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The Holidays are right around the corner and if you are like me, you might be equally parts excited and anxious. I love the holidays, I love Christmas and the real reason for the season should be enough to just fill me with unrelenting JOY! I love the decorations, the lights, the food, the extra time with friends and family, but oh, does the holiday season also stress me out! The crowds, the family tension, the pressure of buying the perfect gifts on a budget, the cleaning and cooking and holiday parties...it can be exhausting.
This year, I don't want to find myself looking forward to New Year's as a light at the end of the tunnel. I want to enjoy my first Christmas as a Rasmussen, and remember the true meaning of the season instead of getting caught up in the unimportant. Heres how I think we can help ourselves chose JOY instead of stress, anxiousness and fear.
1. Reflect on the meaning of the season-We are celebrating JESUS'S BIRTHDAY friends! I have this cheesy ornament that says "Jesus is the reason" but it is so true. If you're a believer, this is a reason to celebrate and have a happy heart in itself.
2. Make Lists- Are you hosting a holiday dinner at your house like me? Do you have a lot of people you want to remember to bless with gifts this year? Don't scramble at the last minute, make a list, make twenty lists. I have a list of what we are serving for Thanksgiving dinner started, a separate grocery list, a list of who is responsible for what, and Christmas gift lists. Preparation is a key stress reliever, and if you start your lists now, you can add to them as you think of more things to include.
3. Pick a Winter Bucket List activity and put it on your calendar now. Weekends during the holidays fill up so fast with events and parties, so make sure to make time for something you love to do on the weekends. Whether its ice-skating, or walking around a beautiful park filled with Christmas lights hand in hand with your love, schedule a time to do it so you have something to look forward to!
4. Bless someone in need. My family always rallies coworkers and friends to bless a family who might not be able to do Christmas. Most years, my mom makes sure to pay months in advance on electricity bills, showers the children with toys and clothes, and even gets the parents gift cards and clothes just for them. You don't have to feel like you have to do all the above things, even something as simple as a gas card, a gift card to a grocery store, or the fixings for a holiday dinner might bless the socks off of someone you know.
5. Do your shopping early. Now. If you're like me, even better would be to do it online so you don't have to face the crowds. Think out of the box, and don't feel the need to succumb to the ready-made gift baskets full of lotion in the Wal-Mart Christmas aisle. Think of something that is personal to the person you're giving to. I have some unique ideas I'd like to share with you for a couple of my girlfriends, but they both read my blog, so e-mail me if you want to hear what is on my shopping list!
6. Say no. Say no to overcommitting yourself. You don't have to be holiday superwoman that attends every event at church, every one of your friends children's holiday programs, work parties, ugly sweater parties, etc. We can't do it all, and its okay to set boundaries to keep you sane!
7. Indulge in winter naps. Theres something about being cuddled up on the couch with blankets and your honey while the weather outside is cold and dreary. If you have a fireplace, then for me, please curl up near it at least once a week for a nap and/or cuddle session. I don't have a fireplace in our house, so my electric blanket is going to do the trick for me this year. I plan on taking naps as much as I possibly can!
These are practical ways that help me keep the Christmas Spirit, and I hope one or more of them helps you as well! Tell me, what are some things I missed that will help us choose joy this season?
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