Do you already feel the stress of the holidays? Don’t panic. It happens every year to most of us. We know it’s coming and yet we let it slip up on us, then say, “Next year, I am going to be better prepared. This won’t happen again.”

Here are four tips to thrive rather than just survive the season.

PRAY. God doesn’t want us overwhelmed to the point of exhaustion. The best way we can overcome stress and enjoy the “season to be jolly” is by praying and staying close to the Lord. Start your morning with coffee and Jesus. They go well together and will kick-start your day. Life is just plain better with both.

PLAN. Schedule what needs to be done. Write a to-do list. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Pull out your calendar and look ahead. Start early! No time like the present!

A few things to add to the calendar this month:

1. Clean the most necessary areas of your house. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Just pick up, pack up, and put away. De-clutter!
2. Remove spots before visitors come over. The toilets, bathroom sinks and counters, the kitchen counters and sinks, the refrigerator and microwave. Do one room at a time or pick an evening and do just one or two things. Spread the jobs out.
3. Vacuum as needed. If you’re expecting company on Friday and you have to work all week, do it Thursday night.
4. Get the kids to help. Write down the chores they need to do. The best time to do this is a few hours before they want to do something else–that pushes them to get it done quickly.
5. Make individual lists for Christmas gifts, food, places to go, and miscellaneous needs.
6. Decorate early. If you know it takes two to three weeks to decorate your house and you want it to be ready the day after Thanksgiving, don’t wait until the day after Thanksgiving to begin. I start on November 1st. I have a 12-foot tree in one room and a six-foot tree in my front room. I can’t decorate both of them in just one weekend. Start early.
7. Review your credit resources. My sweet man puts aside money in our Christmas Club account every year, and boy, is that a lifesaver. I know it may be too late for that this year, but it is not too early to start one for next year. Anything is better than nothing!

A rushed schedule leads to panic and problems. An unrushed spirit leads to prosperity, faith and success.

PREPARE. Here are some things I try to do ahead of time:

1. Stock up on Christmas boxes, gift wrap, extra lights, tape, and gift tags.
2. Shop online. I did this more last year than ever before and loved it.
3. Ask yourself, “How important is this in the scheme of things? Can I live without doing this?
Can I live without this?”
4. Start a “Thank you journal” for your family. Keep it in a well-traveled place like
the kitchen and ask everyone if they would be willing to share something they’re
thankful for in the months of November and December. What a blessing!
5. Play Christmas music and prepare times to laugh with your family. Let them know
when the tree will be going up. Prepare family dinner time around the table.

PROSPER. When we start the planning and preparing early in November, we will prosper with an unrushed spirit and thankful heart.

1. We will be less overwhelmed and more joyful.
2. We will be more thankful.
3. Our family will enjoy us more.
4. We will be filled more with the Spirit of Christ and less filled with anxiety.
5. Our hearts will have more room for Jesus.
6. We will have more days for rest and relaxation.
7. We will have more time to enjoy Christmas lights and programs.
Remember, the season is all about bringing Him honor and glory. Less of me and more of Him!

I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Remember, start now! If you have any more tips to share, please leave a comment below.

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About Brenda McGraw

Brenda McGraw is the founder of Ask God Today Ministries where a team of writers share hope and truth with others. She has a God-given dream to reach the masses with the gospel of Christ. Brenda is an author and speaker who reveals how to discover joy beyond the clutter of life. She draws from her own life experiences in the #1 Amazon Best seller,“Joy Beyond, 28 Days to Finding Joy Beyond the Clutter of Life”. She has two new books released. Finished, Top Ten Steps to Finish Writing a Book and Living Uncluttered, An Abundant Life Bible Study.

Brenda lives in South Carolina with her husband, Jeff and one of their five children. She is a survivor of breast cancer and a heart attack. Despite the challenges she has endured, Brenda found peace through her relationship with Jesus Christ.

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