“And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”Luke 2:7
The Christmas season is here!
Which for many of us, is a stressful season full of gift-buying, baking, planning and attending parties, and praying to the Lord that the Amazon packages get here in time for Christmas morning. Christmas can be full of anxiety, especially for people-pleasers and those who crave control. In light of that, I wanted to remind all of you of some helpful things to keep in mind during the 2021 holiday season.
- Every day of Christmas does not have to be perfect
There are 25 days in December arguably dedicated to, and only to CHRISTMAS. When I was a child, and the month of December came around, each day, I would wake up and think, “Oh my gosh, there are only ___ more days until Christmas morning!” and that thought would spur me on through the rest of the day, and I would get more and more excited every morning as that number got smaller and smaller.
However, when you become an adult, it becomes a bit more instead of “OH MY GOSH, Christmas is almost here!” (with excitement) to “Oh my gosh. Christmas is almost here” (with stress). This is because there are so many gifts to buy for all of the hardest people to shop for and so many parties that you feel obligated to attend with homemade snacks that have to be tasty for you to remain in good standing in your social circles (or you just dump the cookies out of the packaging and onto a piece of chinaware and smile whenever someone asks if you made them yourself).
There is also a ton of pressure to make all 25 days of Christmas perfect for your family. There should not be any fighting, fallout, or anything less than pleasant and Christmas-y happening, or you feel like you have let everyone down. But, listen, no month can be perfect. Especially December, with all of its craziness.
Most of the time, the craziest and weirdest things that happened during Christmas are the ones remembered most fondly through the years.
- The best gifts cannot be bought or packaged
Everyone always says, “it is not about the gifts,” but everyone still makes it about the gifts. Get the wrong one for the wrong person? You could become the family laughingstock or the pariah of your friend circle, and the first conversation that always happens after Christmas with someone contains some variation of the question, “how did you like the gift?”.
However, we let this happen. We allowed it to become about the presents. When we consider our childhood memories about Christmas, how many specific gifts received or given come to mind? I am guessing few to none. However, memories about our family and friends and events attended probably popped into your head almost immediately. These are the things you genuinely treasure: people and the times spent with them.
Because of this, do not stress out too much about the presents. Definitely do not devote time away from loved ones to the endless tasks of gift-shopping; in the worst-case scenario, get the person a gift card or offer to take them out somewhere.
- There is always next Christmas!
Not EVERYTHING related to the holiday season needs to be done this Christmas. There is always next year. You do not have to go see every concert, visit every store with a sale, appear at every party you are invited to, or visit every photo-op location you see other people visiting on social media.
Suppose you make the Christmas season one extensive to-do list. In that case, you will eventually dread the season altogether, as will your family if you try to drag them along to all of these various holiday events without any peace. It is called the winter “break” for a reason, okay? You are supposed to take a minute and relax, doing Christmas activities because you want to, not because you are scared of not getting to do some of them.
Next year is not that far away, and there are many activities you do not have to wait until next Christmas to do! For example, I am sure that they are doing The Nutcracker somewhere around where you live during the year (maybe? But I don’t know much about the ballet).
- Do not compare your Christmas to other people’s
Ah yes, the Hallmark Christmas. This is what we see in the movies and on Facebook and Instagram: families with adorable kids and completely put-together parents, all wearing matching flannel pajamas and gathered around a perfect, lush, and color-coordinated Christmas tree in the immaculately clean house, ya know, that family on social media that everyone cannot stand because of how perfect they seem?
Yeah, they are not real.
Real families are loud; they fight, laugh, make messes, and cause drama for everyone. And that is the beauty of families – they are vibrant and imperfect, and yet we love them and love being part of them, anyway. So we need to embrace the craziness instead of attempting to correct it and replicating some touched-up version of a family that we see on social media.
- Everything will work out, enjoy the season
Christmas truly is the most beautiful time of the year. So let it be just that in your life. The complications and struggles will go away. They always do. And at the end of the day, Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ and the arrival of our Savior into our fallen world so many years ago. So no matter how stressed you may get this Christmas, remember what the time is for.
A time for hope, comfort, and a time to remember who and what is really important in your life. Let joy fill your life, but do not let it end with Christmas. Remember that life is a gift for every season and every month of the year.
Of course, I want to wish you all a very merry Christmas season, and I hope you are all staying safe and cheery while taking precautions against COVID-19.
Drink lots of hot chocolate, cider, and eggnog! 🙂
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Until next time!