Here We Go Again

So here it is, December 18th, almost Christmas and then a new year! So I must ask, how did we get here so fast? I haven’t even had my usual annual treks through department stores yet. Of course, online shopping has helped greatly.

Still I like getting out with the masses this time of the year. I enjoy simply watching people, and the closer we get to Christmas, the more frantic people seem to become. For example, the other day at Target I heard a group of girls talking about career aspirations. “Oh yea, I’m going to be a teacher. You get summers off and also all of those holidays during the year. Plus you get to work with kids.”

Then I stopped by Walmart to find Christmas decoration sales. I overheard a couple in a fight. They both wanted to get the right gift for their little daughter, but one spouse was a bit more curious than the other. The woman found the perfect present and then found a more perfect one.

After several iterations of this, the guy finally grabbed the doll his wife selected earlier and threw it in his basket. Then he announced to his wife and the rest of the world that he was leaving, and if she wanted a ride she’d have to follow him out of the store. That brought two thoughts to mind: 1) First, I began wondering about “Peace on earth and goodwill towards men” and 2) I was hoping that the doll had escaped unscathed and without injury.

Really, Christmas can be frantic, and I’m as guilty as the next person for speeding things up rather than slowing them down. It actually takes concentration to settle into Christmas. In fact, every year we tell ourselves that this year we’ll slow it down and enjoy the season, but the season doesn’t always cooperate. So here are a few ideas to fight the busyness:

  1. Smile frequently, make it a point to say hello to more people and wish them a Merry Christmas. Though it may seem small, it’s amazing how this can lift your spirits and truly enjoy the people around you.
  2. Do something for someone who can’t pay you back. For example, this year an 11 year old Massachusetts boy named Brady Procon paid off a layaway bill of $327.27 at Walmart. He wanted to do the generous deed because he realized there were kids less fortunate than himself.
  3. Make time for relaxation. If you purposely block out time for reading a book or watching movies together it may help you get into the season. I try to read at least one or two Christmas themed books annually and we watch several Christmas movies.
  4. Conduct an Advent wreath ceremony leading up to Christmas. Information is available online, but essentially it helps the family contemplate the great spiritual purpose for which Jesus came to earth…to redeem us through His eventual death, burial and resurrection. There are typically 4 weeks of Advent with prayers and candle lightings for each week. However, since our grandchildren are young, we do it all in one night.
  5. Have a birthday party for Jesus with cake and all. It is both fun and instructional. It focuses on the birthday of Jesus, but you can accompany it with a short story about why He came.
  6. Don’t be afraid to say, “no” to invitations. Sometimes we simply tell folks the truth; we have a family night planned. Setting boundaries is important when it threatens to cut into family time.
  7. Unplug from technology, so you can notice, listen to and focus on others. This one is self-explanatory.

And finally, to you and yours I wish you a blessed and peaceful Christmas and a prosperous and healthful New Year!  The weekly blog will resume in January.