So you wake up this morning and realized it is the 24th of December. Maybe you have another day at work or maybe you happily remember that you are off today and snuggle down further under your covers. Perhaps you lay there wondering, where did the month go? Was the month of December full of days of frantic rushing around in preparation for the busy day of Christmas or did you manage to carve some time out for peace, solitude and spiritual reflection?
In past Christmases, I have creatively prepared for Christmas, spiritually prepared for Christmas, frantically prepared for Christmas, drove myself to exhaustion in preparation for Christmas and even tried on one or two occasions to just ‘wing it’.
There are and have been many articles written over the years with lots of opinions on how we should celebrate and prepare for Christmas. There are also lots of family expectations which can drive a person up a wall. Suddenly you are in demand. Come here, go there, cook the meal, buy the gifts and don’t forget Auntie Sue who needs a lift to ___. You begin to feel exhausted, depleted and may even get ill. Perhaps you go to church one Sunday morning only to find yourself sobbing inside because the Minister has just informed you that you forgot someone else. In all your busyness, you forgot to put “Christ first”.
First of all, I want to let you off the hook by stating there is no right way to celebrate Christmas. However, if you are making yourself ill with exhaustion and psychological pressure then you have definitely found a wrong way. Hopefully, it’s not too late to save this Christmas for you or at least take some of the pressure off. Here are a few tips you may consider:
- Carve out a small space of time for you. Not a big chunk of time which leaves you worried about how much time is wasting but a small bit. How much time is down to you but if you are extremely busy you can try five minutes in the morning, five minutes in the afternoon and five minutes in the evening. Even you can afford five minutes! Go to a quiet room and put on your earphones and listen to something that works as a real mood-changer or maybe read a passage in a book or a poem or look at your pictures from your last vacation or light a scented candle and just breathe. I like to take a bit of time and actually gaze at my Christmas tree. After all, I should get to enjoy my efforts too!
- Delegate! Are you looking at today’s ‘To Do’ list and feeling overwhelmed? If anything on the list is important to someone else, get them to do it! If it’s not important to anyone, cross it off the list. Do you really need to go to the supermarket one last time? It will be mad today! Skip the carrots, stuffing or vodka and do yourself a favor and stay in and if someone complains then you know what to do..
- Got a lot of cooking or cleaning to do? Put on some lively music and dance while you work. Smile at everyone who walks in the room and grab them in your arms and make them dance with you. Teens love this! 😉
- Remember to laugh! Mash potatoes fall on the floor? Laugh, take a picture to put on Facebook or Instagram later for some sympathy and shared LOL’s with friends.
- Throughout the day, take some time out to reflect on what’s going right and what’s going wrong. Do you need to be doing something differently? Decide to make a change and go out there and do it!
- Make time for hugs. They don’t last long and it can make you feel supported and loved.
- Take some deep breaths and smile! This can actually help in an extra small way to restore some energy.
When it is all over and you have more time, write down some tips for next year’s Christmas preparations. Start a Christmas journal to make things easier in Christmases to come. For instance, I have kept notes of gifts I have given every year to avoid duplication or forgetting someone the following year.
Wishing you all a peaceful and joyous Christmas!