Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Keeping the Joy in Your Christmas

So how's your holiday coming? Have you finished your shopping? How about your decorations? Are you ready to start baking?

Yes, sometimes the expectations can be maddening. No wonder people stress out this time of year. So here are a couple of tips to help keep your holiday season stress-free.

First, remember the reason for the season. We're celebrating the birth of Christ our savior. We're not celebrating who can have the most over-the-top decorations. We're not celebrating Black Friday, Cyber Monday or any other excuse for a big sale. And we're definitely not celebrating stuff-yourself-silly-with-sugary-treats, although I do have a hard time remembering that one.

Second, if it doesn't bring you joy, don't do it. Yep, I'm giving you permission to say no to those things you dread. Those things that you feel like you have to do, but hate doing them.

Let's start with decorating. If you've followed this blog for a while, you know that I love decorating for Christmas. But maybe the thought of hauling out the tree is just a little too much for you right now. Why not delegate? Ask the kids if they'd like to do it. Got a friend who loves Christmas? Ask her if she'd like to decorate your tree. Trust me, it won't be an imposition. If she loves Christmas, she'll be thrilled to spread the cheer.

If you don't have kiddos at home or everyone isn't descending on your house for the holiday, consider foregoing the tree. Poinsettias are an easy and inexpensive way to add a seasonal touch. Or what about a rosemary tree? Looks festive, smells great, and you can use it long after the holiday is gone. Not much of a cook? Pass it on to a friend who enjoys spending time in the kitchen.

Would you rather have a root canal than shop for all those gifts? Honey, the Internet is your friend. I don't mind shopping, yet I've bought everything I can online just for the sake of saving time.

Money tight? The Internet will again be your friend. True, it may take a little more time, but you can get some great ideas (think Pinterest) that will cost you little to nothing. Just time and a little creativity. Oh, but don't wait until December 24. Now's the time to start searching.

Once you have the gifts, they need to be wrapped. This year, I am determined to wrap as I go, making each package as pretty as I possibly can. This as opposed to wrapping on December 24th, slapping on a some paper and a bow and calling it a wrap. No matter how big or small the gift, I'm determined to make it as special as the person receiving it.
Even something as simple as a festive lunch bag can look extraordinary with a few easy touches.

Oh, and if you prefer bags over wrapping, here's tip on how to make that tissue paper look nice. Grab the sheet in the middle, give it a shake and slide that tail you've created into the bag, leaving the corners poking out the top. If that didn't make sense, just Google it. You're bound to find something.

Not up to all the baking? Spread things out. Start now and freeze goodies for later. If that's too much, hit the bakery. Got a friend who loves to bake? Offer to pay her to bake for you or, better yet, work out a deal. What can you do for her in exchange for her expertise in the kitchen?

**Note**:  If you're the one who enjoys baking or decorating, who can you bless this Christmas?

Christmas only comes once a year. It should be savored and heartfelt. And with a little thought and planning, it can be--without all the stress. Allowing you to keep the joy in your Christmas.
Merry Christmas, y'all!


  1. Helpful post! I really need to do the wrap as you go thing! That would help a lot.

  2. Hi, Jan. So glad you stopped by. Yes, I have learned from experience not to procrastinate when it comes to wrapping. And, honestly, it feels pretty good to have it done.

  3. Jan, I agree! Very helpful tips, Mindy. I've never thought of the rosemary tree! I love the fragrance.