to simplify the season and have your happiest Christmas
You can have your Christmas and enjoy it too!
You love the holidays, but in the midst of what should be the
most joyous of seasons you're overwhelmed and frazzled. You have
too much to do in too little time. Gifts, cards, baking,
decorations, church pageants, parties, family get-togethers, and
the list goes on. But Christmas is not about being in a constant
state of panic, fearing you'll never get everything done. Nor are
the holidays about how many gifts are under the perfectly decorated
tree. They're not about having so much to do that there is little
time left to spend with your spouse and your kids. And they're not
about feeling that you have to do it or it just won't be Christmas.
In the rush to do it all, the real meaning of Christmas can be
Christmas is traditions.
Every year you promise yourself that you'll stay calm and truly
enjoy the season, yet when the most enjoyable activities are
crowded into an already-tight schedule, they often conflict and
overwhelm. Consider your overinflated "to-do" list. Are there tasks
on that list you could do without? Try this easy way to find out.
Make a second list titled "It Wouldn't Be Christmas Without ..."
Write down all the traditions, foods, and activities that make the
holidays special for your family. Now compare the lists. Anything
not on both lists is expendable, a task or event you can decide to
do on a selective basis--only if you have the time and only if you
want to. So this year, make the gingerbread house with your kids,
but don't host a neighborhood party. Next year you can give the
party and skip something else.
If it's your turn to host the family holiday dinner, start a new
tradition and simplify. You do the main course, and ask each family
member to bring something for the dinner.
Christmas is a family time.
In most families women are the holiday planners, organizers,
hosts, decorators, shoppers, and bakers. Often these Christmas
magicians don't realize how much extra work they're doing, because
they don't really think of it as work until they're exhausted If
you choose to do it all yourself, you have no right to complain.
But if you honestly want to share the joy of the season with your
family, ask for their help and cooperation.
Children as young as 2 can stand on a stool and help decorate
and bake cookies. Older children can help trim the tree and wrap
gifts Whatever they do may not always be up to your standards, but
it enhances the enjoyment of the holiday for everyone, and is less
work for you.
Instead of overloading your schedule with holiday activities
that crowd out what you'd really like to be doing, just say no. You
don't have to accept every holiday party invitation. Take a break
from the holiday rush by going on a family adventure to a museum,
art gallery, or a carol sing. Or make a bowl of popcorn and watch
the video It's a Wonderful Life as a family.
Christmas is giving.
It wouldn't be Christmas without gifts under the tree, but with
a little planning ahead you can save time and aggravation. Be
realistic when the hand-knitted scarf for Aunt Mary is only half
made. Put it away, and finish it for next Christmas. This year, buy
her a book. Shop with a list of gift ideas in the mornings and/or
evenings. Avoid the lunch-hour rush and weekends, if possible. Not
only are the stores overly, crowded; it's almost impossible to find
a parking space.
Plan your shopping route so you don't backtrack and run from
store to store. Request a box when you purchase a gift. Many small
gift and toy stores offer free gift wrapping. If you shop through a
catalog or over the Internet, gifts can be gift-wrapped and sent
directly to the recipient.
Have an idea for a special, unique gift for your spouse? Before
you leave home, call stores to see if they have it.
Christmas is memories.
No other holiday is so strongly etched in the mind of a child,
yet gifts are not the part of Christmas a child remembers most.
Giving them an expensive video game is easy, but years, later the
child remembers when they went with you to see the lighting of your
town's Christmas tree, or when you read "`Twas the Night Before
Christmas" before bedtime on Christmas Eve. Think back to your own
Christmas memories, and you'll probably recall things like baking
cookies with Grandma, stringing popcorn and cranberries for tree
decorations, and singing in the church choir that mean Christmas to
Christmas is keeping in touch.
Dislike sending Christmas cards? Don't do it this year, or
simplify. Cut your list down. Don't send cards to people you see
every day. Don't send cards to close friends and relatives to whom
you are giving gifts. Send cards only to those you don't see or
hear from very often and don't want to lose contact with. Yes, it's
a nice touch to add a note to every card, but it certainly isn't
necessary. In fact, instead of sending a card to an old friend or
relative who lives far away, pick up the phone and wish them a
Christmas is a joyful time.
At least once a day, stop what you're doing and do something
that brings you joy--it may be doing something special for your
spouse, your kids, or yourself. Sip a cup of herbal tea. Read Luke
2 to your kids. Look at old Christmas pictures. Take a walk with
your spouse. Listen to holiday music. Sit quietly and enjoy your
Christmas tree. After 20 minutes you should feel refreshed and
relaxed--ready once again to face the hectic holiday pace.
Christmas is a celebration.
Take time to remember the true meaning of Christmas.
Each year we look forward to the holidays as a joyous time of
peace and reflection. But it's hard to remember what's important
when we're all caught up in a seemingly endless round of errands
and activities. What's important is the people we love. The things
we do for the holidays are a way to express that love. All too soon
this Christmas will be in the past, so enjoy each activity for
itself instead of always thinking about what is ahead of you, what
you still have to do. You can have your Christmas and enjoy it too!
|by Gail Morrissey
Source: Vibrant Life Magazine Nov-Dec 2002.