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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

She's Making A List And Checking It Twice

Have they hit yet? The Christmas Crazies?

You KNOW what I mean, right?

That point in the Christmas season where you think you might lose your mind. When one more thing to do or remember that is forced into your brain might just make your head explode.

For me it usually hits when I realize that my kids only have a couple more days of school and all the things I wanted to accomplish BEFORE they are home on Christmas break haven't been completed.

Bottom line.....STRESS!

I really think that no matter how hard we try to keep the true meaning of Christmas, the coming of Christ, at the forefront, there is still bound to be some stress.

* Parties to attend
* Gifts to buy
* Cards to send out
* Goodies to bake
* Church events and responsibilities

And all of this on top of all the other things we normally do that keep our home running grocery shopping, laundry, homework, etc.

So this is the point where I start making lists. Gifts lists, shopping lists, Christmas card lists, daily menus, "To Do" lists. It's what keeps me sane. And then of course there's that feeling of accomplishment when I can check something off one of my lists. Sometimes that's the biggest benefit!

So if you're starting to feel stressed, stop, take a breath, and try making some lists to help you feel better organized.

There also comes a point for me every year, when I realize that there are going to be some things that I would like to do that just aren't going to happen. Sometimes we just have to lower our expectations. Maybe that one last new cookie recipe that we wanted to try just isn't going to get made. Or that one craft we really wanted to try with the kids just isn't going to happen.

It's time to think about those things that, realistically, just aren't going to get done. And what on my list of things to do, doesn't really matter in the long run or isn't worth stressing over to try and check off my list.

One thing I've done over the years is to have a couple pre-determined things that are the first thing to go off my list. For me that's Christmas cards. Some years they get sent, and some they don't. This year, I just so happened to get a decent picture of the kids over Thanksgiving weekend so I quickly ordered cards online and got them sent out. But if I don't, I don't. And I'm not going to beat myself up over it.

The other conscious decision I've made is to not bake cookies.

 I know.....GASP!

 The first couple years we were married, I baked a lot. I still get teased by my family a little because I used to make Martha Stewart's homemade marshmallows. But it all started to feel like just a job that had to be done. And quite honestly....if I made the cookies, I ATE the cookies! So for several years I didn't make anything and now we just make the Almond Toffee that we mostly give away.

So if YOU'RE starting to feel the Christmas Crazies, try making some lists to help you feel more organized. But maybe more importantly, cut yourself some slack. Think about what is most important for you and your family to have a memorable, yet peaceful Christmas. And MOST importantly, be reminded about what we are truly celebrating....the birth of our Savior.

Which reminds me of some of the words of the Steven Curtis Chapman song, "Christmas Is All In The Heart"....

No, it's not in the snow
That may or may not fall
And it's not in the gifts
Around the tree
It's in the love heaven gave
The night our Savior came
And that same love
Can still be found where ever you are
'Cause Christmas is all in the heart
It's all in the heart

Have a great day!
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- Jill


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