For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.
Friend to Friend
Do you dread the Christmas holidays or do you look forward to them? Did you promise yourself that this Christmas would be different? How is that working out for you? I have been there many times and want to share some tips that will help you get the most out of the holiday season.
Create a Christmas countdown calendar. Plan a special holiday event to mark each day of the season. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate.
- Plan an evening with hot cocoa in front of a crackling fire.
- Choose one night of the week to watch a Christmas movie or program.
- Make picking the perfect tree a family event.
- Buy a box of Chocolate-covered cherries and eat one a day.
- Buy or exchange Christmas books to read during December.
- Invite close friends over for a casual Christmas dinner. Keep it simple. Ask everyone to bring a favorite Christmas dish
Embrace the senses of the season.
- Keep cinnamon sticks simmering on the stove.
- Make a batch of Christmas cookies.
- Buy candles and burn them every day.
- Listen to instrumental Christmas music so you can concentrate on the melody instead of the words.
- Plan a family night to see Christmas lights.
Share the holidays. In other words, don’t deny others the opportunity to invest in the Christmas season by trying to do it all yourself. Delegate, and let others help you. Children can wrap gifts and help bake. Teenagers can put up lights and clean the house.
Stick to your lists. According to the American Bankers Association, it takes an average of four months for a credit card user to pay off stress-inducing holiday bills. Decide how much you can afford to spend on each person. Put that amount of cash in an envelope with that person’s name on it. When the envelope is empty, you are done – no exceptions.
Put away the Credit Cards. Don’t take them with you when shopping. Freeze your credit cards in a jug of water, or mail them to a friend until the holidays are over. If you prefer to use debit or credit cards, keep all receipts in an envelope. Keep a running total of what you have spent.
Cancel Duty Gifts. Cut down on the number of gifts you give. If you are still exchanging gifts with friends and relatives you rarely see or neighbors and co-workers you are reluctant to offend – stop. They will probably be relieved as well.
Give yourself a break. Take a candlelight bath. Go to a movie in the afternoon. For every five gifts you buy, treat yourself to a small gift.
Avoid the Scrooges. Do not yield any part of your Christmas to a Scrooge. When they say something negative, respond quickly with “Yes, but…” For example, if someone complains about the crowds, you might say, “Yes, but seeing all of these people really puts me in the Christmas spirit!”
Start celebrating right now! Christmas is not just a holiday or a date on the calendar. Christmas is a way of life centered on Jesus. So let the celebration begin … now!
Keep one Christmas decoration out all year long. When you begin packing away all of the Christmas decorations, keep one or two of your favorite ornaments out in plain sight as a reminder that we are to celebrate the birth and life of Jesus Christ every day of the year.
Father, I pray that I will truly celebrate Your birth this Christmas instead of getting caught up in the ways of the world. Help me to remember and share the truth that You are the very heart of Christmas. Today I celebrate the reality of Your presence in my life. Thank You for sending Your Son to earth as a tiny baby in a manger.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Count your blessings instead of your crosses.
Count your gains instead of your losses.
Count your joys instead of your woes.
Count your friends instead of your foes.
Count your smiles instead of your tears.
Count your courage instead of your fears.
Count your full years instead of your lean.
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.
Count your health instead of your wealth.
Count on God instead of yourself.
More from the Girlfriends
Do you dread the Christmas holidays? Check out Mary’s MP3, The Secret of a Merry Christmas, for ways to discover and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.