Healthy Through the Holidays Part 1 - The Purpose of Christmas
Let me just start off by saying I. LOVE. CHRISTMAS! I truly love everything about it! I love buying, wrapping, and giving gifts. I love baking special treats and attending holiday parties. I love filling my yard with over sized holiday blow ups that my new very teenage daughter finds somewhat embarrassing and driving around town looking at all of the beautiful Christmas lights. I even love the cold weather and the fact that it gets dark insanely early each evening. I’m telling you. Unless your name is Buddy then you likely don’t love Christmas more than me! Being a Christmas lover is definitely full of lots of joy and all the feels but that intense love for ALL the things can easily set me up for not only an exciting Christmas but also a very overwhelming one.
How many of you, like me, have said “Things should slow down when….” Without even trying I can think of MANY ways that I have finished that sentence. When this event ends. When I get past this big meeting. When we get to summer. When we get back into school routine. When we get through the holidays. When. When. When. It’s a dangerous revolving door of reasons (ahem...or should I say excuses…) that keeps us in a perpetual state of busy but giving us the illusion that things really will slow down when….(fill in the blank.) But then they don’t. And we keep pushing ourselves beyond our limits. And before we know it we are at the holidays, the most wonderful time of the year, the time we have waited for for 11 months because we know that it’s going to be a month full of joy and peace and all the holiday fun! But instead of spending the month doing those Christmas crafts we pinned on Pinterest and relaxing with loved ones around the fire sipping cocoa as we envisioned, we find ourselves exhausted, pushing through the crazy and just counting down the days until the holidays come to a close.
Isn’t it funny how the time of year so many of us look forward to can so easily become the time of year we so desperately want to simply survive and get through in the end?
It was when that reality right there set in that I began to realize that something needed to change. And though this time of year is innately busy, it wasn’t my calendar or the holiday season that was the problem….it was me! Yep! You read that right. I was (and am from time to time) the biggest culprit in my crazy holiday hustle. After all, it was ME deciding to make all of the holiday goodies. It was me choosing to spend the money, going way over budget, on the extra gifts and goodies. It was me saying yes to every holiday party and every extra outing. It wasn’t Christmas making me stressed and worn out. It wasn’t corporate America pushing an agenda and forcing me to mound gift after gift under the tree. It was me getting wrapped up in all the holiday FUN and forgetting the “Reason for the Season”. Can anyone relate??
So this Christmas I decided to ditch the “Things will slow down when…” mentality and instead choose to stay “Things will slow down now!” Not because the holiday party invites aren’t still coming in and not because I no longer have the desire to purchase every little gift that I see that I know a friend or family member would just LOVE but simply because I have decided to take back control of the holidays. Do you want to join me?
If you’re still reading that I’m gonna guess you are, like me, ready to redeem the Holidays! So now the real question….HOW IN THE WORLD DO WE DO IT?!?!
That almost feels like a loaded question doesn’t it? And quite honestly, I don’t think it’s a question that has a “one size fits all” answer. But what I do know is what I am doing to be intentional about taking back the holidays for me and my family and maybe, just maybe, you will find some inspiration from you and your family as well somewhere in the mix.
My Commitments. Remember, YOU control your calendar. If you want to attend every single holiday party and city wide holiday event out there then DO IT. But just remember, when you say YES to all of those things then you are also saying NO to other things like quiet evenings at home as a family, being able to keep your house company ready, and doing that fun holiday craft with the kids. Is one method better than the other? NOPE. Just remember, you are not superhuman and you cannot do it all. I’m about to blow your mind with a little wisdom...When you pack your calendar to the max you are going to be BUSY. So don’t be surprised when you are...well...busy! ;)
My Day. As a home school mom I definitely feel the weight of making sure my kids are learning and growing academically at all times. The fear of sending my kids off into the world only to discover they learned NOTHING during their years with me as their teacher is a BIG one and can drive me to want to push full throttle with academics all year long! In years past I have used the month of December (a month that our weekly home school group does not meet) to play catch up and to even get ahead on core subjects like math and reading. We definitely accomplished a lot, which my task driven self loved, but I also got to the other side of Christmas wishing we had taken the time to bake the cookies, decorate the gingerbread house, and watch the holiday movie while wrapping presents. So this year I decided to push aside my agenda and fully focus on HIS. We are spending our mornings reading through an advent devotional. We are spending time each week to bless other families in our area through gift donations and meals. We are listening to Christmas songs while we build lego and do puzzles. We are learning to embrace moments of quiet and still. We may not be “getting ahead” on our to-do lists this December but we are definitely discovering a whole new level of what it means to “sleep in heavenly peace”.
My Priorities. Too many times, when our days get too busy the first thing to go is our daily quiet time. We even tell ourselves things like “I’ll just push it to lunch!” but then a coworker invites us out to eat so we say “I’ll just push it to bedtime!” but then the kids don’t cooperate and I don’t get to bed until crazy late and by the time you turn off their light you are too tired to even think about spending some time reading or praying and just resolve to try again tomorrow. So to help fight the holiday busy getting in the way of my daily quiet time with Jesus (cause ya girl needs ALLLLL the Jesus to make it through the day) I have made a commitment to myself to give at least the first 10 minutes every day to the Lord. And to help me stay the course I have invited others (aka YOU!!) to join me in the journey! And can I just say...I am SO GLAD YOU ARE HERE!!!
As I said before, our lives are all different and there is not one single answer to combating the Holiday busy. These are just a few of the things I am doing that make sense for me and my family. But now I want to hear from you! What are things YOU are doing to help fight the holiday hustle and to keep your heart and mind focused on the Purpose of Christmas this December? Share with us in the comments! I can’t WAIT to read what you have to say!!