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7 Ways to Finish Strong this Christmas

Peace during Christmas

Dear friends,

My son has finals this week, and his high school posted this message: “Finish strong.”

It’s such a good reminder–not only to stay focused on school work right up to the last day, but also to stick with holiday goals like simplifying and saving money.

If you celebrate Christmas, you know that we have just a few days remaining. Retailers will be working overtime to entice us into last-minute shopping and spending. Here are some thoughts about how to navigate these precious days:

Don’t let your budget go off the rails now. Impulse purchases can add up quickly. Make a list before you go shopping and stick to your budget.

Your gift doesn’t have to be equal to your friend’s gift. Let go of those expectations, and give what you can without worrying that it’s not enough.

Let someone bless you. A friend may give you an unexpected gift when you have nothing in return. Let that dear person experience the joy of giving. Give gracious thanks. Try to resist the urge to say, “You shouldn’t have done that,” or “I feel bad that I didn’t get you…” Just let it all go, and bask in your friend’s generosity.

Go easy on stocking stuffers. Many a budget has been derailed by last minute trinkets. Feeling stumped? This morning I posted a bunch of inexpensive and DIY stocking stuffer ideas on the January Money Diet Community Facebook Group.

Let prayers help. If you’re reading this post, I want you to know that I prayed for you this morning. I prayed that God would bless and help each one of you, and fill you with His holy peace and reassurances. I’ve heard from several of you who are fighting the blues this Christmas. You are not alone. The holidays can stir up old memories and feelings of dashed expectations. If something is going on in your life and you feel like you need extra support, please drop me a note at eliza @ elizacross.com and I promise to pray for you.

Be on the lookout for unexpected ways to give. It’s a beautiful, logic-defying paradox that when we give, we’re the ones who get blessed. Maybe it’s something as simple as giving someone a smile, or perhaps you’ll feel led to take five minutes to talk with an elderly person in the grocery store who seems lonely. Maybe you’ll feel stirred to write someone a note of encouragement, or send an e-mail to your child’s teacher expressing thanks for all they do. You may find that lending a hand to someone who needs it will get you in the Christmas spirit more than anything.

Take a breather. Dear reader, could you devote just 10 or 15 minutes each of these remaining days to soak in this advent season? Make a cup of tea, sit by the window, and look at the world. Or turn on the Christmas tree lights and sit by the tree for a bit. Or take a relaxing bath, or get in bed and read a book, or light a candle and bliss out to the flickering flames. If you’re a “doer” like me this requires focus and commitment, but if you make a little time for peace each day I can guarantee that you’ll be glad you did.

Peaceful Christmas

How about you?

Are you feeling serene this week? Or stressed? Do you have any strategies to add to my list?

I hope you have the most special Christmas, my friends. May you be surprised by joy. May you be delighted by unexpected opportunities to give. May you find moments of comfort and joy amidst the busy-ness.

May you finish strong!

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 16 books, including Small Bites, 101 Things To Do With Bacon, and BERRIES. She enjoys sharing ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, and home projects. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

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