Happy * Festive * Joyous * Giving * Family
Stressful * Hectic * Chaotic * Insane * Relatives
Which list would you use to describe this time of year? It says a lot about your anticipation (or anxiety) regarding the holiday season. Have you ever noticed the difference in using the term family versus relatives? If things were simpler and less stressful, would you enjoy this season more? After all, we should value this special time with family and friends, celebrating all the wonderful traditions.
My mother gave me a sweatshirt years ago that read, “Tis the season to be STRESSED!” It summed up my attitude toward it all – the shopping, the parties, the decorating, the shopping again, the lists, the baking, the wrapping, the road trips, the shopping one more time, because the kids just asked for something new on Christmas Eve!
I had lost perspective on what really mattered. I realized that even God appreciates simplicity – Jesus was born in a very simple way. How did this time become so complicated…to the point I no longer enjoyed, but dreaded it? I realized I had to change my approach. Perhaps, some of you struggle in the same way and could benefit from my epiphany.
Make a list and check it twice? Keep a calendar and shopping list. Update it as you receive the invites or school reminders. Everything in one location, that is portable.
Cut down on the shopping trips? Resist the temptation to make multiple trips to the stores. We all spend more than we originally planned if we keep shopping.
Buy less, but better, more thoughtful gifts? Be creative. Make something that reflects your affection for the recipient.
Plan a special time or event that can be treasured forever? Memories and photos are never given away or tossed out with the trash.
Decorate fewer areas in your home? At one time, I was setting up seven trees in my small home!
Plan ahead with baking and wrapping supplies? Check what you have before picking up more at the store. Add this to your master list.
Prepare activities for the road trip? Pull it together when things are calmer (like November). Set up an area to store it, even the gifts. Keep everything together that you need for that last minute, running out the door.
Make a list and stick to the plan? Do this BEFORE you go shopping. Be more deliberate about what you purchase.
Establish a budget? If you can, pay with cash. January will not be so depressing when all the credit card statements arrive.
May you truly find Hassle-Free Living this season!