Monday, December 8, 2014

How to Make the Holidays the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Even When It's Not)

December isn't always the most wonderful time of the year...especially when you're a pastor's wife. This past week officially kicked off our busy season. We have Christmas parties (one to two a week - most weeks, it's two), church activities and special services, the children's church Christmas play that I direct, plus shopping, wrapping gifts, trips to the post office, and the other normal chaos that comes along with the holiday season.

As a kid, I loved everything about the Christmas season. As an adult, I too often find myself counting the days until it's over. If I could go back to my childhood love of all things holiday, I would, but it's hard to recapture that innocent adoration of it all.

This year, I promised myself I would try to slow down and enjoy the season more. My starting point: I simplified my Christmas tree decorations. After years of begging from my boys, I gave in and replaced my white lights with multi-colored ones. I left off all the ribbons and mesh, simply putting up lights, ornaments, and a big sparkly bow for a tree topper. To my surprise (and great joy), the tree looked better than ever. The kids loved it, and I stressed over it a lot less.

My kids made their first ever gingerbread house this year. Nothing fancy - I bought a $6 kit at Walmart and turned them loose. Okay, first I tried to help, but after a couple of walls collapsed, the boys told me they could handle it themselves. I think it turned out pretty well. No wonder my youngest wants to be an architect.

There's not a lot of free time this month, but I'm trying to still squeeze in a couple of workouts a week and spend a little time on my newest hobby: knitting. I'm slowing down and enjoying the little things more. It's working. This year, I'm finding more of my Christmas joy creeping back into my life. I'm still stressed. Some days are still overwhelming. But it's getting better. 

Are you ready to make the holidays more wonderful this year? Here are a few things you can do:

1. Keep your focus.

Daily time with God is a necessity for this stressful season. Jesus is the entire reason for our celebration - we can't leave Him out. Starting each morning with a little quiet time for journaling and Bible study sets the tone for the rest of the day. Plus, time with God and a cup of coffee by the light of the Christmas tree is so special. I look forward to it all year.

2. Create joy.

Bake cookies with your kids. Listen to your favorite Christmas music. Knit. Read. Drink coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Get outside in the snow. (Or in the balmy 70+ degree sunshine, if you live in Texas like me.) Take your kids to visit Santa.

3. Let it go.

You either want to scream or burst into song right now, I'm sure. But during this crazy season, let some things go. I decided to step back from my novel this month, taking a break from critique groups and editing until Christmas is over. Some things can't be taken off the table, but remove what you can to make the holidays easier. Less on your schedule means more time to enjoy this time of year.

4. Remember the season.

When it seems like the busyness will never end, remember that it's just a season. It will pass. Quickly. Just breathe, focus, and remember that New Year's Day will be here before you know it.

What are you doing to enjoy Christmas more this year?


  1. The tree looks beautiful! Thanks for the reminders on letting go and not stressing so much :). The knitting looks lovely, too (and tell your boys they did a fine job on the gingerbread house!).

    1. Thank you! They were so proud of that house. :-)

  2. Oh, I love your tree, and the boys did a terrific job with the gingerbread house!
    Like you, I'm stepping back from writing my blog ( from now until the New Year; I truly want to focus on the joy of the season and my family.
    Blessings to you!

    1. Thank you! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.


I would love to hear your thoughts!