Do you get frazzled and exhausted by Christmas day each year?
Are you ready for it all to just be OVER by December 15th?
Do all the events, baking and gift wrapping bring
you joy and excitement?
Depending on the day, we all fall somewhere on the above spectrum during the Christmas season.
I love Christmas, but each year I grow weary of the never-ending Christmas To-Do List. A few years ago I made some decisions to simplify Christmas. I want to encourage you to simplify Christmas.
I have been pondering those decisions for a few years now.
Each year it seems the Christmas season gets more commercialized. You need this . . . You must have that . . . Get this deal now or it is gone forever . . . . I feel the true meaning of Christmas is lost between the movies, endless parties, and events from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas! It is one of my favorite times of the year, but can also be one of the hardest times of the year as well. Whether you are single or married, many relationships are reflected upon at this time. Christmastime can reveal the empty or painful places in our lives. However, Christmas is not merely gifts and It’s A Wonderful Life moments. Christmas is the time to focus on the gift God gave us in the form of His One and Only Son.
When I was a little girl Christmas was greatly anticipated. I would wake up around 4 am to sneak down to the living room to see what was under the tree. I would see what was for me, and if any gift was open, you know I had to touch it and look at it. I would sit there for a little while and look at the tree with its lights on. This is still one of my favorite things to do is look at the lights on the tree at night. It is possible I unwrapped some presents, and then wrapped them back up. Shh! Don’t tell Santa or my parents!
My mom always had the Nativity either under the tree or nearby. Christmas was not right without the Nativity. This helped us to keep our focus on the season.
Have you ever wanted to opt out of Christmas? I don’t think I could ever really do it, because I love to give gifts, decorate, and go see lights all around town. I wish there was a way to slow Christmas down. I know for kids it cannot come fast enough. For all the adults, it feels like a whirlwind from Saturday before Thanksgiving until Christmas Day. Oh! Don’t forget the “after Christmas” sales, returns, and exchanges.
Stop and think about your favorite Christmas memory. Who were you with? What were you doing? I bet it did not involve a Black Friday sales flyer or Cyber Monday sale. My favorite Christmas memories are of time spent with family, just having fun apart from the normal pace of life.
Many of us in America, me included, get lost in the busyness of the season and forget to enjoy the true meaning. I want to be like David in Psalm 63:6:
“I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night.”
For me Christmas is about the simple birth of Jesus in a simple barn with very meager beginnings. The angels announcing Christ’s birth were his only fanfare.
Below are a few suggestions for you to implement in a way works best for you and your family.
Four Decisions To Simplify Christmas:
- Decide Your Focus
How can you and your family focus more on the reason Jesus was born than what gifts you want?
Jesus came to love others and set us free. How can you and your family love others this Christmas?
- Decide On Your Budget
Most people find the “B” word confining or too time consuming, but yet it is actually freeing. When you take the time to plan how much you can spend, it is easier to shop. You will save time by not looking at gifts out of the budget range.
Imagine not receiving any bills in January for Christmas presents you bought in December. The idea of stressing yourself out with debt has bugged me for years, and I have been guilty of doing this. Americans in general go into a lot of debt over the Christmas season.
Some feel obligated to give lavishly. Some have a lot of people in their family and many to buy for. Some feel you must go overboard for it to be Christmas.
Many of these thoughts are part of our mindset from childhood. If we grew up with little, we want our children to have more. If we grew up with much, we feel we need to keep the standard up or do even more. We don’t want to appear poor or stingy.
Setting boundaries and limits on how much you will spend does not make you a Scrooge. It makes you wise in how you spend your money. The money God gives to us is expected to be used with discernment.
We need the wisdom of Proverbs 13:16:
“Wise people think before they act;
fools don’t-and even brag about their foolishness.”
We all have a choice as to whom and how much we will give. Take time to plan for this year, and start planning for next year. Can you set aside money each month for Christmas throughout the year?
- Decide On Your Decorations
How much time will you spend decorating?
Decorations can consume a lot of time and money too. This is an area in which I can easily go overboard, yet over the years I have tried to keep it simple by reusing most of my decorations each year.
Decide how you will decorate outside as well as inside. We are usually out of town for Christmas and do not decorate much outside. However, we love to see how other people do.
Some people prefer minimal decorating. On the other end of the spectrum, some people want a tree in every room and have a theme. They have lights all over outside. Nothing wrong with this if you enjoy all the decorating and then all the putting away when the season is over.
I definitely fall in the middle. I am not so sparse you would barely know we love Christmas. You will see a little Christmas in most of the living areas of my house, but it is not oozing out everywhere either.
Again, all of this takes time to plan and tend to. How much is enough or what is too much for you and your family? Simple decor and more time as a family may be a better option for different seasons of our lives.
- Decide On Your Events
How many pageants must you or do you want to attend?
What parties are important to you and which ones can you skip?
Make a Christmas planning calendar or add it to your current calendar. Make sure you have time to for fun and to relax.
Plan your time with family. When we first moved away from family our son was a baby, and the first Christmas back home was traumatic. Our families lived two miles from each other, and everyone wanted to see our son and spend time with us. Both sides of the family meant well, but did not consult with us when making plans. Feelings were hurt, and I was stuck in the middle.
After this chaos we started planning before we left which family we were going to spend time with on what days. This made for a more enjoyable trip for all. Even then I was not able to be with my family for all the great things they did, and we were not with my husband’s family the whole time.
The Choice Is Yours
Simplifying Christmas is about making choices to focus on what is important to you and your family. Taking time to plan your focus for the month, staying in a comfortable budget, deciding how you want to decorate, and how you want to spend your time this month will bring peace to your heart and joy to your family.
Take some time to consider this question:
What is truly important to you and your family?
What do you do to tame the chaos
of Christmas each year?
Please share in the comments below.
- The Oxymoron Of Freedom - July 17, 2017
- Father TIME - June 9, 2017
- Are You Waiting On God? - May 26, 2017
- Are You Seeking God? - April 5, 2017
- No Super Parents Necessary - March 10, 2017
- How Do You Truly Love? - February 10, 2017
- Why Do We Go Through Hard Times? - January 13, 2017
- Choose To Simplify Christmas - December 19, 2016
- Where Do You Find True Joy? - November 11, 2016
- Unlikely People in Unlikely Places - October 17, 2016