Adapted from D.J. Adams
Christmas is a great time for sharing, for getting together with old friends and new, for rediscovering the importance of family and of spirituality.
But Christmas can also be hectic and even frustrating if we don’t manage our time and our moods correctly during the holiday season. I know.—I run a bookstore/game store that gets tremendously busy during November and December, and yet I, too, have a family that wants me to spend extra time with them, shopping to do, parties to go to, and so on.
Since I talk to a lot of frantic people every year around this time, I have some words of advice that hopefully can help you get the best out of this wonderful season, without it getting the best of you.
Keep your perspective, and remember what Christmas is about. Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The concepts of “peace on earth” and “goodwill toward men” (and women!) are universal and worth sharing. It’s sometimes difficult to remember this when you’re battling for a parking space in an overcrowded mall parking lot, but it’s worth the effort.
Plan ahead. Why are so many of us shocked each year that it’s suddenly almost Christmas and we haven’t done a thing to prepare? Yes, you can wait till the last minute, but how much better and easier to pick up gifts early, wrap them, and put them in a closet? You can even start Christmas craft projects in July! By the time December rolls around, you won’t have much to do except to enjoy yourself—and to be envied by those of us who wish we’d been as organized!
Keep it simple. Simplicity is a virtue. Holiday celebrations don’t have to be complex, and shouldn’t be. Gift-giving should be about showing someone you care about him or her, not about impressing him or her with how well-off you are. Don’t let yourself get snowed under by volunteering to bake two million cookies for the school Christmas party. Give of yourself, by all means—but don’t offer to give something you don’t have. Your family, your friends, your coworkers, your community, and others all have claims on your time, so budget accordingly.
Be charitable. Charity begins in the home, but it is not meant to end there. The gifts we most enjoy giving often are ones that go to strangers and near-strangers. Are there families in your area whose children aren’t getting much this holiday? Why not buy an extra toy, game, puzzle, or whatnot each time you go Christmas shopping, and give the extras to those folks who don’t have extra? Maybe your school or workplace can organize something. If they do, and if you can, volunteer. It’s very fulfilling, and helping others is one of the best ways in the world to defeat stress in your own life.
Plan some quiet time. For some, this might mean going to early morning Christmas gatherings with other believers. It’s a great way to start the day. For others, it might mean setting time aside each day for quiet reflection on the beauty of Christmas. But for sure plan to stop, pray, be thankful, and fill up your heart with God’s good things.
Christmas is a wonderful time of year—enjoy it!