We hope that your December is going well thus far. Knowing that the holiday season can be quite hectic, it is our aim to pray for you and encourage you through it!
I know for me, the cooking, decorating, parties, and more, can easily become overwhelming when piled on top of all the month’s regular activities. However, it has certainly become better the older I have gotten, because I am now able to say no—sometimes. ?
One thing I have learned, (and let’s be real, am still learning,) is to slow down. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect! Remember the saying “time is a thief?” Well, I have learned that my time with my children is flying by. I am going to turn around and they will be off to college! Wasn’t it just yesterday that my daughter was in pigtails and bows, and my sons were playing with Thomas the Train? I have learned to better enjoy the here-and-now, because thanks to Facebook and Instagram, I am seeing how much they have grown and just how quickly time is marching on.
Today, I want to share with you five tips for a happier holiday season. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this as well! We often find your comments encouraging and uplifting ourselves and our readers alike, so please continue to join in on the discussion!
1. Everything Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect
For so long, I wanted to make sure that everything was perfect—the gifts, the food, the clothes, the events—then one year, I woke up! I realized everything was already perfect simply because I was giving my family and friends my time. We were enjoying the holidays together and the need to make sure that everything was “perfect” was really just in my head all along.
2. You Don’t Have To Go Into Debt In Order To Have A Wonderful Christmas
My husband and I have worked diligently to teach our children that our love for them is not measured in how much they receive or how much those gifts cost. I have also had to teach myself that my worth as a mother, daughter, and friend, is not reflected in the items I buy for others, but in the heart from which I give.
Christmas can sometimes leave us pressured to buy all the things for all the people. I have seen some people try so hard to impress others with how much they have spent on a gift. It can become absolutely nuts! Do you know how excited I would be to receive the gift of laughter, time, or togetherness? Ecstatic! If someone wanted to give me the gift of helping me fold and put away the laundry, I would be head over heels for that too! Because somewhere along the line I have realized that I don’t need things. I simply need the love and time of my family and friends. (Though someone to help me dust would also be welcome!)
3. Everything Will Work Out In The End
I may not have believed this one when I was younger. I used to think I had to accept every holiday invitation—parties, dinners, youth social events, sports banquets—I would have paled at the idea of saying “no!” But guess what? One year, one of my children got sick… and then another one… until eventually, we were all sick, and I finally had to say “no” to many things. I realized this is just what we needed. Not illness, of course, (no one ever wants strep throat or the flu!) but by saying “no” and staying in, we found ourselves happier, well rested, and truly enjoying Christmas.
I’m not saying I don’t want to attend any holiday get-togethers—of course I want to join in on the fun! But that year taught me that even though our presence was missed, our family and friends could still have a wonderful time while we regained our health. So if you find yourself physically or mentally needing to cut back on activities, just know it will be okay!
4. You Can Say “No”
Have you ever felt like the word “no” just wasn’t in your vocabulary? Between family, friends, committees, and volunteer work, we can lose sight of why things are important to us in the first place. In order to not only appreciate, but also give our time and attention to the things that truly matter, we will need to choose which events to attend and which to say “no” to. If you find yourself swamped with events this holiday season, I have found that it helps me to get out a calendar and physically write down each event before picking and choosing which ones I am able to commit to.
5. Get Organized
My final tried-and-true tip is to get organized. Whether it be lists of foods to prepare, chores to be done, or gatherings to plan; the more organized I become, the calmer and happier I will be. While I am still working to form the habit, I have found that I’m truly my best self with a little organization!
Don’t let the holidays be centered around gifts and chaos. Let it remind you that the Heavenly Father gave you another minute, hour, and day to be on this beautiful earth with those you love. Strip away the commercialism of Christmas and focus on what is important: growing spiritually within yourself and with your family.
Simplifying my life allows me to be happier, which in turn allows me to contribute to those who need me most. It allows me to be a better servant to my family, my friends, and most importantly, to Him. It is my prayer that I can live a life that is pleasing to the Lord and that others can see Christ in me. I look forward to growing more spiritually with you!