I love my life. I do not think I say that enough. I think I become so consumed in all of the hats I have to wear daily that I forget to mention that I love being me. I love my husband and my crazy children (both at home and at work). I love being a mom and a teacher. I love writing. I love creating.
As Christmas sprints towards us, I think of all the people I hold dear. Some of them, sadly, have not embraced the Christmas spirit for so many reasons. Life has thrown them curve balls. Some curve balls are small and quickly dodged; others smack them right in the face taking them to the hospital for restorative surgery.
As a mother of three toddlers who love all things Christmas and a daughter of a mother who shares their sentiment, I decided to offer a few ways to invoke the Christmas spirit for those who feel less than inspired.
Remember the reason for the season. Life has taught me that Christmas is about presents, shiny lights, and beautiful trees. Sometimes I even think twice before I say Merry Christmas to strangers and not-so-strangers. My guess is that life has taught you the same. Yet, if you share more time at Christmas with the One for whom the holiday exists, you will find Christmas less cumbersome. Give Him the gift that costs you nothing and everything all at once. Give Him the gift of you…the same way He gave you the gift of His Son.
Do something for someone else. Get outside of yourself and your situation for a few moments. Offer to watch someone’s kids for a few hours, take them to the park, help someone cook dinner, take out the trash, clean the house, help her run errands, wash his car, mow his lawn, something, anything… We often feel the only way to give back is to buy toys for or donate money to a cause. We feel like we have nothing to offer. We feel like we cannot get outside of our own circumstances. We love the Grinch and empathize with all he has to say up until his heart grows three sizes too big, then we bow out gracefully. Spend some time in someone else’s shoes. You will find the experience quite refreshing.
Listen to Christmas music. My three personal favorites are – in no particular order – Mama’s Christmas Shoes, Mary Did You Know (the Pentatonix version), and Grown Up Christmas List (any version). Put the kids Christmas station on Pandora and dance around the house to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Jingle Bells, and Santa Clause is Coming to Town. Music has a way of soothing to soul. I tend to prefer silence in general – on car rides, at my house, etc. But at Christmas time, I make exceptions. Something about the melodies brings about smiles, warm memories, and, at times, hearty laughter.
Spend time with the people you love. Forget about the $25 gift for the white elephant exchange. If you want to exchange gifts, do something creative like exchanging homeade gifts or re-gifts. Make sure that people are NOT ALLOWED to spend any money. Or, like I said originially, FORGET ABOUT GIFTS!! Have a girls night in or a guys night in or a couples night in OR day out OR night out. Get away from your children OR immerse yourself in your children. Find friends; find family; find someone you care about and block out the rest of the world. Enjoy every moment because every moment matters.
We do not remember days. We remember moments. ~ Cesare Pavese (Source)
Find FREE activities. While most places and projects cost a little something, plenty do not. This holiday season, for example, my family and I attended a church event where they provided Christmas caroling, beautiful lights, and free professional pictures with Santa. I live in New Orleans so we also attended Miracle on Fulton Street where they provide fake snow, Santa Claus, reindeer, live music, and a gingerbread St. Louis the Cathedral. (It never snows here, by the way, if you were wondering who would need fake snow.) Find DIY Pinterest projects you can do with items around the house. Watch Christmas movies on television or YouTube. Drive through neighborhoods and look at pretty lights. Take walks through beautifully decorated homes and areas. Read Christmas stories (your own or the ones you find online). I can go on and on.
God never intended the celebration of the birth of His Son to be a hassle or a headache. We created that environment. You must ignore the noise that surrounds you, or perhaps you need to embrace the noise around you and embrace your no-hassle holidays. If ever there was a time to celebrate, the birth of Jesus is that time. Sometimes your current state of affairs prevents a clear, level-headed mindset. You are exhausted, and you are overwhelmed at life. It is for precisely this reason that we celebrate. He came to give you hope. He came to give you a second chance. So if this Christmas, all you have to give is a mess, a broken heart, and a tired soul, He will take it. All He requires is all we have to offer – at our best or at our worst. All He asks is for our ordinary and less than ordinary and extraordinary.
That, my loves, is how you create a no-hassle holiday.
Until next time, Merry CHRISTmas!
I welcome anyone who would like to join me on my journey to accepting a “no-hassle” lifestyle.
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