Well-it is Christmas (in 4 weeks, but it will go fast!)
Are you like me and have all of these grand plans and ideas of how you want your Christmas to be, and then the closer to Christmas you get you start rethinking EVERYTHING and then skip all the things that were SO important to you before you got busy??
Well let me tell you-that is pretty much me EVERY year. This year was going to be different, it was going to be THE YEAR. Christmas lights outside, decorations ALL over the house, trees in every room, and the most presents ever… And now it is December……
This year 5 out of 7 people in my house are in a major theater production of A Time for Christmas. This means LOTS of practices, trips back and forth-and coming up, 5 days (2 weekends) of performances. This is all great-but that means I have to altar some things that I had planned on.
In our house we celebrate the birth of Christ as the meaning of Christmas, but as the day gets closer that seems to be less and less the reason we are doing everything- and I hate that. So how do you celebrate that? Do you just try to “fit in Jesus” and his birthday? On December 1st I was going to start the whole 25 days until Christmas Advent and we were going to do something EVERY day to prepare for Christmas and keep Jesus in the center of it all. Well- I forgot there is play practice, and birthday parties, and school events and activities we got invited to-and the Psych movie on December 7th…(I am very EXCITED about that one)
So I took some time to look at the list of everything that I wanted and planned to do, and compared it with the actual schedule of everyone in my family to figure out what will actually WORK. If I stress everyone out and start yelling ” Christmas is about JESUS and we have to do all these things or else” everyone will just miss the point anyways and not like me ( I have learned that by experience)
Here are some things I CHANGED on my Christmas plans for my family. It was hard at first because once I make plans, having to change them is a struggle, but I had to realize that things change all the time, and if I don’t flow with it I will end up being upset or miserable, and then that will spread to everyone else sooo here is what I did..
- Instead of doing 25 days of bringing Christ into Christmas devotional EVERY day..I switched to this..Advent Christmas Tree Devotional . Each week (so 4 weekends in a row) you do a different thing for your Christmas tree. So this weekend we will get our tree..and if we don’t, I have a fake tree that I will do this with and then get our other tree later. But I can get started this weekend no matter what on the Advent AND the tree-this combines 2 things together for me. Then we will read a daily scripture and talk about it in the morning during breakfast instead of at night.
- Gifts for friends, teachers, etc. I had this great idea of buying things and making baskets etc, but when? My husband and kids are in the play, so I am buying tickets to the play for people I see and would have bought a ticket(s) for instead of a gift. No wrapping and they will have a great time.
- My husband’s birthday is in the middle of December…anyone else have December birthdays? Well I planned a trip for January, and then ON his birthday he will find out about the trip as far as where we are going etc. No shopping, no spending money (until January) and he will still be very excited.
- I skipped Family Pictures. I am going to have someone take our picture as a family while we are at church on a Sunday and post it on facebook-lame? maybe, but trying to coordinate everyone’s schedule to do something only I wanted to do wasn’t worth it. We will do an actual family portrait in the spring.
- I really wanted to see the Psych movie that will be on Decmber 7th. (If you like Psych-you will understand) but with the play performances and practices-that is our only free night that week..
So, I am going to have all of the cookie dough, recipes and decorations ready to go, and we will make cookies, decorate cookies, put together goodie packages for our neighbors, and do any gift wrapping that needs to be done together as a family WHILE we are watching the movie.
- The Nativity Story- We always read it out of the Bible and watch the movie during Christmas, but there are only a few evenings we are home this month and I can’t guarantee that we all will be home at the same time..so
I am going to put the movie in the car and we will watch it while we drive back and forth to play practice, or shopping, etc. We should be able to fit it in a few times.
- Christmas lights and activities-I wanted to do like 10 different things, but we will go to Old Sacramento and watch the Theater of Lights and drive through the Fab 40’s Christmas Light Display .
- Planout AFTER Christmas. Christmas is on Monday, and then for the next 2 weeks my kids will be home from school, so it is going to go from BUSY BUSY BUSY to “I’m Bored” so instead of stressing everyone out trying to do everything, Some events can actually be done after Christmas. Also, keep this in mind if you haven’t finished shopping yet. Gift Cards, Movie Passes, and Activity Groupons are GREAT ideas to plan ahead for this time. Otherwise, you will have a whole separate expense AFTER Christmas. I would rather my kids say “Can we go use my In N Out gift card today? Rather than Can we go out for lunch (which means I am paying for us to go out to eat after I spend so much money on Christmas already..)
- Plan a trip for a day or two out of town, even if it is local. This can take up some vacation time. It can also be part of a Christmas gift. Taking my kids to a hotel is very exciting for them. They get to swim, eat a great breakfast, and enjoy doing things that are in the area. If you have points on a credit card, or find a good deal, this could be a great family gift. The Embassy Suites in Sacramento is $159 right now for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and you get a night reception, free breakfast, indoor swimming, and you can walk around downtown or Old Sac-plus see the Festival of Lights at night. We did that a few years ago and it is still a great memory.
Once again-FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. You may celebrate in completely different ways or for different reasons, but having some sort of a plan to make some enjoyable memories will be worth it later.