Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cutting Holiday Stress

At about this point in the holiday season, I start looking for things to cut.  Do I really need to make six kinds of Christmas cookies?  Do my kids really need more stocking gifts?  Do I really have to go to that party?  It's not that I don't love the holidays and all that goes with it.  It's just that I would need two months to fit in all of the ideas I seem to have the moment the lights go out on Thanksgiving.  But this year I was having a hard time letting anything go.

As I went through my list of possible things to cut, I was at a loss. It all seemed important, even necessary to the total holiday experience.  "I know!"  I thought to myself.  "I'll cut Operation Christmas Child!  I haven't told anyone I would do that yet!"  And then my face immediately turned red for even thinking of it.  Operation Christmas Child is a charity that asks their donors to fill up a shoebox with small toys for kids in need.  They ship the boxes to the kids so that they have something for Christmas.  I couldn't believe the first thing I was okay with cutting.  It was time to take a look inside.

I realized that half of the problem was all of the things I had said "yes" to.  The reality of being 7 months pregnant means that I don't quite have the energy I would normally have.  And yet I am volunteering for things at church, trying to ensure my kids' holiday memories are memorable and doing my best to get all the normal (wrapping, shopping, etc.) stuff done.  And I'm cashed at the end of the day.  The holidays were starting to feel like a checklist instead of a joyful thing.  That is certainly not what Jesus' birth was about.

I have decided to only do the truly necessary things like wrapping, shipping gifts to loved ones that live faraway and reading stories to my children about the meaning of Christmas.  We are shopping for children in need this weekend to drive that message home to them and to me.  It's not about all the tinsel and cookies.  It's about giving to those that need it most and receiving the most beautiful gift we could have ever been given.  The birth of Christ.

How are you reducing holiday stress?  Are you able to keep your eye on the meaning of Christmas?  If so, how?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...