The M & M’s of Life – Ten Quick Tips for a Hassle-free Holiday
The first weekend of December is upon us, folks! Don’t hide out in dismay. Enjoy every moment with these 10 quick tips for a hassle-free holiday.
- Start shopping early. Shop throughout the year and find places that offer layaway or monthly payments without added interest. Look for great deals after the holidays. Shop online and keep your sanity by avoiding high traffic areas on weekends. 🙂
- Set realistic goals. Decide which holiday activities you most want to do and what you’ll need to skip. Make a plan and stick to it. This year, I’ve purchased show tickets as presents so we can celebrate and make memories all at one time.
- Stay focused . It’s Jesus’ birthday. Savor all that means in meaningful ways instead of bagging it and tagging it. Attend a Christmas service as a family, read the Story from Luke, and make the most of the Advent season.
- Stay healthy. Plates of Christmas cookies and mugs filled with egg nog provide ample opportunity to put on a few pounds. You’ll have more energy and less regret if you’ll practice moderation, drink extra water during dry, cold seasons, and get exercise. Don’t skip the festivities; just add a cycle class, a local hike, or an evening walk around the block to your holiday routine.
- Share Christmas. Give Christmas away to someone. Choose one of many worthy local or worldwide causes to contribute to as a family. This season can serve as a powerful vehicle to teach the value of giving. One of my favorite moments on Thanksgiving day was making a sock snowman with local children at the motels where we served Thanksgiving dinner as a church. You’ll get more by giving more.
- See beauty in unexpected places. Look for ways to bring out the best in that harried employee or frazzled cashier. Pace – don’t race – and you’ll notice people in the flurry of holiday activities. I discovered beauty in unexpected ways when I visited Bethlehem. Behind thick walls that separate Israel from Palestine, were beautiful people refusing to be diminished by brokenness. This Christmas, let your strength define you, not your surroundings.
- Stay within your budget. The January blues will hit harder than Sugar Rae Leonard if you splurge all month on purchases outside your budget. If you can’t pay it off within a month, don’t get it. The thought counts far more than a lavish purchase you can’t afford.
- Seek ways to encourage those who are particularly lonely at holiday seasons. Include those grieving the loss of a spouse or those reeling from divorce in your holiday plans. Be sensitive to those struggling with the pain of estranged relationships. Send that card…make that call…take the time to let them know they’re valuable and loved.
- Space out the workload. I’ve spent many a Christmas Eve wrapping presents until wee hours of the morning or standing on my feet for hours cooking the latest recipe I saw on The Chew. By the time Christmas morning rolled around, I was exhausted and crabby. Spread your workload over days or even weeks, freezing meals in advance and wrapping all you can early. Don’t allow too many labor intensive items to rob you of the best moments of Christmas.
- Stay present. It’s easy to get distracted by the many preparations and unique challenges that come with the holiday season. People matter more than things; stay present with those around you.
Take a deep breath. Grab a cup of hot cocoa, put your feet up, and watch the latest Hallmark movie. Indulge yourself a few hours of peace and quiet as you embark on the holiday season. More than anything, keep your heart fixed on the true reason we pause to celebrate: God so loved a broken, splintered world, that He gave His one and only Son. That whoever – WHOEVER – believes that Jesus is the Son of God – would not perish but have eternal life. The best tip for a hassle-free holiday? Keep your heart on Jesus. Love Jesus and love people. God is sending you out this December to a broken, splintered world…the Target employee, the lonely neighbor, the harried mom of littles. Be Jesus to someone this Christmas and watch in wonder as you discover His beauty in unexpected places.
Make Your Life Matter No Matter What
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