We can all agree on two things: Christmas is coming in 86 days and in one way or another we’ll all celebrate on December 25th.
But, will this be The Best Christmas “Ever”?
I’m convinced it can be The Best Ever with a little thought, planning and common sense. The reality is we only have a few weeks to truly get ready for this special time of year. Once we start decking the halls, all chaos breaks out. Chaos can quickly destroy any thoughts we might have had for the best Christmas ever. Before you start hearing Christmas music playing in the department stores, here are some ways to get a plan in place and take action to make this The Best Christmas Ever.
First things first………………
1. Make a decision– It all starts with you. Make a commitment now to yourself and family to make this the best Christmas “ever”.
2. Reflect on the true meaning of Christmas– Christmas and the holiday season mean a lot of different things, but the true meaning of Christmas is built on the birth of Jesus Christ. Make sure all your planning is connected to that truth.
3. Call a family “brainstorming” meeting– Call a family meeting and get everyone’s ideas on what would make the best Christmas “ever” for them. (Note: I suggest before the brainstorming starts, be sure and outline the family budget boundaries for gifts, travel, parties and gatherings.)
Six things you might consider for the family meeting…….
Discuss ways the family can prepare for the Christmas season by doing Advent activities, readings, crafts and studies.
Create a new Family Tradition
This could be anything from reading the Nativity Story on Christmas Eve, attending candlelight service, caroling or baking special goodies for the neighborhood. Create something the entire family can participate in and look forward to, year after year.
Choose a family outing or activity that benefits those in need in your community. Check with local non-profits and churches for programs your family can participate in to truly share the spirit of Christmas.
Give Out-of-the-Box Gifts
Explore the idea of making homemade gifts; limit the number of gifts each family member receives; set a maximum dollar amount of gift purchases or exchange gifts of service.
Schedule All the Merry
To minimize chaos and diffuse any drama, make sure family members understand the importance of coordinating and prioritizing holiday plans within the family calendar.
Commit to Worship
During this busy time sometimes the most important things are pushed aside. Make sure weekly worship and special Christmas services and programs are scheduled first.
Make Your List and Check it Twice
Based on the all the discussion and agreed upon ideas, build your budget. Be sure to include all expenses associated with the holidays; i.e., gifts, travel, decorations, supplies, extra food, added utility costs, etc. into the Christmas budget.
Does everything fit within your family budget? If yes, move on.
If not, take a deep breath and get creative.
(Remember even though it’s Christmas we need to still run our lives like a business, Step 4.)
Have a Holly Jolly Christmas
Now the fun part starts! Pull out your calendar and start filling in all your Christmas activities that include all those budgeted expenses. (Don’t forget to schedule those weekly family meetings to make sure Santa is staying within the budget.)
I’m convinced by doing a little creative planning, discussing and preliminary budgeting now, will bring an even more blessed Christmas season, filled with all the tidings of comfort and joy, as the carol goes. And who knows, this just might even be The Best Christmas EVER.
HO, HO, HO and Merry Christmas,