Good and bad, things rarely go as planned during the busy holiday season. Someone gets sick, an unexpected invitation, you find out there are 13 more people coming to an event than originally planned… you name it. Stuff happens and it happens big during such a busy season. You cannot prepare for everything but you can take steps to make them not hurt as badly. Here are just a few thoughts…
- Stay healthy: Take care of yourself and your people. Drink plenty of water, eat your veggies, get some sleep. Do all you can to prevent getting sick but be willing to say “no thanks” if you’re just not up to it.
- Plan downtime: We can’t go-go-go every minute of every day. If it will help, plan a few days to do nothing. Work in a movie and pizza night. Schedule a day off work to get some stuff off your to do list or to just rest.
- Prioritize and stick to it: You need to revisit your list of “hopes” and put a value on them. If Polar Express night in your jammies is important, give it a date and when that invitation comes in for the same night, politely decline. Do not make yourself crazy trying to do all the things. Decide what is important to you and make it happen. If you can’t fit something in, accept it.
- Let go of guilt: We can’t do it all every year. Do what you can, enjoy your time and let that be good enough. No one will remember that one year you didn’t make your famous 47 layer cake but they will remember that you sat with them, enjoyed your time and laughed. Present is better than perfect.
- Leave room for magic: When we’re hurried, stressed and overwhelmed we miss out on a lot. This is why it’s important to take care of the things that don’t matter now so we’re not missing out on the things that really matter later. Wouldn’t you rather ice cookies with your little one than run out for a silly roll of tape? Or sit and read a book instead of scouring amazon for 10 more gifts. Give yourself space to experience all the magic of the season.
- Leave room for quiet: If I don’t have my morning quiet/productive time, my day is ruined. This might sound like I’m being dramatic, but it’s the truth. Even if you don’t need that time, you do need time for quiet during the Christmas Season. Plan for downtime, quiet time, restful time. Get in the mindset NOW that you will make that a priority. Start today and you have plenty of time to make it a habit before Thanksgiving!
- Remember the Reason: This goes hand in hand with room for quiet. I’m not about to shame anyone for doing all the Christmas stuff- elves, cookies, gifts, all of it or not. But regardless of what you choose to fill your time with, do not forget the real reason. It’s hard when we get busy to fit in the things that don’t appear as urgent (i.e. there will be no tantrums if you don’t read about Jesus’ birth like there would be if you forgot to move the elf) but we all know what is the most important thing. Decide now that Jesus is your priority for the season. I’m not implying he isn’t then or everyday for you, I’m just encouraging you to speak it, write it or whatever you need to do to make it even more concrete. Then take the steps you need to make it happen. Maybe that’s an Advent study, or planning specific nights to read certain scriptures, or planning service time… whatever that looks like for you be intentional about not getting caught up in the fluff and missing out on there real stuff.
Action now creates space and quiet for later. We’ve spent 3 days chatting about these tasks and mindsets that can easily fit into your days now. Do yourself a favor and work now to create rest for later. We’ve got this… and we’re not even to halloween yet! Well done!