While speaking at a Christmas event, I asked the women who among them LOVED Christmas. A few of them raised their hand. Then I asked which of them felt like Christmas really isn’t the most wonderful time of the year. More than half of the hands went up! I’m not even sure that some of them didn’t raise their hand a second time when they realized it would be okay to admit the truth.

As for me, the reality is I love Christmas, but “making it happen” at our house can be overwhelming. I don’t mean for it to be, but regardless of when I start, I seem to get to the week before Christmas in a somewhat disorganized state. And now that I know that I’m not alone I’ve decided to share some of the tips that keep me from completely going off the deep end.

  1. Choose what’s most important to YOU! – Is it the tree, the decorations, the cookies, doing kind things for others? Whatever it is, focus on what’s important for you and let the rest go. It’s okay. REALLY. The world won’t stop spinning.
  2. Baking – Just say no! Find a good bakery or a friend who LOVES to bake. Your waistline will thank you for not consuming mass quantities of cookie dough (or is that just me?) Hey, if baking is your thing, then you should absolutely do it. But only if you love it!
  3. The Tree – The tree is important to me. Don’t mess with my tree! My husband likes the tree too, but he’d be fine if we just put lights on it – no decorations. So, if you want a tree with no décor other than the lights, go for it!
  4. Decorations – Come on people, I’ve got a tree! I know some people really LOVE decorating and start putting out the red and green in October. I am not that person, though I have been known to put up a few decorations while my husband is gone during hunting season. Some years lots of decorations are put out, and other years, not so much. Still, the tree is non-negotiable.
  5. Christmas Cards – This idea won’t be much help this year, but you’ll love me next year. Create a database on your computer and use it to either print directly to the envelopes or create mailing labels. And hey, if they happen to be Valentine’s cards, so be it.
  6. Presents – Personally, I’m a huge fan of online ordering. The only downside of online ordering is all of the boxes that need to be recycled. Although, if you know someone who is moving soon, you could be their new best friend.
  7. Gift Wrapping – I read once that women care more about the wrapping than the gift and men care more about the gift than the wrapping (a broad generalization, I know, so adapt to your own gift recipients). All I’m saying is, spend your time accordingly.
  8. Christmas Kindness – It seems that people pick up the pace on doing kind things for others at Christmas. I love it! I encourage it. But, I don’t JUST encourage it at Christmas. If you’re riddled with guilt because you don’t have time for serving food at the homeless shelter or visiting the residents at the nursing home, sign up for a shift in January. It’ll still be appreciated and needed then.
  9. Entertaining – Get ready to gasp and sputter! Here’s my rule of thumb whether it’s for Christmas Dinner or a party for your friends. If, at the end of the evening, all of the dishes won’t fit in one dishwasher load, use paper. There are some beautiful paper plates out there. I know it’s not ecologically friendly, but you don’t need to use paper every day – just on the days you need to save your sanity, your back, and your hands.
  10. Remember the Reason – I think it’s important to remember the reason for all of this in the first place. It’s the birthday of the King of kings! In light of that, I try to make it a point not to overcrowd my days with Christmas preparation to the point where I can’t sit down and spend some time with Jesus each day. What a great gift God has given us when he made it possible for us to spend time with him whenever we’d like. Let’s not forget to open his gift to us!

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:14