Thanksgiving is behind us now and the Christmas season is upon us. If your house is like mine, the Christmas decorations have already been up for a few days. Things seem to speed up this time of year. We find ourselves looking behind us at a holiday that has passed instead of looking forward to the excitement of a holiday to come.
We spend a lot of time reacting to everything going on around us at Christmas instead of taking time to prepare for a better, more memorable holiday. There are a lot of things that influence what the season will look like. Some of those things we have no control over such as extended family schedules and plans. However, many of those things you do have some control over. With some conversations on the front side, the more memorable and enjoyable your Christmas season will be.
This sounds so cliche. Everyone wants quality time. But when there is a family gathering, making the most of the time together is even more important. As families grow and children and grandchildren move away, there is so much we want to condense in a small amount of time. Letting everyone know that you want to make sure the time together is well spent is important. You can even make some plans to improve the time spent together. You may decide to have an electronic-free time or possibly create some type of game for everyone to play. Being intentional with the time you have together will improve the experience and create stronger memories than racing through the day.
Christmas often turns into a time of disappointment because we allow our expectations to get out of line. Sometimes we expect family to spend more time with us than they do with extended family or in-laws. These expectations are even more compounded for blended families. Having reasonable expectations makes Christmas a much more pleasant experience. One of the other places where expectations should be metered is with gifts. There can be tensions both with spending too much or not wanting to be generous. Many families overextend themselves at Christmas and even get into debt to buy gifts. This is unnecessary and can cause the season to be way more stressful than it should. Bigger gifts rarely make Christmas memorable. Stress may create unpleasant memories. Why not make sure everyone has reasonable expectations for time and money.
Christmas is about Christ and love. One of the most important things we can do is spend some time reflecting on the true reason for the season. This may include telling one another something they did that made them feel loved, reading the Christmas story or just taking turns telling what Christmas means to each person. It is so easy to rush through this season and not take the time as a family to emphasize why we celebrate.
Christmas can be a fun time of year. It can be even better if we take the time to be intentional about just a few things. Have some conversations before Christmas, and when it gets here, it will be even better.