STAYING PRESENT THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
With November’s arrival, the holiday season officially begins (and it seems each year it starts earlier and earlier). The upcoming weeks fondly deemed “the most wonderful time of the year,” provokes a society-wide tendency to ramp our lives into high gear. Busyness becomes a badge of honor. And, while you may be excited for reconnecting with loved ones and showing gratitude for good fortune, this can be quickly overshadowed by the overwhelming amounts of holiday spending, endless hours of shopping, and rushing from event to event.
Focus on Your Relationships
Once the season is in full swing, the invitations from friends and family to attend various holiday events can quickly accumulate. From “Friendsgiving” and holiday parties to making the rounds to visit your extended family, prioritizing your time is near impossible. In the midst of attempting to stretch yourself to please everyone, keep in mind your choices are taking away time and attention from those that matter most, your family.
No matter the event or the invite, I encourage you to pray through your commitments and never overcommit. Balance is so important to our wellness this time of year.
This holiday season let’s be present and enjoy the fellowship with one another. In this post, I’m sharing some tips on how you and your family can enjoy Christmas and find fulfillment at this most wonderful and blessed time of year!
Spend Time with God
First and foremost, spend time in God’s word. The stillness of prayer assists us in keeping our focus on God while reminding us of the importance of being present, and the significance of the holiday, the birth of Jesus Christ. This is a time for gratitude and thanksgiving. When you deplete your reserves and end up exhausted, you lose your joy so take time to honor God this holiday by spending quiet time in His presence daily.I encourage you to spend time alone with God throughout the season, and use this opportunity to reflect on God’s purpose for you and your family. Click To Tweet
Spend Less Money and More Time
There is no price tag on love and gratitude. Memories are priceless. Regardless of how much money you spend on the holidays, it will not alter the nature of the season. We are barraged with thousands of advertisements attempting to convince us that a product or item is just what we need to make the holidays spectacular or provide a loved one with a memorable experience.
Believe me, when I say this, the product or item will not bring you or your family member fulfillment. It may bring temporary contentment but not lasting fulfillment.
Give Your Time and Your Gifts to Others
So, when you feel the urge to go out and spend based on the seasons marketing and messages, take a moment to reflect what matters most to you and intentionally carve out time to bond with your family. Instead of participating in the mass commercial events this year such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday, opt for cozying up on the couch and watching a movie with your family or friends. There are tons of wholesome Christian movies available that will remind you what is truly important during this season.
If you’re still in the mood to give a gift, give a gift on behalf of a family member or spend time with your family volunteering in the community. You could also coordinate a local holiday drive to give a gift that gives back to those less fortunate than you! My friend Angela organized a coat drive last year, and my friend Diane coordinates a blanket drive for the homeless each year.
This year create a time-honored tradition in your family by giving to those in need.
Do a Digital Detox
Technology is a wonderful creation that enables us to better connect with loved ones this time of year. No matter where you live, smartphones and social media expand your season’s greeting reach to even those family members and friends who are the farthest in distance!
But, despite all of its benefits, our electronics can serve as a tremendous distraction, drawing our attention away from what’s matters most during the holidays. Not only will a digital detox potentially reduce stress, but it will also allow you to be present for those special moments with family. So, take some time to unplug from social media and scrolling this season and take time to be present for your family. Create a family challenge to spend the weekend disconnected from social media and place your phone on do not disturb!
Another great challenge is to hold a competition to see who in your family or group of friends can reduce screen time. Through iPhone’s Screen Time setting, you can choose to schedule downtime or set time limits for apps. Encourage your family members to do the same. Advent is the perfect time to set some goals for unplugging this season.
Don’t Try to Replicate the Picture-Perfect Holiday
When you think about the holidays, images of gorgeously arranged holiday tables and beautifully designed homes clad with gold ribbons, white lights, and the perfect Christmas tree consume our thoughts. Pinterest (and I love Pinterest), Instagram and Facebook are full of images of the ideal holiday home and family gatherings. If we’re not careful, comparison sets in, and we begin to wonder where we fell short. Please don’t get caught up by these images. The most beautiful homes are the homes filled with those closest to you, family and friends. The most festive homes are filled with laughter and love.
The Greatest Gift
There’s NO amount of chic decorations, beautifully wrapped presents, or Instagram worthy dinners that will fulfill you. The true meaning of Thanksgiving, to give thanks, and the true meaning of Christmas, to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, is what the holidays are all about.
Let’s take time to love and serve one another because when the festive decorations are put away, the banquet of food is gone, and the New Year begins, what is left is the love that surrounds you. The love and blessings will be there when all else ends. So, let go of the stress of planning the perfect holiday and focus on making memories and celebrating Jesus Christ!
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)