Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Holiday Schedule: Keep it Simple, Keep it Meaningful (Day 10)

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Over the past several weeks, we've discussed many different tips and tricks, all designed to set you up for a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas season. You could do all of the early preparation in the world, but if you miss this one key factor, it won't make a bit of a difference.

Are you ready for it?

For a peaceful Christmas, keep things simple. You cannot do everything. You cannot be everywhere. You cannot gift everyone. Acknowledge this. Embrace it. Allow yourself to rest in it. You cannot do it all, and that is 100% okay. This is especially important when it comes to scheduling your family for various holiday events and activities.

A sure fire way to feel burnt-out, rushed, and stressed is to plan on attending three gatherings Christmas day. Or to sign up for every activity available to you- cookie swaps, school and work parties, caroling, the Church and school plays, concerts, etc.

Early on, you are going to have to sit down as a family and make some tough decisions. What is non-negotiable? What good things will you say "no" to in order to experience the best? Here are a few things to consider for help in the decision making process:

What is Christmas really about? As Christians, we are celebrating the birth of God's Son. Do the gatherings and events you plan on attending reflect this important truth? Would your children look at the activities you're involved in and understand what it is really all about, or are you sending mixed messages (over emphasizing the material and secular)?

What do you want your children to remember? Do you want them to remember crazy rushing and frantic parents? Family feuding and "give me, give me" present greed? Or would you rather them have warm feelings of sweet family gatherings, beautiful music and Bible stories, driving around together to look at Christmas lights? Think about your favorite Christmas memories from your childhood. How can you recreate those good times for your little ones?

What is most important at the end of the day? While your neighbor might be miffed that you were unable to attend her annual bake-off, several years down the road it probably won't make a difference. Seeing family members you haven't been able to meet up with in years, donating gifts to projects like Operation Christmas child, and attending your church's Christmas Eve service, on the other hand, can have a more lasting impact. Your priorities may be vastly different then mine. No matter- determine what they are, and ensure that your schedule is conducive to the most important things.

Today's Assignment: Meet up with your spouse, and even include your children, to discuss what is most important to everybody this year. Explain that as a family you are only able to do so much, but it is important to make time for the events that matter most to individual members. Make a list of your priorities, leaving plenty of free space on your calendar for rest and down time.

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