Avoiding Christmas Chaos
‘Tis the season where one can become overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle and endless “To Do” lists. Calendars become crowded with concerts, get togethers and various other seasonal activities. If not selective in what you can or cannot accomplish, it can lead to a bah humbug or holiday burn out. Preparing for Christmas means being intentional and purposeful in planning.
One way that our family has been intentional during the holidays is to create family traditions. Something each year we anticipate. And because we have these traditions already in place, it is important to schedule accordingly so as not to “overbook” our calendar. Here are some ways to help in avoiding the Christmas Chaos.
1. Family Chat
Before the start of the season, sit down as a family and discuss what are some special activities/events that you look forward to every Christmas. Also list the events that you are required to attend such as school concerts, work parties, etc. It’s important for every family member to be heard during the brainstorming. Having full family input creates a sense of ownership and will make it easier if everyone is on board.
2. Evaluate the List
Look at the list. Ask yourself these questions:
-Will this activity add to the special times together as a family?
-How many activities during the week can our family handle without feeling the pressure? Are there any things that we could postpone or bump to the next month?
After you have narrowed down the list, plot on the calendar the activities for everyone to see. Often during the season, families can become flustered and the best intentions unravel with not everyone knowing the schedule. This way, family members who thrive on predictability and routine will be assured with one glance at the family calendar. In this day of technology, and calendars on the phone, we may assume all family members know the plans but this isn’t always the case.
4. Realistic Expectations
Sometimes the best laid plans unravel. Unexpected things arise such as illness, weather, work etc. How as a family will we respond? Do some problem solving together to anticipate the unexpected. Don’t set your expectations too high. Even though it is Christmas, there will still be daily life happening. Siblings will still argue. The house will still get messy. But how as a family can grace and understanding be interwoven into these moments amidst the height of holiday excitement? What ways can we help out? What ways can we show empathy?
Keep checking in with family members. Ask how they are doing? Be aware of tensions building. Know when it is time to “retreat” to a quiet place when feeling overwhelmed. Know when to ask for help. Remind each other frequently that you are all on the same team working together to make this time enjoyable for everyone.
6. Remember the Reason for the Season
Keep reminding each other it is not about having the “Pinterest Christmas” or keeping up with those around. It is a time to reflect on gifts that don’t go under the tree. What can you “give” to others to show how you appreciate them? During those times in the mall when it’s a fight for a parking stall or lines in stores seem endless, what ways can you show others the true meaning of Christmas in your response? Are you willing to give up that last parking spot you’ve just found? Do you let the mother with the screaming toddler go ahead of you in the lineup? Do you give a smile and tell the overtired cashier how much you appreciate their work?
By being proactive and purposeful during what can be a stressful time of year, it will allow your family more time to enjoy being with each other.
I’d love to hear from you on how your family takes chaos out of Christmas.
Stay tuned for my next blog article on creating family traditions during Christmas.
May your day be filled with joy and your cup with coffee!