What a great time of year! You know that feeling – one of amazement (and a bit of disappointment) that another Christmas season has come and gone, and yet, there’s the anticipation and excitement that things just might be different next year. All the work of this fun, yet stressful, few months is over, and thoughts of ‘was it worth it?’ or ‘what will we do different next year?’ are slipping through my mind. Making the holidays work for us begins now, at the end of the season!
The Thanksgiving – Christmas season, above all others, is super-filled with activities and expectations. And so it makes sense that we spend time finding ways: to be more efficient with our time; to be more financially responsible; and to be more home and family centered in all of our holiday activities.
We have a simple tool that helps us enjoy the holidays. At the end of the Christmas season, our family makes a list of what worked and what didn’t, what we liked a lot and what frustrated us or burnt us out. I have to admit that, come next fall, we can’t always find that list :o) but just the talking it through and writing it down helps to cement it in our minds. Now is the time while it is fresh in our minds.
Consider these questions:
– Did the family feel stressed or did the schedule allow for lots of family time?
– As a manager of the home, was I stressed or did I have time to enjoy the season, the music, the decorations, a cup of hot cocoa?
– Were meals a struggle, easy to prepare, enjoyed by all, expensive? If some recipes are a tradition, have they seen their time or do they bring back fond memories?
– Was there too much focus on getting or did all experience the joy in giving?
– How’s our budget? Stretched beyond comfort or ready to face the new year without overtime?
– Did presents, decorations, activities get all the family’s time or did we make plenty of time for advent readings and relishing in God’s precious gift, the true reason for celebration?
– After this season of joy, if my children or I were asked “what Christmas is all about” (said with a lisp like Linus in Charlie Brown’s Christmas) what would the answer be? Calendars full of activities and partying….”presents for pretty girls” (I digress! – Lucy, also in Charlie Brown)…..Santa (yikes!)…..cookies and candy canes…..time off from math…. or will it be said that God is so good to have sent us His Son, and the breaking of bread and the sharing of love, laughter, and gifts made everyone remember that goodness?
This truly is a great time of year! Things can be different – it just takes a bit of work. May this simple exercise bless our families as we seek to make our holidays work for us and not against us.
Let all things be done decently and in order. 1 Corinthians 14:40