This idea is kind of intertwined with the last one and I almost rolled them both into one post.
But that would have gotten kind of long, especially since the last post was kind of long all on its own.
We already talked about how your holiday stress might be stemming from a desire to impress people.
I also think seasonal stress is a result of not thinking about our priorities.
What do I mean by this?
I’ve talked about it before, but unless we’re intentional about how we spend our time and money, it’s easy to let life drag us around. And usually when that happens, we end up spending our time and money in ways we don’t really want to be spending it.
If this is true in everyday life, it’s doubly true around the holidays. Because of that, I think it’s important to figure out what you want out of the holiday and what things/people you want to prioritize. If you haven’t taken that step, it will be difficult to be intentional about how you spend your time and money.
So, sit down and make a list of the things and people you want to invest your time and money in this Christmas (if you’re married, you’ll probably want to collaborate with your spouse on this so that you have unified priorities).
Do you want to have a low-key celebration?
Do you want to have a lot of company?
Do you want to trim your gift list?
Do you want to stick to a small budget?
Do you want to give generously?
Do you want to get out and enjoy the sights and sounds?
Do you want to set aside time to be at home?
Do you want to do crafts?
Do you want to bake?
Do you want to minimize time spent in the kitchen?
Do you want to spend a lot of time making homemade gifts?
Do you want to have a Christmas with less emphasis on gifts?
Do you want to spend time making traditions with your kids?
Do you want to help people who aren’t as fortunate as you?
Do you want to celebrate with just family, or are there friends that need to be prioritized?
Do you want to see a whole lot of extended family?
Once you’ve got a clear idea of what your priorities are, you’ll have a much easier time deciding what should get a yes, and what should get a no.
I like to give examples, so here are a few.
- Maintaining a cheerful attitude is one of my priorities at Christmastime (well, all year, really, but it takes more work at Christmas!) After all, the holiday season isn’t really that enjoyable for anyone living in a home with a crabby mom. 😉 Since I get mentally exhausted by a lot of out and about activities, this means that I say no to those more than I say yes. It also meant that when our children were small, we decided that we weren’t going to be able to run around to several houses on Christmas Day (that wasn’t really contributing to my sanity.)
- Baking with my kids is also a high priority, as is including them in the Christmas decorating process. I also really want to help them get excited about making/giving gifts to other people. So, I schedule in a generous Christmas break from school in order to make time for these things.
- Helping my kids think of others is also important to me, so one of the out-and-about things I say yes to are visits to nursing homes where we sing and play music.
Everyone’s priority list will look a little bit different (yours will probably look different from year to year, even!), and that’s ok.
Whatever your priorities are, having them listed and sorted should provide some clarity for you. And if you’ve got clear priorities, odds are good that you won’t wake up on January 1st wishing you’d done the holidays differently.
Do you try to be intentional about your priorities at the holidays? Share in the comments!
And if you feel like it, you can share some of your holiday priorities as well.
The next post in this series: It’s ok to have an imperfect Christmas. And it’s ok to say no.
Previous posts in this series:
Wednesday 13th of November 2013
Hi, I love your photo books. They are awesome. Do you have a post that tells us how to make them?
Thursday 14th of November 2013
I don't...I'm sorry. I just do really simple scrapbooking, using mostly solid colored 12x12 paper, and then I print out captions and titles and such on white paper and ink the edges.
Monday 19th of August 2013
Most of my 5 children are married and we now have 3 grands. We would like to go the direction of home made gifts but we're wondering if anyone had links to gift ideas that aren't just "stuff"? We have enough of that.
Saturday 13th of October 2012
My comment got ridiculously long, so...
In short, my family moved a lot, and our traditions were always somewhat in flux. So changing traditions now seems a natural part of life!
Friday 12th of October 2012
I like to make some extra canned goods during summer and fall harvest just to use for Christmas gifts. A couple of jars of relish, jelly, or pickles makes a sweet gift and since so many people do not can, they think it is a real treat! I also like to give local honey or molasses as gifts!
Wednesday 10th of October 2012
I'd be interested to hear ideas of what other people are getting their teenagers for gifts. My kids have gotten plenty of gift cards in recent years, and they haven't spent all of them yet. Lucky for me, they are not materialistic or greedy, but that makes them difficult to shop for.
Wednesday 10th of October 2012
Hi Heidi, This may sound boring, but are your kids saving for anything? A special trip they want to go on (our kids have to come up with part of the money for youth group retreats/camps and this spring, a senior trip with their school)? Upgrading a piece of equipment (one daughter wants a new guitar)? We're giving some money earmarked for these big things they are saving for. My adult son is saving for a car, for his birthday next month he'll be getting some money towards that.
In past years, we have given tickets to our teens for events, shows, museums and concerts that are in their areas of interest. We've given a set of lessons that would be outside of our normal budget. Is there some experience that they would enjoy instead of a thing? Don't know if any of this helps.