Christmas! One of the most celebrated times of the year. Complete with love, excitement, laughter, and don’t forget the Cookies, Cakes and Ginger Bread men. Not to mention snow falling, fires burning and lights all aglow. Ah yes, Christmas time is here once again. With the hustle and bustle that the holidays bring…let’s remember to keep it real, simple and stress free! The following are just a few tips to help preserve the Joy and Peace that Christmas brings:
1) Be Realistic: The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videotapes.
2) Stick to a budget: Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. Try these alternatives: Donate to a charity or adopt a family in need, give homemade gifts or start a family gift exchange
3) Reach Out: If you feel lonely or isolated, volunteer to help at your church or visit the hurting in hospitals and nursing homes . Volunteering your time and helping others also is a great way to lift your spirits. Jesus says that when we LOVE our neighbor our JOY will be full! John 15
4) Taking time for yourself: Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Take a walk at night and look at the stars. Listen to soothing music. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.
5) Learn to say No: Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Family, friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity.
6) Forgive Others: Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all your expectations. Forgive any grievances you may have toward loved ones and remember Jesus said, that if we want the Father to forgive us we must forgive those that have wronged us (Mark 11). When we hold grudges toward others we think we’re getting back at them. The truth is, we are only hurting ourselves. When we are not forgiving, we are imprisoning ourselves in pain and sorrow and it can affect our emotional and physical health. My advice would be to ask God to help you forgive…and remember If you want mercy from our heavenly Father then we must extend that same mercy.
7) Remember the Good: Some of us have lost those that are dear to us. It is OK and normal to be sad at times, especially during the Christmas season. One way that helps grieving is to “Remember the Good”. Remember their smiles and their laughter. Surround yourself around family and friends that are closest to you.
8) Celebrate the Reason for the Season! Remember Christmas is about the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Teach your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews about the true meaning of Christmas, that it’s MORE than just packages and bows and focus on God’s Love for he gave us the Greatest Gift of All! Celebrate Jesus!
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