Photo by Kevin Dooley
Perhaps you’ve got a baby this holiday season, so traveling a long distance through inclement weather sounds like a nightmare.
Maybe your husband’s (or your) workload is unusually heavy this season, so tacking on a bajillion holiday events to your family calendar feels more stressful than fun.
Your son’s homeroom teacher wants all the parents to provide homemade baked goods for the school’s bake sale, but with a busy household to run and three kids to parent, it’s just not feasible.
Or perhaps you’d like to take your daughter to the Nutcracker, and go see the local production of A Christmas Carol, and attend the Rockette’s Radio City Christmas Spectacular as they come through town — but the finances aren’t there to do them all.
It’s okay to say no this Christmas.
Amidst the twinkle of holiday decor and festive ambience of the Christmas flutter, it’s easy to fill our plates to overflowing, and inevitably transform our family’s calendar from fun to painful.
There are so many ways to enjoy the season, but not one family can do them all. How do you choose what to say “yes” to, and what to say “Maybe next year”?
Here are a few ways to filter your choices.
1. Meet the needs of your spouse, kids, and yourself first.
Easier said than done, I know. Focus on your immediate family’s needs first, and ultimately do what’s best for your household. This might mean not traveling six hours away to Aunt Jane’s house like everyone else in your extended family — which might inadvertently lead to hurt feelings.
But what good is it to please these people if your household ultimately suffers? No one’s happy in the end.
2. Don’t spend more than you have.
Draw a line in the sand to never, ever use credit. It’s tempting during the holiday season, but the many months that follow of paying it off is never worth it. You’ll sleep so much better at night.
An easy way to avoid this: Don’t go shopping, especially in malls. Make most of your purchases online, or make your gifts.
3. Do what you can; don’t worry about the rest.
Don’t neglect your responsibilities, of course. But find creative ways to do what you have to do in an easy way, so that you have time and energy to do what you love.
• Buy your bake sale contributions from a local bakery, and shoo away the false guilt that it must be homemade.
• Decide in advance to attend only X number of holiday events, or to fill only X evenings per week with activities. Talk about this as a family, and then draw a line in the sand.
• Make a big deal out of those little things that are fun. Make popcorn and turn down the lights for “A Christmas Story” on TV. Play your favorite Christmas tunes and drink hot chocolate while you wrap gifts.
In the end, Christmas is meant to be enjoyed. It’s meant to point our hearts towards God’s grandest gift to us, found in the shoddy manger in Bethlehem. It’s not meant to stress us out.
Bless those around you with a wife, mom, and friend who’s content, at peace, and happy for the holidays. You’ll have a lot more fun, too.
What will you do this Christmas to help you slow down and enjoy the season?
By Tsh, Simple Mom