colored, then it is NOT recyclable. I called Raleigh Recycling and this is what they told me).
4. Box for Bows (so I can reuse them next year)
5. Laundry Basket/Box for each kid. This helps minimize the arguing. The kids don't like their stash mixing with their siblings' stash. Also helps me feel a little more peaceful when stuff is not strewn all over the house.
6. Camera/Video Camera. Make sure batteries are charged, back up battery is charged, and there is plenty of memory
7. Breakfast Casserole made ahead of time and in fridge ready to be popped in the oven Christmas morning. I wrote about this Tatertot Breakfast Casserole last month.
I have wanted to find a breakfast casserole for Christmas morning. I have tried several recipes over the years and have just not fell in love with any enough to make them a second time. I tried this recipe lat month. I certainly did not want to try it out for the first time Christmas morning. This one was a winner. Not the healthiest, but so yummy for a once a year treat. What do you have for breakfast Christmas morning?
8. Plan a snack, lunch, and dinner and have these already made and ready to go.
9. Christmas Photo Albums, Bible, Christmas Books to look thru/read throughout day.
10. What would you add to this list to make it an even 10? What do you like to have on hand Christmas morning?
And tell me what do you do to make sure you enjoy Christmas Day? Let's ditch the picture perfect images in our heads and be intentional about making this Christmas one of true peace and joy.