Christmas is probably the season most of us look forward to the most, and yet feel the most overwhelmed in.
There is a reason that Christmas things come out in the store the day after Halloween (maybe even before). It is the purchasing time the stores all plan for so long in advance.
There are more Christmas movies than any other season.
It still is the busiest social time of the year … even with restrictions.
But tell me honestly, do you ever feel like you plan for Christmas for weeks, probably months, and then you blink and it’s over?
Do you feel like you spend days and days getting ready, for what seems like a few minutes?
The dinner you spent so long cooking is eaten in half an hour.
The presents you spent so long picking out and buying are opened in minutes.
Every year I think, “next year I will …”.
Seriously, in the middle of Christmas, I can be thinking of next Christmas already!
Kind of crazy if you ask me.
The question is, are you able to find the joy in the middle of the busyness and chaos.
When I was a young girl we would not only have our stocking and present time Christmas morning, but we would also, as a family of 7, have a large breakfast, go to the morning service at church, and visit with both sets of grandparents, having a full turkey dinner and opening presents at both homes.
I think that is where my “blink and you’ll miss it” feeling of Christmas can come from.
It was family time and I loved that part of it, but I was so overwhelmed and exhausted at the end of it I am not sure I felt much joy.
So how do you find, and protect, the joy at Christmas?
How do you keep the meaning of Christmas in Christmas?
Here are a few ways you can intentionally find joy in the middle of the chaos this Christmas season:
- Carve out the time to be present. One of the reasons we miss the joy over the season is that we are so busy doing, that we miss “being”. I remember a friend sharing with me that when they open gifts with their little one,s they let them play with the gifts for a bit before opening the next one, instead of just opening one gift after another. This is a great example of planning the time around being “present”. Another way to do this is to leave some time between the meal and dessert … let the adults linger around the table and enjoy conversation for a bit before serving out the dessert. If you are the host/hostess maybe it involves planning a menu that allows you the space and time to engage with your guests.
- Don’t overbook yourself. You already read what my family did growing up. Part of having the mindset of seeing and feeling the joy is not making so many plans you don’t have time to pause and enjoy. This is probably the hardest one as often the overbooking can be due to family members you want to see who don’t drive or can’t go out. Know ahead of time who you really want to see and then plan the rest around those top priorities.
- This is almost a continuation of #2. If you know your why, you can plan your how. When we are clear on our core values it makes it much easier to say yes and no, and make those reflect how you want to show up. Remember – every yes is also a no. Be aware of what you are willing to give up, to show up the way you want. It’s a give and take, with intention.
- Set yourself up well. Too often I have planned too many things in the months leading up to Christmas and then feel behind and overwhelmed, and wonder why I don’t get to do the things that bring the joy. If we want to celebrate the season, and those we love, in a certain way then we need to set our day up well going into Christmas. Remember … an intention without action is just a wish. This is one I am still working on.
- Find the joy. A bit cliche I know, but true. If we are to discover the joy we need to find it. It’s there. If we are missing feeling the joy at Christmas, it’s not because it is not there, but rather because we have not positioned ourselves to find it. I talk so often about our intention and knowing how we want to show up, then doing that. Practicing gratitude, pausing, worshipping, serving, loving, giving, are all ways we find joy at Christmas. Christmas is a time to celebrate the gift of love we have been given. Love as the ultimate sacrifice. How we do that will either steal the joy, or help us find it.
This season look for the joy.
Pause and celebrate.
Be present, even if that means letting some things go to have the space to be present.
Know heading into things how you want to show up. It is much easier when we plan ahead, then to hope we respond the way we want to spontaneously.
Christmas is a gift of joy.
May you find joy this Christmas season and discover the gift of love, even in the chaos and busyness.