Have you noticed how Mom is the one who makes the holidays happen? Mom is the one who decorates, bakes, shops for gifts, prepares holiday meals, and plans special activities. Mom is also the one most likely to end up frazzled and snappy by the time Christmas rolls around.
My holiday memories revolve around my mother. She turned tree decorating into a family party, complete with special snacks and eggnog. I remember a magical Christmas tea party she gave for my friends; she set a lovely table with fancy cookies, vintage red glass, real silver, and a lace tablecloth.
Memories of our mothers have probably grown rosier over time, and they can create unrealistic standards we feel we have to live up to. I want to create an atmosphere of blessing and fun for my family, but when exhaustion hits me, watch out! I get the grouchies, and that’s no fun for anyone.
I want to be good news to my family during Advent
Last week God sparked my heart when I read what the angel said to the shepherds:
Like that angel, we can bring good news by sharing the gospel or by speaking an encouraging word. I want to be a good news bearer, especially at home. But when I get worn down and weary, Mrs. Cranky Pants comes out instead.
Maybe the most strategic thing we can do to make Christmas memorable for our families is to take care of ourselves.
Six Steps to Avoid the Holiday Frazzles:
1. Put God First
Make God the center of your day. Spend a few minutes with Him for spiritual refueling each morning. His Word will give you peace and perspective. Pray for guidance and blessing as you undertake each activity. Remember Him at night when you lay your head down.
2. Embrace Your Limits
Don’t feel you have to say yes to every social invitation and every request your family makes to do special things in December. Ask each family member to choose one activity, like a holiday movie night, or a drive to look at Christmas lights. Put those on your calendar, and let go of the rest.
3. Ask for Help
Ask your husband and children what they’d like to do, and share responsibilities like gift wrapping, baking, and decorating. The benefit is two-fold: you get help, and your family has more ownership of their celebration.
4. Schedule Time for Yourself
Do whatever keeps you sane, whether it’s spending an hour on the couch with a book, sticking to your exercise routine, or planning a coffee date with a friend. When you can, treat yourself to something that brings you a sense of inner calm, like candles or soft music.
5. Eat Healthy
Keep ingredients for easy meals on hand, so you’ll resist the urge to grab Christmas cookies for lunch on your way out the door or to go through the drive-through on your way back home.
6. Get Enough Sleep
A good night’s sleep does miracles. We all know this, but why is it so challenging? For me this means turning off social media and winding down family activities at 9:30, so I can relax before bed.
This is my plan to keep Mrs. Cranky Pants away from my house during December. I want to avoid the holiday frazzles so I can be good news to my family and friends.
Now it’s your turn. Do you have any ideas about how to make life simpler in December?