The Best Way to Approach this Holiday Season
If you are like many people, the holidays have snuck up on you. It seems like it was just yesterday you were slaving away in your kitchen, balancing a turkey in one hand and the remnants of stuffing in the other. After Thanksgiving, time seems to fly. This can lead one frazzled or feeling a bit out of control, don't fret dear friend, there is a way to be successful and to gain the most out of your time spent with loved ones over the holidays.
1. Plan. This might seem like an outrageous first step. Isn't that the point of reading this blog? To bypass all the hard work, and find ways to utilize my time more efficiently. Indeed it is, but first it is so important to evaluate your situation. It's important to look at the necessary things that may prohibit your effectiveness. For example, "what is your work schedule leading up to and after Christmas? Is there travel involved? Are you the primary cook or hostess? Do you have guests where other meals must be planned out? What is your budget? Who are the relatives and friends you are giving gifts to? Are they homemade or store bought?"Making a plan revolving around these factors will get you one step ahead. If you are the primary hostess, pick out your need and buy your groceries at your next visit to the store. If you are on a strict budget, get a few Sunday papers and find some helpful coupons. Even coupons on paper towels and toiletries are a huge help when you have guests in your household. My suggestion is to spend fifteen minutes today with a calendar here you can write detail notes. Plan out your menu, your "ideal" schedule, your times spent in preparation, and the roles each member in your family will have.
2. Prepare. This is just outright obnoxious. Yet, I encourage you to keep reading, it may not be what you think it is. This time of year is very high-paced and you can just be a bit stressful. So at the end of each day leading up to Christmas, take a moment to prepare your heart for what this season is truly about. The presents and the food are wonderful additions to the traditions we have amongst family and friends, but they do not define those memories. The heart behind this season is what makes it truly special and meaningful. Take some time to prepare yourself mentally and reflect on why you are doing the things you are doing. I guarantee you it's because your heart is filled with love. At the end of the day, this is what truly matters, and displaying this attitude will make those tedious chores special and less stressful.
3. Perspective. In my family, we have several wonderful traditions and we have always spent every Christmas at my grandparents. I remember the thrill behind our Christmas Eve. We travel to my cousin's house where most of the women have been working on finger foods and savory soups. Hot cider is in a large crockpot, and as we finish up our meal, my Papa takes out his guitar. In this moment, every person (good voice or not) begins to sing Christmas carols. Many times there has been a devotion, and we finish up by reading the Christmas story. Nothing is really said, kids are often quiet, intrigued by the scene unfolding around them, and there is not any amount of detail I could give on the love that enters that room. As we depart from my dear family for the night, we head home to begin preparations for Christmas. My Aunt always makes Cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning, and the little ones set out homemade Christmas cookies. As I have gotten older, I have enjoyed putting the stockings together with my Aunt until the wee hours of the morning. We are like school girls giggling over the silliness of some of our purchases. Truth be told, I don't exactly remember what was given to me last year as a gift, but if you haven't noticed, I can recall every moment spent with my precious family. Those memories are the most valuable treasures anyone could give, and we don't ever get that time back. So if you are a mom reading this (*cough*-perfectionist), keep in mind that the memories are what matter. Your child won't recall whether the turkey was too dry, if the tree was a bit lopsided, or if the house was spotless. They will remember the love you gave and the time you spent investing in their Christmas. Be brave this year and allow yourself to slide a bit, it's really okay to not have some glamorous holiday. Soak up the time with your family and cherish this moment for what it is, a memory in the making.