Preparing for a Guest Inspires the Best Christmas Ever
Some years ago, my friend’s mother in Norway decided to come for a Christmas visit. She would arrive for a long stay on December 1, so my friend worked hard to get the major holiday tasks done ahead of time. Her November was quite busy and she felt a little stressed, but then she had a nice surprise.
When her sweet Mama arrived, all of the holiday “chores” were done. Because my friend had done everything early, she was able to relax and enjoy the holiday season — for the first time in her adult life. They did fun things like sledding and decorating cookies and watching movies, and mostly, they simply enjoyed time together — sweet, un-busy time.
How About You?
Perhaps you’ve already figured out how to enjoy a low-key, peaceful holiday season. For others, the holidays can be a stressful season of excess spending, over-scheduling, not enough sleeep, and impossible expectations.
My friends, let’s quietly and purposefully reverse that trend. If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably already taken some steps to simplify your holidays.
December first is four weeks from today. What if eliminate the holiday stuff that no longer brings us joy, and aim to have the extra things done by month’s end? What if we cut back, simplify, and tackle the important tasks early, so we actually have time to relax and enjoy the season?
Here are 5 ideas that might help you create a more relaxing holiday:
1. Write a list or a few sentences about the experiences that would make this Christmas season feel really special to you. What would put the joy and meaning back into your celebration? You may want to read “Your Best Holidays Ever” for some ideas.
2. Make a budget for gifts and festivities. Keep it realistic, and commit not to take on even one dollar of credit card debt this season.
3. Make a gift list. Whittle it down. Talk to your friends and family, and challenge any tradition that involves mindlessly exchanging gifts. Chances are, everyone will be in favor of having more fun and spending less on stuff.
4. Simplify. One of this blog’s most-read posts is the story about the McDonald family, who decided to drastically simplify their holidays—with very satisfying results. Check out “One Real Family’s Real Simple Christmas,” and you might be inspired to do the same.
5. Think about you. What would you like for Christmas this year? A new novel? Cozy slippers? Chocolate-covered caramels? Let’s all commit to finagling a little something special for ourselves this season, even if we have to do the buying or making.
What’s On Your Wish List?
These are the things I hope to do this Christmas season:
*Simplify and have time to relax.
*Make memories with my loved ones.
*Find ways to be generous.
*Have quiet time to meditate, read and pray.
*Seek to experience the true spirit of Christmas.
*Spend less, and end the year with NOT ONE PENNY of new debt.
*Find less wasteful, eco-friendly alternatives whenever possible.
*Eat well and get plenty of rest.
*Experience peace, comfort and joy.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about how you celebrate the holidays in a meaningful way.
Ho, ho, ho and a hug,
P.S. Grateful thanks to Nina Matthews Photography for the wonderful Hope photo, and to Michael Gill for the crazy Christmas light photo.