This is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. It is often the most stressful time of the year. The pace is frenetic, the spending is relentless, and even Christmas day is nearly manic for many. I hope this year you can create a different feel, pace, and reality for Christmas. Here are ten ways to make it awesome.
Get some great music going. Create a Christmas playlist on your music streaming service and put it on repeat. Get a good Pandora station. In my home, we love A Celtic Celebration by Night Heron Consort. We always listen to Christmas by Plus One (a nineties Christian boy band…don’t judge us). Maybe for you it is that great Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas album or something classical such as J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.
Finish your shopping early. Like, is it done yet? I know some who make it part of the Christmas tradition to start and finish shopping in one day. However you do it, don’t wait until the days before. Make your list, check it twice, shop. Soon. Being done then lets you focus on people and experiences.
Chill about the gifts. This is hard for many to do, but imagine if the focus came off the glitzy store-bought gifts and went onto the handmade gifts or gift of one’s presence. Some of the best gifts ever are handmade gifts from our girls. One of them was a tongue depressor with a face drawn and wrapped in linen. It was baby Jesus, although the face looks amazingly like Homer Simpson. We call it Baby Homer and it is a treasured gift.
Add candles. Lots of candles. Give your home a winter night’s vibe. It changes the feel of the room and you’ll feel like it is a special season. Look up Advent candles at home and make that part of it too.
Make room for a daily devotional. Find a time each day that you will read. If you have others at home with you, work hard to find a time to do this together. This is far more than a commercial season of gifts and parties, it is above all a spiritual season. Give it space. Google “Advent Devotional book” and choose one that looks good.
Pick one person or family to bless. Surprise them with a meal, baked goodies, or some outpouring of care. You decide if you do that secretly or out in the open, but find the thrill of making a difference in another person’s life.
Go Christmas caroling. Get neighbors, family, church friends and go singing through the neighborhood or a care facility. Bring hot chocolate with you (yes, even here in Florida where you will be singing in 75 degree weather). There is nothing like seeing people smile as you sing.
Watch the movie Elf. I know I should say watch some Jesus movie like The Nativity. Or a classic like It’s a Wonderful Life. Or Christmas Vacation. You can do that too. Have some fun with family and friends and watch Elf together.
Volunteer somewhere. Give the gift of your time to a shelter, food bank, hospital, or anyplace taking care of people.
Go to a Christmas Eve church service. Look for one that has candle lighting. Hear the story once more among people who share your faith. Be ready for Christmas morning that way.
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