There is one month left until Advent begins: December 3, 2017. In one month we are given a four-week period by the Church to start the year anew and to begin a renewed relationship with Christ by spiritually reliving the Incarnation. And so we’ll think and ponder about the way God prepared humanity for the coming of His son. We’ll pray and sacrifice to prepare our hearts for the celebration of the Incarnation and invite Christ into our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies. We’ll approach the Eucharist with a new sense of awe because of this.
Oh, wait. Maybe we will. Maybe we will try. Or maybe as moms, we will find ourselves racing to constantly meet expectations for what “the holidays” must be: the kids, our spouse, our extended family, the school, ourselves. It’s not all bad, is it? How can it be bad to say yes to gingerbread houses and cookie baking and working to find a perfect gift for the people you love? How can it be bad to show appreciation to the mailman, the teachers, the garbage man? How can it be bad to make memories with decorations and tree-trimmings and parties?
The answer is simple. It’s not bad. But is it a distraction from something more important? We all have to answer this for ourselves. That answer is not so simple. We have one month left of Ordinary Time to prepare for the preparing. Make some decisions about Advent and Christmas. Don’t make a list of all the things you wish you would do so you can stress yourself out trying to accomplish more than ever, but make a plan. If you don’t, “the holidays” will plan your days, instead of you.
Don’t let Advent come and go in the whirlwind of things you “need to do.” What if you did only the things you believe are important to a meaningful Advent and Christmas?
Keys to a successful Christmas plan:
- Write down your “to do” list for Advent and Christmas as they’ve always been. Make a separate list of all the things you wish you would do.
- Go through the list and remove anything from the old “to do” list that should go or is overwhelming. I eliminated Christmas cards a couple of years ago. With that lifted from my shoulders, I realized how time-consuming and difficult a chore is was for me. It isn’t bad; cards are nice. However, it just wasn’t working for me and despite some expectations from others that they are essential, they aren’t.
- Choose a few comparable new projects from your wish list and consider any prep you may have. For example, you may choose to forgo the homemade treats you usually gift, and substitute with a gift card or purchased ornament. Now there is time for a Jesse Tree activity before bed each night.
- Single out any of the jobs that can be done before Advent and knock them out. Purchasing and wrapping gifts is the biggest opportunity for most.
- Decide if there is a better way to do some of these projects, and check that you have allotted enough time and money to execute them.
Taking a little time today to make a plan can mean a more meaningful and peaceful season for you and your family.
Share your best tips for holiday planning! Do you have a new plan you are working on this year?
Copyright 2017 Kate Daneluk