10 Easy Steps Make STRESSLESS Holidays

Author: Marilyn Rockett Rockett
Published in: AHEAD Blog
Published on: Dec. 18, 2013

A homeschooling mother has more to do on most days than almost any human on the planet must accomplish. Then the holidays arrive! Disorganization adds stress and frustration to what should be a happy time. Perhaps these ten principles will help you “stress less” as you celebrate this joyous season.

See God’s Perspective: In the bustle of life, we forget to see things from God’s perspective. Focus on people rather than on all the things you think you have to do. Stress steals the joy of the season from you and your family.

Take Time to Plan: Ecclesiastes 8:5b-6a tells us that a wise heart knows the proper time and procedure for everything. Ask the Lord what you should do this season, and take time to reflect on wise plans. Write down what you want to accomplish during the holiday and plan to do those things.

Reevaluate Your Plans: When you see that a particular plan or activity is not working well, reevaluate for changes. It is prudent to change plans when they are not serving the intended purpose. An old proverb says, “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.” Continual reevaluation will help you enjoy the holiday.

Establish Priorities: Prioritize as you make plans. You probably don’t have time to do everything you want to do, so wisely choose those activities that bring a peaceful celebration time. Ask your family which holiday activities they enjoy best. Which things are most important? Do those first.

Set Goals: This is easier to do when you establish priorities. Add one holiday activity at a time into your schedule (bake, wrap gifts, decorate the tree, address cards, or write a Christmas letter, etc.) and don’t set your goals so high that you lose sight of why you do what you do.

Simplify Your System: Shop online, cook less, cook ahead and freeze food, drop any thoughts about a “perfect” holiday and just enjoy the things you do. Stop formal schooling in December and “school” your children using holiday activities, crafts, and gift making.

Lighten Your Load: Eliminate activities that won’t make a difference for eternity, including overspending. Some things aren’t worth the anguish. Enlist the family’s help with cleaning, baking, and decorating. It is good training for your children, and this isn’t the time to do it all by yourself.

Establish a Tradition: Your children will remember simple, meaningful traditions. I made a special Advent calendar when my boys were young that we read from every year during December. We added an ornament each year for each son (trying to depict something special for that year in the choice and adding the year’s date to the ornament), which gave them a set of special tree ornaments to take with them when they established their own homes. Every year we ate a particular breakfast casserole on Christmas morning that I made the night before and just popped into the oven to bake while my husband read the Christmas story from Scripture before we opened gifts. I joyfully passed the Advent calendar on to our youngest son for his first child, our grandson, and I cried when our son sent me a picture of him reading one day’s reading to our precious grandson, continuing the tradition. We still make the breakfast casserole and read the Scripture before opening gifts, and our grown sons and grandchildren look forward to those traditions when we are together for Christmas. Choose your own meaningful and simple activities to establish your family traditions.

Slow Down: Why do we believe we have to cram in so much during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season? “One half the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quick and not saying no soon enough” (Josh Billings, quoted in Little Things, The Peter Pauper Press, 1969). Slow down to eternal speed and enjoy your family!

Savor the Season: A. A. Milne (creator of Winnie-the-Pooh) says this about organization: “Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” In order to display God’s glory through our homes and families, we don’t want the season to be “all mixed up.” With simple principles, you can reverse what is often a stress-inducing season. You and your family will reap the peaceful rewards of a joyous holiday celebrating the real meaning of Christmas. Who knows? You may even find time to share your holiday with others who need to know the reason for the season.

Permission to reprint granted ©Marilyn Rockett, 2013. Used by permission. For reprint permission, contact Marilyn Rockett – Marilyn@MarilynRockett.com

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