#5 Be present during the Christmas season

Okay…so what does “Be present during the Christmas season” mean?  For the past few years, the Christmas season has been more stressful than relaxing.  When my kids were babies, the Christmas season was something I totally looked forward to.  Maybe I was just an excited young new mommy that was anxious to display my newly learned domestic Martha Stewartish skills.  My kids are now still young, but for some reason the holidays seemed more like a time of stress.  I was always behind on shopping for gifts.  Putting up Christmas decor gave me immediate thoughts of how dreadfully long it will take to pack them back away if I take them out of the boxes.  Traffic is horrendous.  People don’t know how to drive.  The stores are crowded and it can take twice as long to be a the grocery store.  It seemed like everything was so overly stimulated and I just want a rest.  What was most disturbing to me though, was that I felt I couldn’t even enjoy the moments that were the most important…spending time with family, seeing old friends, and celebrating the birth of Jesus and feeling the Holy Spirit.

So this year I’m determined to change my paradigm and be present during the Christmas season.  My first goal?  Get my shopping done fast and furiously.   The day before Thanksgiving, Amazon.com was my best friend.  I took care of most of my shopping.  On Black Friday, I bought the remainder of my gifts.  Now I still have about 2 gifts I need to get, but I’m pretty much done.  Next up?  Find as many opportunities to give and be part of the Advent season.  I am going to put together an Advent wreath this week and work through spiritual reminders of the reason for the season, and experience this together with the family.  We already have taken care of our angel tree kids this week.  We can’t remember the commercial fun of the season.  Each week I’m going to try to have a family fun holiday activity.  This week it shall be old fashioned holiday cookies.

So far I”m doing a good job.  I feel stress free.  Every day seems a bit longer.  I’m enjoying taking it slow and slowing life down.

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