This year has flown by! It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is upon us! I love this time of year, but it can also get me stressed and overextended. Recently, I got to thinking about how all of us could use a little more peace this time of year. To have more peace, we have to change our pace. Here are some practical ways to make this happen:
Be Laser-Focused: On the true meaning of the holidays, that is. It’s easy to get sidetracked and distracted from what it’s really all about because much of our society celebrates for the wrong reasons. I recently wrote a blog post over at the Rock Your Family Blog called, “Don’t Miss Thanksgiving.” I hate how Thanksgiving is blown over by the commercialism of Christmas. Let’s slow down and enjoy Thanksgiving and celebrate the true meaning of the day: to honor God by giving thanks.
Once Thanksgiving is over and we focus on Christmas, let’s remember that Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ. Everything else is just details.
Spend Time in His Presence: We can easily brush this to the side during the holiday season because we are so busy. What if we made it more important to spend time in God’s presence than worrying about presents? Committing to daily time with God helps us to refresh and focus on what really matters.
Prioritize Rest: The holidays are no fun when everyone is exhausted from all of the hustle and bustle. And I don’t know about you, but when I’m exhausted, I get grouchy and I’m not too fun to be around. One of the ways I try to prevent this from happening, year round not just during the holidays, is to practice Sabbath rest. On Sundays, we generally just go to church and come home to take a nap and rest. I love having a day to refresh and refuel for the week to come. I have to be intentional about our family’s time of rest. Sometimes we have to say no to invitations if there’s not another day we can have as down time. I hate missing out on anything fun with my people, but we need a day to rest our bodies and our souls. This December I am looking forward to lazy days in pajamas watching Christmas movies with my family.
Do What Matters to You: My mom and I love to bake together. We were talking recently about how we haven’t done it in years because the holidays get so busy and we don’t have the time. This year we’re going to make it happen because it matters to us! What activities matter to you? To your family? Have a discussion together and figure out what you really want to do and what you can exclude. Often, we may think something is important to our family, but when we talk about it, it may not be and we can let ourselves off the hook.
Consider the Cost: There’s always a cost to how we spend our time and our money. Back to the baking, my mom and I will have to say no to something else in order to say yes to baking together. The same is true of other activities. If we accept too many invitations and have too many commitments that it robs us of our peace, then the cost is too much. I have a huge fear of missing out on things, but I am learning that sometimes it’s better to say no because too many yeses is costly.
Adopt the “Good Enough” Mantra: So often I strive for perfection, when in reality, I should strive for good enough. I spend so much time trying to make something perfect (sometimes Pinterest-perfect, I might add), that I become my own worst enemy. My kids don’t care that our sugar cookies are from scratch or that I made homemade icing. Is store bought good enough for my kids to have fun? You bet! Letting myself off the hook with things like this saves me time and my sanity.
Simplify the Gift-Giving: Overspending is one sure way to rob us of peace. Remember that we give gifts to celebrate God’s greatest gift, Jesus. It doesn’t honor Him when we spend more than we should or feel consumed with buying presents. Choose thoughtful presents, homemade or store bought, that are within your budget.
I wrote an article last year for MOPS International with some thrifty gift-giving tips. You can read it here: http://www.mops.org/blog/thrifty-christmas-gifts
Oh Well!: If something doesn’t get done, oh well! If your packages or cards don’t get mailed out on time to arrive for Christmas, oh well! In the entire scheme of life, are such things worth stressing about? No! Take a deep breath and say “Oh well!”
I’d love to hear about any other tips you have for a more peaceful holiday season. Leave a comment on the blog or over on my Facebook page.
I pray that you all have a holiday season that is full of peace and wonderful memories!