Christmas! – the most wonderful time of the year. The presents, the tinsel, the lights and the food! As children we spend all year waiting for it! As adults we spend all year saving for it ?.
Seriously though, as grown-ups, our sense of excitement about Christmas can often wane when we become overwhelmed with life and loss, and with our own (often unspoken) hopes, dreams and expectations for Christmas, and those of others. We all want Christmas to be amazing. In fact, we want it to be perfect!
Well, I have bad news and good news for you.
The bad news is that your Christmas probably won’t be perfect. The good news, though, is that:
Christmas isn’t about perfection. It’s about celebrating the One who saved us from our impossible need to be perfect.
This means that Christmas does not need to be perfect in order for us to enjoy it. (phew!). What’s more, we can even learn to appreciate the imperfections. Who knew?! In the spirit of embracing imperfections, lets jump right in here.
To make the most of this Christmas consider the following ideas:
1. You’ve heard this before, but say a big ol’ ‘No’ to some ‘not-so-important’ activities on your calendar this Christmas. The truth is you aren’t super human; none of us are. Take a load off and use the extra time to relax with your family and actually enjoy the season. What will you not do this Christmas?
2. Consider your motives for, and put limits on, your gift giving. No one really needs a lot of extra items floating around the house y’know ?. Just as an aside note, home-made gifts are all the rage and can be very meaningful. Consider home baked goods as gifts this year. Although not exactly home-made, even an attractive empty jar filled with lollies and tied with a ribbon makes a cheerful gift under any tree.
3. Family Christmas traditions are super important to continue with. However they are not as important as your ability to cope with your schedule. Your family would much rather 3 Christmas events that Mum was totally present for, than 6 that she was enduring. What are your family Christmas traditions? Make a list of what spells Christmas to you and your family, i.e. taking the kids to see the Christmas lights, the local LIVE nativity scene, Christmas carol events, Advent activities, making Christmas biscuits with the family, or decorating the tree with Christmas music playing, and with sweet Christmas treats on the table. Prioritise the 3 most important, pop them in the calendar and make them happen (and enjoy them when you do ?) and decide to be ‘ok with it’ if the others don’t happen.
4. Reach out to someone in need. Do you know someone who is doing it tough? We wouldn’t have Christmas if God hadn’t given the Original and Best Christmas gift just over 2000 years ago. He is why we give gifts. It’s because we are remembering that He came as an undeserved, and totally perfect, gift to us. So, in His likeness, what can you give and to whom? Someone who can’t do anything for you in return. Make someone elses’ Christmas a little brighter this year, and the act of giving will also illuminate yours.
5. Save money when entertaining by going generic where you can. Buy your antipasto ingredients from stores like ALDI. Plain cheese cubes on toothpicks and plain cooked sausages cut diagonally and placed on toothpicks make a low-cost but yummy, savoury platter. Make your own dips and serve with bread and veggie sticks. A BBQ with salad and paddle pops for dessert for the kids makes an easy meal for a hot summers’ night.
6. Worried about the state of your house? Make a manageable house-cleaning schedule for between now and Christmas, splitting the jobs up into several weeks so that you don’t get overwhelmed. Use the excitement of Christmas (or the threat of imminent entertaining ?) to motivate you to clean. Check out Clean Mama for some home making inspiration (she has a great 31 day cleaning schedule which will have your house in tip top shape by Christmas:).
7. Save money, reduce waste and get creative by using brown paper for gift wrap this year. Brown paper bags can also look great, or white paper with embellishments. Buy a roll of butchers’ paper, have the kids make hand and foot prints in Christmas colours to decorate it, then wrap gifts with it. You can make an afternoon out of this and make family Christmas memories at the same time. Furoshiki – the japanese art of fabric gift wrapping, and newspaper as gift wrap, are other options. See them all here .
Finally, and perhaps most importantly:
8. Celebrate Advent (it makes Christmas more merrier!) Practice pausing, for just a few moments each day, in anticipation for the joy that is to come – a preparing of your heart, if you like, for the joy of Christmas morning.
See why advent matters here.
Check out this beautiful advent book from Ann Voskamp here .
Try the Jesse tree as an advent experience (a Jesse tree is a little like an advent calendar, except that it emphasises the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ.).
This advent book is also a great one for the whole family.
Whatever it is that you get up to this Christmas just remember, it doesn’t need to be perfect for you to enjoy it. Relax, enjoy and soak it all up.
I hope you make the most of it 🙂 .
Note: MOPS Australia did not receive payment for the inclusion of any of the links in this blog.