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Now that we have reached November, some of you might be thinking about planning for Christmas. Today I will be encouraging your to stay focused on the joy of the holiday season and not the stresses that might come along with it.
When you look back at last year’s Christmas season, do you recall it being stressful or do you remember the joy that took part in the planning and the day’s events? Was it a time when you felt in over your head with decorating, baking, shopping and hosting? If so, let’s try to make a change this year!
I like to think of Christmas as a time to celebrate the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ! With this as the main focus behind the holiday, I remind myself during the moments when I get caught up in the “not so important stuff” that everything will be ok.
Don’t get me wrong, I take part in the Christmas decorating around my home. I make a few batches of Christmas cookies every year; I like to shop and buy gifts for my husband, my girls and extended family and friends, and I like to host Christmas parties when my time allows. But if I start to notice that those things are getting in the way of celebrating the real reason behind Christmas, I know I need to re-evaluate my choices.
STICK TO YOUR CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS AND MAKE THEM A PRIORITY
My Christmas traditions are pretty simple, but oh so special to me. I love to go to our church’s Christmas Eve service, then have fun with my family celebrating afterwards where all the kids have fun playing and laughing together. Before going to bed we read The Christmas Story from the book of Luke in the Bible.
On Christmas, my husband and I love watching our girls look over the banister at our Christmas tree bright and early in the morning to see all their gifts sitting there by the fireplace. I love to make Monkey Bread early in the morning, which is what my grandmother always used to make during the holidays. We also have a tradition of cooking “Christmas Bacon”. The smell is just so good!
After we have family time at our house, we head over to my mother-in-law’s house to celebrate the holiday with her and the rest of the family. The kids have so much fun together, playing with their new toys, doing gymnastics and whatever else kids do. We just have a great time together as a family. And of course we have a yummy Christmas dinner together and have lots of dessert!
All the planning and prepping can steal the joy away from the special time you can have with your loved ones. Christmas comes and goes in a flash. I encourage you to cherish every minute of that day and try not to get caught up in the little things that usually don’t matter years down the road.
Have fun baking those cookies, putting the tree up, driving from store to store to find that perfect gift! Take the pressure off yourself to have the perfect Christmas. Instead encourage yourself to just have fun!
Time To Make Another List!
I like making lists, if you haven’t noticed by now. Let’s get that pen and paper out and write down all the things that you want to accomplish this holiday season.
-Decorate the house
-Bake Christmas Cookies with the girls
-Get new Christmas Dresses for the girls
-Make little treat bags for the neighbors
-Plan Christmas Eve/Christmas Day menu
Now that you wrote your list, number them in order making number 1 the priority item. Once you numbered them, go ahead and write goal dates next to each item. This might motivate you to stay focused on what you want to accomplish and get it done in time.
If you feel like your list is a bit long and, well, impossible to accomplish, cross some items off the list. Realistically, you just might NOT be able to get everything done. It’s ok. Try to put some realistic expectations on yourself. You have a lot on your plate. Focus on what’s most important to you and avoid the stress!
Enjoy the holidays this year, and make a lot of lasting memories with your loved one. If you feel like you are getting more stressed as you get closer to Christmas day, come back to this post, reread it, and take a deep breath. You don’t have to do it all. Just enjoy your family time and love the fact that you get to celebrate the holidays with them!
I would love to hear how you handle stress during the holiday season? If you have any other helpful tips that coincide with our main focus for today, I would love to hear about them. Comment below!
Dr. Jena Bradley, DPT