Doing Life Together

joy-1823939_1920If you are already tired of holiday songs, something has gone wrong. Maybe you need to regroup and think about ways to keep Christmas joy going. We are only at the beginning of the season! So, get a little introspective and  make a few changes to rid yourself of a bah hum bug mood!

1) Pace yourself. Christmas seems to get bigger and bigger and longer as the stores put up  decorations in October! If you got on the early decorating train, slow it down and offer to help others decorate. When it comes to Christmas, delay a little to make it more special. Maybe help a friend who buys a tree at the last minute or wait to do more shopping. Don’t listen to Christmas songs 24/7. You need to build a little excitement for the actual holiday. And if you are just getting started, pace yourself. When you do Christmas activities on your own time frame rather than being rushed to get it all done, you enjoy it more.

2) Money, money, money...have a budget. Nothing can spoil Christmas joy like debt. Don’t fall victim to the spending fury. Develop a budget ahead of time and stick to it. Think homemade gifts, services you could offer,  and other ways you can give besides spending money on lavish gifts. And watch your on-line purchases as those dollars can really add up. If you went all out on Black Friday, consider your gift giving complete. Tis the season to be jolly, so spend within your means.

3) Plan and then plan some more. Nothing creates stress like simply reacting to last minute details and having no plan. This is not the time of year to just roll with things. Get organized, think logistics and work ahead. Shop early and get it done to avoid last minute gift buying stress. Cook ahead and make travel plans early enough to save on costs. Think ahead, make lists and delegate the tasks. The key is to be less reactive and more organized.

4) Get your mindset ready for the relatives. Focus on their good points, minimize time with them if they are particularly difficult, and remember this is the time of good cheer. Wait for that family fight until after the holidays. Agree to disagree and determine to be civil to each other. Make a decision– you will enjoy the positive parts of Christmas with your family this year. You will be nice even if they are not. And you will intentional try to create positive memories. Develop a positive mindset before the family arrives.

5) Don’t be the Grinch. Get off the commercialization and plan spiritual activities to celebrate the holidays. This will ground you and help you focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Attend Christmas services, do the advent candles, read the Christmas story, watch movies, plays and attend choral events that put Christ front and center. A spiritual focus will help you get along better with others and approach the season with true joy because the message of Christmas is joy to the world–the Savior comes!



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