Christmas is said to be the most wonderful time of the year. It can be the most stressful time too. It was never meant to be that way.
There’s always another gift to buy, another reunion to attend, and another photo to be taken. This can leave me exhausted and not appreciate the joy that’s supposed to come with the season.
I have observed people so stressed during Christmas that I feel sorry for them. They are always rushing, frequently frustrated, easily irritated. Some don’t cherish the moment and end up feeling glad when it’s all over.
If I want to have a meaningful Christmas, I must make the following decisions. Most of these are simple yet difficult. I should take responsibility for it. Or else, it will be another Christmas that’s full of stress.
1. Don’t Attend every Gathering I’m Invited to.
Reunions during this season are indispensable. I actually recommend meeting people and enjoy the holiday spirit.
However, I must also be able to say “No” to some of invitations. I can plan another time to catch up next month. In this way, I’ll be able to include other activities which are important to me.
2. Don’t Buy Gifts for Everybody
It’s great to give gifts to express my appreciation. But if I feel compelled to give everyone a gift, I’m putting unnecessary stress on myself. I shouldn’t worry that people might be disappointed if they don’t receive anything from me.
3. Control My Spending During this Season
Because it’s a festive season, I mustn’t think of just splurging my hard-earned finances. I don’t have to buy expensive gifts. I don’t have to eat at fancy restaurants to enjoy this time. I have to be conscious of my spending so I don’t regret my decisions later on.
4. Don’t Overeat and Disregard My Exercise Time
Almost every Christmas gathering I’ve been to involved a lot of food. Delicious meals and countless desserts are within grasp. It all adds up if I keep on feasting at every occasion. Instead, I should be aware of my diet and match it with exercise. A good ratio is for every heavy meal I eat, I commit to do a brisk walk of 30 minutes.
5. Schedule Some Time to be Alone with God
With so many people to catch up with, I mustn’t forget to withdraw and enjoy time with myself. This will never happen unless I put it in my schedule.
I use this time to praise God and meditate on God’s word. I have my pen to write down certain lists. Some of my lists include blessings to be grateful for, goals to work on for the coming year, and people I’d like to meet after all the Christmas rush.
6. Plan a Day with Only My Immediate Family
I want my family to know that they are most important to me. Even if I attend some of the get-togethers, they won’t feel that I’m neglecting them. That’s why I mustn’t attend every gathering I’m invited to.
Part of my plan is to pray together, talk about the biblical Christmas story, and recall the memorable times the past 12 months.
7. Thank Every Person who Gave or Greeted Me.
Every gift or greeting must be greatly appreciated. Whether the gift is expensive or cheap, useful or impractical, big or small, I thank the person who gave it. Whether the greeting was through text, card, social media, or face-to-face, I express my gratefulness.
A simple call, text, or email to say “thanks” shows how I value that person. I don’t want to take for granted the gift of friendship.
8. Remember Why There’s Christmas in the First Place
Is it really about the reunions, the gift-giving or the even the family time? Bottomline, Christmas is about Christ. Thousands of years ago, God sent His Son Jesus to come to earth. His purpose is to seek and save people from eternal separation from God.
He provided forgiveness to those who ask. He made a way for those who desire an eternity in Heaven. A personal relationship with God is available today. That’s more than enough reason to be grateful for.
As prophesied 700 years before He came, Isaiah 9:6 says:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Reducing stress this Christmas is not impossible. Keeping my schedule simple can even lead to the most meaningful Christmas I ever had.
A truly Merry Christmas to all my blog readers!
Posted on: December 12, 2014
Photo: © Depositphotos.com/Maridav