One of my favorite books to read as the holiday onslaught begins is Can Martha Have a Mary Christmas? by Brenda Poinsett. If you are passionate about living lopsided, this is a must-read! She says this about taming the holiday calendar,
We will all prune in different ways in light of what is most important to us and in light of what will make our Christmas more pleasurable and meaningful. (64)
When you look at your December calendar and think, “I can’t do it all!” … ask yourself these questions:
What is my goal for this season?
What is on my calendar that doesn’t match that goal?
Of course, there will be some obligations we must keep … but undoubtedly there are parties you can skip and other things that be down-sized or even (gasp!) eliminated altogether.
One of the ways we try to keep ourselves from being stretched too thin (as much as that is possible in a pastor’s home! LOL) during this season is before it all gets crazy, we sit down and each list ONE THING that is most important to us for the season. Those are the “guaranteed to get done” events, activities, etc. Everything else can be modified or even eliminated.
An added benefit of asking everyone in your home what is most important to them is that you can get a feel for what your children and husband really value … maybe your daughter is like mine and she wants to make sure we sit down one night and watch Christmas movies. Perhaps one of your children doesn’t want to miss out on driving around looking at lights. Your husband may value a night out for the two of you. You might not want to miss out on a candy-making or ornament exchange party with friends.
Whatever those things are … write them in ink …
and let everything else be written with pencil!
Don’t worry if someone else seems to be doing more or less than you or even those things you *wish* you were doing … make your list and work with it! If you decide to do more, go for it! If you find yourselves stressed out and wishing you had never ordered Christmas cards … wait and send them in January with a cute poem like this one:
We ordered the cards with a mind to send
But time got away and it was year’s end.
Maybe, like ours, your list went for miles
And now, in the calm, you’ll enjoy our smiles.
Decide now to take hold of the holidays instead of them taking hold of you!
Can Martha Have a Mary Christmas? by Brenda Poinsett