In a previous post I wrote about the importance of keeping Christ the center of your life despite the busyness of the Christmas season.
On the practical side, there are some things that we can do to make the holidays less chaotic and more enjoyable. We all want our homes to reflect the joy of the Lord and not the gloom of the Grinch during the Christmas season!
1) Get up 15 minutes earlier each morning. Spend those extra 15 minutes in prayer. Maybe you already begin each day spending time with the Lord, but I know I can always benefit from extra time in prayer.
Another way to spend those 15 minutes is to work on your morning routine. I can always think of things that need to be done around the house in the early morning hours before the children awaken. You can use this time to address Christmas cards, wrap a few gifts, or do a little extra cleaning.
2) Accomplish a lot each day! Now, most of us already do, but challenge yourself so that the important things get done. Too often I am guilty of procrastination. We can save ourselves a lot of stress if we are diligent.
Give yourself a reward for completing an unpleasant task. It could go something like this:
"I will not read another chapter in my book until I have addressed these Christmas cards, ironed three shirts, and wrapped five presents."
If you have a pleasant goal to work toward, you will be motivated and feel a sense of accomplishment.
3) Make your home pretty, festive, and aromatic. Decorate your home for the season. Don't worry if it doesn't look like a magazine! Add some little touches to make the season special. I light scented candles throughout our home each afternoon when we begin our choretime. Play some beautiful Christmas music throughout the day, especially during your busy times. My children love to sip hot cocoa while listening to Christmas music. They've even been listening to it while doing their schoolwork this week!
4) Keep to your basic routine as much as possible. This will keep you even-tempered and will help avoid the big post-Christmas letdown. Limit the number of evening activities that take you away from home. Create some special memories at home this year. Start some new traditions!
Children thrive on routine, so do your best to keep their schedule "normal." Some homeschooling families take a longer break during the holidays. This year we will be taking off two weeks since we will be traveling. However, our break won't begin until just before Christmas. I think my kids would go crazy running around counting the days until Christmas!
Use a calendar to record special activites in which you are participating. Schedule time for you holiday baking and shopping. If you will be traveling, plan your packing ahead of time. There are enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that is needful. Cut out the things that aren't needful. Sometimes we try to do too much, and we stress ourselves out unnecessarily.
The routine of church attendance and participation in church activities should be kept normal also. If your church holds Sunday evening services, don't skip out just because Christmas Eve is on Sunday this year! Be there with a smile. What better way to spend the holiday than in God's house!
Live for Jesus during the Christmas season! Do the things that please Him!