Can you feel it? The feeling of slight dread, sprinkled with heightened aggravation, and then topped off with a huge overwhelming sense of guilt? Somehow these feelings are gift wrapped with tinsel, bright beautiful red bows, covered in holly berries, pine needles, and an aroma of gingerbread and cinnamon.
The next few weeks can bring feelings of both excitement and dread. Are our expectations too high? Is the pace too fast? Is the hype more than the holiday??? I hardly think so–and yet each year I can feel my blood pressure rising to a level that would alarm any cardiologist.
How do we stay grounded? How do we take in the sights and sounds…and not miss a single mouth-watering moment? How do we avoid driving our loved ones crazy while rushing them from one (well-intentioned) family-fun Christmas festivity after another? How do we truly embrace and enjoy a more meaningful Christmas??
5. Make a TO-DON’T List…I have suggested a list like this before in Road to Busyness. It is very appropriate this time of year to decide what you are NOT going to do. This will allow you to make choices and truly LOVE what you decide TO DO.
4. Make a list of non-negotiables…Visiting grandma, roasting chestnuts over an open fire, or dreaming of a white Christmas…identify any and all activities that will create precious moments for your holiday. Then take a hard look and make sure something cannot come off the list!
3. Don’t be consumed by “the gift.” (Here’s a few ideas and tips on this idea if you missed it: Gifts Don’t Matter)
2. Avoid the “one more thing” trap. At this time of year EVERYTHING looks fun. Christmas tree lightings, parties, caroling, Christmas pageants, sleigh rides, Santa’s knee, live nativities, cooking, baking, more lights, more parties, and more baking. I know because we have done all of this and more! We have a day in December with events happening at 4pm, 6pm, 7pm, and 8pm in various parts of the Triangle. This is outrageous. If at all possible don’t add one more thing. Stand firm on your non-negotiables and then sit in the disappointment of others. It is one of my most comfortable seats in the house. YOU CANNOT PLEASE EVERYONE.
1. Focus on what you value most. Your family and close friends. Quality time with others. A service project. A quiet restful week between Christmas and New Years.
Be thoughtful. Be intentional. One can only steal your time if you let them! This is a time to reflect, to be thankful, to serve, to recognize the source of the season…and to be still. If we are looking for a meaningful Christmas that matters…we must make intentional efforts to focus on this month.
More on this tomorrow…
May you Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed,