The Christmas season is upon us! A time to gather around with family and friends and share great memories, and delicious food! But too many times families feel stressed instead of blessed. They feel rushed instead peaceful. This isn’t how the season is supposed to be. Christmas should be a time of peace and reflection, a time to sit and reflect on the birth of a savior. A time to enjoy peace and goodwill toward men (Luke 2:14). The past few years we have chosen to have a simple Christmas. Maybe you would like more simplicity this holiday season as well. Here are five simple steps to a simple Christmas.
Trim Your Schedule
Look at your schedule for the next few weeks. What does it look like? How many days are you going to be running from one activity to another? Does your schedule add stress? If so cut some of it out. You do not have to attend every holiday party, event, parade, or gala. Pick a few and skip the rest. Your kids will thank you! We always make it a priority to stay home all day the day after Christmas. This way the kiddos can enjoy their gifts. If this is not feasible due to work schedule or something else, then make it a point to stay home Christmas evening. Or the first Saturday after the holidays. Also, write in time with YOUR family on your Christmas schedule. Schedule a day to make a new family tradition. Have a PJ party, watch a movie, or go see the Christmas lights in your neighborhood.
Set a Budget
Budgeting gets rid of over spending. Before you start shopping pick who you are going to buy for, and how much you plan on spending on each person. Then divide that amount buy paychecks you have left, and voila-a budget! If you find a great sale and spend a little less than your budgeted amount, don’t feel guilty! Put the money up for next Christmas, or go ahead and stock up on birthday gifts for throughout the year.
Give less gifts and more time
Gifts are great, and Christmas is known as a time of gift giving. But, if money is tight, or you have NO idea what to get a person on your list, choose to give them your time! Make a gift certificate for a “spa day” or a free night of babysitting. Give a day of house cleaning to a friend or your sister. Give your mom a day to spend with you doing something she enjoys. When it comes to your children, remember they don’t need every item on their list. We really are a country of excess. When my husband was laid off a few Christmases ago we bought our kids 3 gifts each. That was it. It was good enough for baby Jesus, and it was good enough for them. They honestly didn’t mind, and we ended up making it a normal occurrence.
Joy is an attitude, it is a choice. We can choose to be happy. We can choose to be giving, and we can choose to feel blessed, not stressed! Don’t let the holidays get you down. Choose Joy. Choose to put a smile on your face, Choose to have a simple Christmas and Choose to reflect on what really matters this holiday season.
Remember the true meaning of Christmas
Christmas is a time to celebrate Christ’s coming to Earth. It is an amazing thought and one that we should instill in our children. Celebrate advent, watch the Nativity story, go to a live nativity, or local church Christmas play. Put out a nativity in your home and act out the story from Luke Chapter 2 with your children. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate plan, just take a few minutes this holiday season and instill the wonder of the Christmas story in your children.
I hope you enjoy the upcoming holiday season and I hope these tips encourage you to have a simple Christmas.