With food to make, rooms to clean, gifts to purchase, homes to decorate, parties to attend, school functions to volunteer for, church services, cards to send… the holiday season can be one that is both beautiful and simultaneously full of stress. Especially when we are trying to do it all and to do it all perfectly. Planning a “Pinterest Perfect celebration” (if you will) can feel anything but abundant.
What if I told you that you don’t have to live up to the standards of ‘Pinterest-perfection’ to find abundance this season? In fact if we lay down our expectations of having everything be just so, come January 1st it could very well be possible to look back on the best season we have had in a long while. It is on my heart to help you find abundance this Christmas, to help you put a stop to the stress and to make lasting memories with your loved ones.
DE-STRESSING THE SEASON
It can be easy to become quickly frazzled during the holiday season. If we are not careful we become overwhelmed by our tasks and our resulting mood puts a damper on things for everyone else. I don’t want this to happen for us; I am much more in favor of having a peaceful season than check all the boxes. You too? A few years ago at our MOPS meeting, one of the mentor moms taught us something that I have put into practice, and it has proven to be a blessing. Today, I would like to share this wisdom with you.
Before the season kicks off, I want you to pull out a piece of paper. You will use this paper to make three separate lists. I know, I know…another list, but stick with me. These lists are going to consolidate the other lists you have and save your sanity this season. Taking a few moments to think over the coming weeks and all that they entail will help you to be intentional about how your time is spent and the memories you take with you from this season. An abundant Christmas will not just fall into our laps.
The three lists you will be making are:
1). What you must do this season
2). Things that will make Christmas, Christmas for you
3). What you would like to do but won’t ruin Christmas if you do not get around to doing
I encourage you to think about January 1st for a moment. After Christmas has come and gone and it is time to move into the new year, what memories do you want to take with you? On list one write down everything that you have to do – these include the commitments you have such as church services, volunteer work, work parties, etc. Once you have all of these written down on your list, transfer them to your calendar.
Next up is your second list. Remember, this list will contain things that spell Christmas for you and your family. Would you, for instance, like the memory of baking cookies with your children, or attending the local church performance of the Christmas story? Would you like to remember a coffee date shared with a friend? What things will create the best possible holiday season for you? Write these on your list. Ignore the voices telling you that if you do not make your great aunt’s fruitcake the season will be ruined (unless of course it really would!). There is a difference between life-giving meaningful moments and guilt-induced happenings. All I would like you to add to this list are the things that make Christmas meaningful for your family. Make sure to transfer these over to your calendar. Once everything from your first two lists is scheduled, you will move to making your third list.
This last list will contain things that you would like to have happen, but if they don’t, won’t make or break the season. Perhaps things like watching a Christmas movie or having a bonfire might find a place on this list. Look at your calendar and if you have room, pencil these things in. Now that you have your intentions plotted out you are well on your way to making an abundant, life-giving holiday season. You no longer have to stress yourself out trying to fit every last thing into your schedule. You may find things that you have always done, just for the sake of doing them, fall by the wayside this year.
You see, it’s not about the gifts or making the best decorated cookies for your children’s school parties or even making sure your family is the best dressed for Christmas Eve services. These things will add stress to your holiday, but will they create memories your children will look back on fondly when they one day have their own families? Perhaps it would be easier to purchase cookies at the store or to coordinate outfits you already have in your closets. Of course, life happens and things can change, but having a blueprint of how the season will look is very helpful.
It is my hope that this list system will be helpful for you. Making life-giving memories with our families takes intention but is well worth the effort!
My encouragement would be to start this planning as soon as possible, so that you are ready to face the Christmas season!