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Here comes...the holidays!

It's December 26th, and you wake up exhausted and totally bummed that Christmas is over. You're trying to pick out when you really felt like it was the holidays this year but can't seem to find it. If you're like me, you call your sister to lament that you missed the most important parts of the season; you got it wrong.

Has this ever been you? It's definitely been me, and it's a terrible feeling! There have been years where the engagements, stress of gifting, and "stuff" of the season choked out the joyful and beautiful. Sometimes I've missed Jesus altogether.

In 2020, I sat my family down for a meeting after a special dinner I had prepared the weekend right after Halloween. I wanted to do what we could as a family to ensure that most importantly Jesus stayed first in our minds and actions that holiday season. It was also important to me to know what exactly the holidays meant to my husband and kids. Because let's face it! We moms typically hold the calendar for the season. We have authority to decide what we will and won't do. We hold a major role in our family's holiday experience!

It was such a joy to hear from our kids the things that make Thanksgiving and Christmas special to them. We learned that they have a few non-negotiables when it comes to these holidays and were surprised to hear that gifts never came up for them. For instance, family jammies are way more exciting and important to our kids (and my husband, what?!) than I ever realized. Our tradition of getting a real Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving and decorating the house to Christmas music with hot cocoa is literally everyone's favorite memory of the season. These are just a couple examples, but it helped us prioritize what is key for our family.

Most importantly we were able to lay out a plan for keeping the news of Jesus' birth front and center. We learned to make time for family devotions + church, and personal quiet devotions are paramount. (This helped me rationalize buying an Advent devotional each year.) We also thought about ways to show God's love during the season just as He did through the birth of His son. We were on to something!

Our holidays weren't perfect that year either; nothing ever is. But wow, did we have fun celebrating the birth of our Savior! Some specific things that came out of our time together:

  • List of Christmas cookies to bake

  • Embrace Christmas decorating the weekend after Thanksgiving

  • Movie Sundays for those Christmas movies we all love.

  • Advent dinner + church Wednesday nights

  • Ring bells for Salvation Army

  • Christmas cards are fun, but optional

Below you'll find a worksheet that incorporates the questions I asked my family to get us prepared for the holiday season. I encourage you to include your spouse and kids and note where the overlaps and differences are.

One family can't do all the things so knowing what are the most important for yours, is key to prioritizing the right things. It was intentional to include the kids after a special family meal. It helped them focus on family vs being pulled away from electronics or play!

Reflection after the season is always important. What worked and what didn't? Did we do anything new that was particularly memorable to be included next year? Don't forget to give yourself grace, embrace the beauty of the season, and focus on loving those around you!

Blessings as you look forward to the coming season. May it be filled with wonder and God's love!


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