We love Christmas. A lot! We love doing fun things and living out our various traditions. But as you know, Thanksgiving to New Year’s can be an incredibly busy and hectic time. This year it is even more complicated with COVID. The one thing we can be sure of is that the Christmas season will look different this year.
Whether this month is busy, or cancelled, we can all make it a point to be purposeful. “Purposeful” should NOT equal a lot of extra work and anxiety in your mind. Being purposeful means being in control of your time and energy and focusing on what really matters. It is all about doing what is important to you and making memories that will last. It will also mean choosing NOT to do certain things so that you have the time and energy to focus on the right things.
Purposeful Family Time
Here are a few ideas on how we have made our holiday season purposefully focused on family, fun and tradition.
- Slow down- Purposefully stop once in a while and just enjoy the Christmas tree, take a nap, or play a game with the kids. Reflect on the good time you are having so that you can truly file it away. I personally love to sit on the couch at night and just look at the Christmas tree. This is a quiet time to just relax. (Did you know that by thinking and re-thinking about something you are actually strengthening that memory’s pathway in your mind? You are “hard-wiring” that memory. So think purposefully!)
- Compromise- We feel that going through Advent activities is very important for the kids and for us. And we would love to make each day an amazing experience for the kids. But, many days we compromise by just reading the scripture and putting the figure on the poster. There is a craft and extra activity that we could do, but we have chosen not to do them this year so that we can keep it simple. We also don’t beat ourselves up if we miss a day. There is no rule against doing advent in January or skipping a couple days. We actually missed day 1 due to being tired from driving home that day.
- Together!- Make sure most of the activities you do include the whole family, so that you are enjoying quality time together with all of them.
- Schedule it- Take time now to schedule the most important family traditions, and then stick to those nights. This will make sure that you have purposefully chosen your activities rather than passively let them choose you. (We scheduled time to watch a Christmas movie, get the Christmas tree, and take our annual Christmas Lights Tour.)
- N.O.- It is okay to say no. There are more good things to do that there is time and energy to do them. Pray and ask God before you respond to each invite. Then trust that God knows best.
- Make lists- Make a list of everyone you want to buy a gift for, take goodies to, and send a card. Keep it, put it on the computer so that you can remember it from year to year. This will help you avoid some of the last minute stress or surprises.
- Shop Early- It’s too late for this year, but next year try to get all your shopping done in November so that you aren’t running around the last two weeks. This is also a good idea if you want to be prepared for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Most years it isn’t possible to have it all done in November but shoot to be done two weeks before Christmas. Another tip is wrap as you go. This allows you to relax on Christmas Eve instead of staying up until 3 am wrapping gifts. (Been there, done that. It’s exhausting!)
- Year to Year- Keep a list of presents you have bought for the miscellaneous people (teachers, friends, neighbors) so that you don’t repeat year after year. This has the added bonus of being a brainstorming list so that you can remember the good ideas for the new people in your life.
One of the dangers of living a Purposeful Life is that it can turn into a Hectic Life. But it doesn’t have to. Remind yourself that you can’t do it all, plan out the most important things, say no to many good things, be organized, and take time to reflect. Then you will be on your way to keeping the hectic out of the holidays.
Share your ideas!
What do you do to slow down at Christmas? How do you make it a joyful and not stressful time of year? Comment below!
Click here for Christmas Coupons to help you schedule your Christmas traditions.
Click here for a Christmas List Planner to help organize your buying.