I saw this image pop up on Facebook a number of times over the past few days.
That sounds just about right. I lean a little to the right on this one.
Don’t get me wrong I really enjoy Christmas I just find the lead up to it somewhat prolonged and stressful. Nevertheless, there is no escaping it, Christmas is upon us.
Christmas is wondrous time filled with hope, joy, love and peace on earth. Or at least it is supposed to be. Christmas can also be a time of absolute busyness, frantic stress, and a whole lot of pushing and shoving if someone gets between you and this season’s hottest toy. It doesn’t have to be that way. You really can enjoy the season without feeling like you are going to lose your mind. Here are five tips to help you do just that;
If Your “Elf On The Shelf” Isn’t Fun Leave It On The Shelf – We got sucked into the Elf on the Shelf last year. I agreed to bring ‘Oodle’ home so long as we kept it simple. He could move each night but that was it. Last Christmas I saw picture after picture of Elves doing the most complex and intricate things. To me it looked like a war over who had the most awesome Elf. I can’t really imagine that spending that amount of time each night on the Elf was a lot of fun. If your Elf isn’t fun, don’t bring him/her back. Leave a note with some cookies saying Santa needed extra help making toys and he/she will make sure the big guy knows you have been good.
Make A Budget And Stick To It – I am no financial wizard but I do know this, today’s credit card purchase becomes tomorrow’s credit card bill. Don’t spend so much beyond your means that it takes you until next Christmas to pay for this year’s gifts. Those few minutes of excitement watching the presents get opened may not feel as worth it in January.
When Buying Gifts Consider This – A friend shared with me their buying plan which I thought was brilliant. They are going to buy four gifts for their children. The gifts will be; something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. I wish I heard this back in October when we started our shopping because I would have followed this plan in a heartbeat.
Don’t Try To Recreate The Christmas From Your Childhood Memory – Do you remember when you were a kid and Christmas seemed so simple and fun? It seemed like your parents just made everything work with such little effort. Maybe you are frustrated that you can’t seem to make that happen. Don’t be. It didn’t happen when you were a kid either. Your parents were just as stressed and tired as you are, you just didn’t notice because you were a kid and it was Christmas. There are no perfect Christmas’, just good memories. If you are trying at all you are making good memories.
Spend Less Time In Malls And More Time Together – Christmas isn’t about the gifts you give, it is about your presence. I only remember a handful of gifts I received growing up, and I am willing to bet that it true for you as well. What I do remember is the family time we spent together. The stories, the food, writing letters to Santa and more. Try to avoid spending all of November and December shopping.
The desire to build the perfect Christmas can be so very stressful. But it doesn’t have to be. But so much of that stress is tied up with gifts, shopping and post-Christmas bills. It doesn’t have to be that way. Simplify your to-do list, pare down your shopping list and make sure you are spending time with your family not just money on them.
Christopher Drew is the pastor at Sackville Baptist Church. He is the father for three and the husband of one. He is a self professed geek and gamer. Read more about family, faith, and geekery at http://ModernManOfTheCloth.com
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