Christmas season begins again, and we all know the drill: shopping, baking, cooking, rehearsals, performances, parties, crafts, and, of course, children we don’t want to disappoint. So if you are a person who desires to honor Christ this Christmas, how do you manage to do this yet also complete your own extensive Christmas list of expectations? Here are a few ideas to avoid seasonal stress this season and instead replace it with the peace Christ intends for us to have when remembering His birth:
- Have a plan—Prioritizing planning time will end up saving you exactly that—time. Being intentional about planning ahead on a weekly, or at least monthly, basis can help you to avoid wasting time and energy during the holiday season. It can also allow you the mental space to add in reflective or energy-giving activities. My husband and I sit down with the calendar on Sunday nights and plan out every detail—when babysitters are needed, what time the school program is—and feel like it decreases our day-to-day stress considerably.
- Think simplicity—If there are things you can take out of your schedule that will not make the Christmas season feel lacking, then do it! One less party, one less kind but unnecessary gift, one less cookie exchange could leave you feeling like you have more energy to be emotionally present and less stressed at the events you have decided are non-negotiable. You may even want to consider if there are events you can bump into January and therefore add less to the December chaos.
- Make Jesus intentional—This is what will make the Christmas season feel truly meaningful. A Christmas season focused only on the tasks and to-do lists will leave you feeling exhausted and unfulfilled. Ask yourself the question, “What helps me and my family feel connected to the true Spirit of Christmas?” Is it a worship concert? A daily Advent devotional? The sacrifice of typical family time to serve at a local soup kitchen? Or just daily quiet times when you can meditate on the hope the birth of Christ brings? Whatever that thing is, chase after it hard, and choose to honor Him with a less stressed and more focused head and heart this Christmas season.
These are just three ideas to get you thinking about strategies to avoid the common stressors during the month of December. Allow yourself to rethink your holiday traditions and habits for a fresher, less stressful and more meaningful Christmas this year.