Okay, so yeah. I am basically Buddy the Elf from the movie Elf. SANTA! OH MY GOD! SANTA’S COMING! I KNOW HIM! I KNOW HIM!
I get excited about Christmas in the summer, sometimes earlier (ha ha – oh come on, I know there are some of you out there nodding your heads with me). Memories of this season bring all the feels for me. The parties, the fun moments with extended family members, the cold winter nights, the waking up at 5:00am on Christmas morning with my sister to unwrap dozens of presents.
I am so grateful for the seasons behind me that have left me with such fond memories. But now today, as an adult, a working mom, so often as the holiday season approaches, my anxiety level increases. If you are like me, you have had one too many holiday seasons as an adult that can be described as busy or stressful. Le sigh. I want to change that. I long to reshape this season into one of peace and fun and memory making for both my family and me. I want to walk away from the best season of the year feeling refreshed and filled. And I know I can’t control external circumstances like flight delays or family drama.
But, I can control how well I prepare. And, you can control how well you prepare.
As a working mom, one way to garner a bit more peace and space in life is to prepare well. We all know this. Preparing meals, preparing schedules, preparing for what lies ahead. I don’t think living in the future or obsessing about tomorrow is the right approach. But I do think the better we prepare, the more joy in the journey of getting there. And thus, I am here to share 10 things to do now to prepare for Christmas! It’s never too early, especially for all you Buddy the Elf fanatics.
- Focus your heart…now. I am sorry to be cheesy here but, we HAVE to remember the reason for the season. And I think the sooner we can engrain that into our hearts and minds, the better perspective we will have that will lead us better into Christmas. Memorize Luke 2:11 or find a devotional to start reading or write down some Bible verses somewhere visible in your house.
- If you are traveling, book your flights and make your travel plans sooner rather than later. That way, it’s done, and you can let your friends and family know your schedule and you can then manage your schedule better.
- Decide if you are sending out a Christmas card. If no, good for you. I didn’t send them out last year and while it was a little hard, it was also freeing. Don’t get me wrong, I love giving and receiving all of those perfect pictures of families and dogs and babies. But, if it’s causing stress or you don’t have a perfect family picture or a new baby or a perfect Goldendoodle, don’t send it and feel great about your decision. Conversely, have at it if you want to send! But, plan for it now and choose your template from Paper Culture or Minted (plus, they usually have great sales right now)
- Set your budget and save money now! It’s not too late. Even of you put away $50 or $100 a week for the next 6 weeks, that’s a decent sum of money to use to start shopping in December. Every dollar counts, and we all know money – or lack thereof – can be such a source of stress so now is the time to plan and save if you haven’t already started.
- The parties. Oh, the parties. There are so many stress traps with the parties. If you are hosting – what are you making, what is your shopping list, what is the theme, who are you inviting? If you are a guest of a party – what are you bringing and what are you wearing? Can you attend them all? Which ones do you say no to? Oh gosh, life is so hard isn’t it? While this feels superficial, it’s not. Because too much of anything can be a bad thing, right? And if we are honest, we miss the point of the party – THE PEOPLE – when we stress too much about the planning of the party. Be intentional about what you are committing to and talk to your husband or wife or partner about the commitments, in advance. Ahem, like, in the next few weeks. And here are a few practical things you can do now to get you in the holiday spirit and allow you to plan well for all the parties.
- Plan your menu. There’s approximately one million resources for Christmas party or dinner recipes online. Or heck, go with what your mom made growing up which for me is spinach balls and cheesy dips and green bean casserole – we kept it classy in the Midwest. Either way, if you are hosting, start planning now.
- Buy 2-3 hostess gifts and store away so you don’t have to think about it until the day comes. Good Housekeeping has a great list, as does House Beautiful and Delish. I also always make sure to have a few extra bottles of good wine on hand to bring if I am in a pinch.
- Your outfits. Oh, ladies, we all know how this goes. It’s an hour before you have to leave for the party and “you have nothing to wear.” Well, guess what? Christmas comes every year in December. You can tackle this first world problem now. Review your closet, try on your holiday dresses and have 3 outfits to rotate in December. Buy a new one if you absolutely have to. Or perhaps just buy some new earrings or a necklace to change up the outfits a bit. The point is, tackle it now!
- Your kids outfits. Start the search and buy 1-2 new outfits. My go-to for Zoey tends to always be Target, Gap or Old Navy. They are cost-effective stores and always have fun, on-trend clothes for kids.
- And when all else fails and when stress – or hurt or pain or anxiety – does come, give yourself grace. Don’t beat yourself up. Talk about it, pray about it and move on. While I want to help you all plan better to mitigate stress, we all know the season is bound to bring some moments of hardship. That’s okay but try not to let it consume you. Pray on Philippians 4:6. NOW!