Congratulations!! You survived Thanksgiving.
You may be realizing that you have already gotten into an unhealthy holiday craze of scheduling, meeting family and friends’ expectations, over-spending, or just working tirelessly to fill an empty void. Your anxiety may be increasing now that you’ve realized that you’ve over committed and over extended yourself to make this Christmas “The Best Christmas EVER!” and you have no idea how you’re going to pull it off.
Or…you just survived the most catastrophic family gathering from which you left wounded and broken and would be perfectly fine to avoid seeing any of those crazy people again till next Thanksgiving! You’re licking your wounds and cowering in the corner hoping to hide out till the New Year.
Regardless of which scenario you relate to, you still have time to regroup and regain control of your holidays to make them more meaningful and enjoyable.
If you haven’t started to develop unhealthy patterns of reeking Holiday Havoc, let this be a fair warning to keep you on the right track!
Here are a few tips I’ve obtained from personal experience and from my awesome brother whose lived through a few more holidays than I have…
Slow down and enjoy it! Don’t just survive it.
Try not to plow your way through this holiday season in hopes of just occupying all your time and energy to an unhealthy extreme so that you don’t have a moment to think about all that you are lacking. You CAN make special memories with your friends and family! You CAN relax and enjoy the quiet moments! Sometimes, just taking the time to enjoy all that we DO have is the remedy for disappointment.
Just say “NO”
Give yourself the freedom to say “NO” to all the unnecessary events and activities that fill your calendar so that you can say a whole-hearted “YES” to what will be most meaningful and enjoyable.
You are not required to attend every holiday party or buy everyone you know a gift simply because they will be getting you one. Do only what you can and what is truly going to bring joy to your own life and the lives of others. Doing something kind or helpful or sharing a fun memory together is way more valuable than any wrapped gift.
“Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli”
The iconic phrase from The Godfather can actually be applied to managing the stress that can arise when family dynamics can be a bit much to deal with. You can’t control others actions, but you certainly can adjust your own mindset and prepare your own responses. So resolve now to lay down your defenses(weapons) and choose to remain peaceful and embrace the sweetness of the moments. When we’ve been hurt in the past by insensitive individuals, it’s easy to approach gatherings ready for war. We expect to be hurt again and are, therefore, WAY more sensitive and easily offended. Our perspective is jaded and we tend to see things through our broken lenses. Take time to lay these past hurts before the Lord and allow Him to heal you so that you can move forward in a whole new level of freedom. You will be able to enjoy each moment for what it IS without the pain of what WAS. Also, be willing to acknowledge those areas of hurt in others that you are responsible for and seek to make amends. Life is too short to not lay down your pride and work at restoring relationships with those you love and care about. Let this be a year of healing and peace.
Give. Give. Give.
Find the blessing in giving! I’m not suggesting you give beyond your means, but I do want to encourage you to make the very important decision to bless someone else this Christmas. And not out of obligation, just out of love and compassion. Look outside your circle of family and friends and choose to see others the way Christ does and make a little extra effort to show them love. THIS is what Christmas is truly about: Sharing Christ’s love with those around us who may be undeserving or in desperate need. There are so many organizations and churches running special programs right now to reach out and bless children and families in your area. Pick one and get involved! It will truly benefit you as well as them. You can even be creative in reaching out to your neighbors and let God’s love shine through you.
Choose a new tradition or activity that you’ve never done before. Select the friends or family you want to share the event with. And make fantastic new memories!! Let this year be filled with new normals, new blessings and new joy. You can even choose to enter this holiday season with a whole new perspective and peace.
Enjoy every moment and memory. Allow God to be present in all your activities. And choose joy and peace over CHAOS!!
About Jennie Puleo :
Jennie Puleo is a Mother, Writer, Speaker, Author and Registered Nurse. She has always had a deep love for the Lord and her desire to serve and obey Him is what has carried her through so many of life’s chaotic circumstances. The loss of children, abandonment of spouse, chronic illness, multiple surgeries; so many times and places where God has met her in the middle of a storm! It is now her passion and purpose to share all that God has done in and through her by speaking and writing.