It’s that time of year again. When everyone goes crazy trying to find the perfect gift, plan the perfect dinner, make sure everyone has the perfect Christmas.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a step by step guide to the perfect Christmas? No more wondering if this is what it takes. Just follow these simple steps and *Poof* a perfect Christmas every time.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. But, there are things we can do to reduce the stress associated with this time of year.
First, decide ahead of time who you are getting gifts for. Try to keep the list to just the most important people. We keep our list pretty simple- the kids, parents and our nieces.
For those other people who you feel the need to get a gift for, remember that homemade gifts- a dozen cookies, homemade hot chocolate mix…- are just as appreciated as the store bought ones.
Next, decide how much you are willing to spend in total and on each person. Years ago, we instituted a $20 limit (we raised the limit for our kids). The limit has made it so much easier to shop. It’s also made us more creative in what we give. Last year I spent the nieces’ budget on yarn and crocheted items that they had asked for- which would have cost more than the limit if I had bought them.
Once the gifts are taken care of, decide on the decorating. Since we are limited on space (remember the whole living in a camper and sharing space in my mother- in- love’s house?) we have the kids pick out the items they like the best and then leave the decorating in one room. Because we’re out in the country, we don’t feel the need to decorate outside. Even if you live in town, don’t feel like you have to decorate outside. A simple wreath on the door can be just enough.
If you’re hosting Christmas dinner, plan a simple menu. You don’t have to have twenty items on the table. The fewer the dishes, the less likely you are to over stuff yourself! For Thanksgiving this year, we had smoked venison roast, wild rice dressing, green bean casserole, deviled eggs, cranberry sauce and dessert. Everyone had enough to eat and didn’t leave feeling like they had eaten too much!
Don’t be afraid to leave the china on the shelf. Use paper plates and plastic silverware. Then no one has to be stuck washing dishes (because we all know you can never fit all the dishes in the dishwasher).
But most of all, remember the true reason for the season.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”