Five Days of Homemaking: Five Tips for Holiday Planning

This post is part of a Five Days of Homemaking series. You can read the introduction post and find links to the other posts here. In today’s post, I’m taking a look at homemaking around the holidays.

I have to give a little confession/disclaimer before I start talking about holidays. I am not a “holiday person.” I don’t do Elf on the Shelf at Christmas. I don’t have fifteen boxes of Christmas decorations. I don’t have a cute holiday village to display. We even open presents “gasp” on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day. I don’t do huge Easter baskets for the kids- although we do hide eggs with plenty of candy. I don’t send Valentines Cards. I tend to think that a holiday is just a day. We can celebrate the birth of Christ 365 days a year. We can celebrate His resurrection that many days as well. We can send cards or say “I love you.” any time. And I don’t need Mother’s Day to tell my mom I’m glad she’s my mom. I get that having a specific day helps to draw our attention to the subject being celebrated. And I admit that we need those reminders. But I think that society sometimes makes idols of the holidays. And we Christians are right there with them. And all of that leads me to my first tip:

1. Keep the right perspective. It doesn’t matter if you make it to church on Easter with your children wearing beautiful matching Easter clothes after they have opened beautifully decorated Easter baskets if their spirits are crushed because you’ve fussed at them. Ask me how I know this. God couldn’t care less, I’m sure, that my kids were all dressed up and dressed alike. And I can guarantee you that I wasn’t celebrating the resurrection when I was calmly discussing with yelling at my child for getting marker on her Easter dress. 
If you are so stressed and bothered by the holiday preparations, I’m pretty sure you’re not focused on the purpose for the holiday. On the other hand, if you stop and marvel at the birth of Christ or His sacrifice for us; or if you take the time to take your dad out to lunch and say “I love you.”, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter what day it is or if you have the decorations all right. Just keep it in perspective. That leads us to my second tip:
2. Breathe. Just breathe. Stop all your hustle and bustle and planning and rushing and just make time to reflect on why you’re doing this. If you are too busy to do this, refer to tip one.
3. Get on the same page as your spouse. Jason and I had a very wise college pastor who counseled us before marriage. His method was pretty simple. He gave us sheets of questions about what we expected our lives to look like after marriage- where do you celebrate holidays?; how many kids do you have?; what kind of job do you have?; does mom work after having kids? We answered the questions together. This was a revealing activity. There are lots of things you take for granted that the other person will just agree with you. Thanks to this little activity we knew that we had to reach a common ground when it came to dealing with holidays. His ideas were different than mine.
Probably, both you and your spouse will have to bend when it comes to this area. Chances are you both have celebrated differently growing up. Some families do Santa; some don’t. Some families have a huge Thanksgiving dinner; some don’t. There are probably lots of things you’ve done differently. Now you need to decide what you are going to do together. This is one of those areas that just can’t be left to chance. Get on the same page and present a united front when answering questions from well meaning friends or extended family members- “Why did you decide to celebrate that way?!”
4. Plan things financially so you don’t overspend. I mentioned this in my frugal tips yesterday, but it’s worth sharing again. Just in case you missed it. Plan ahead for spending- especially for Christmas. Set a budget. Buy gifts a little at a time through the year. Think ahead to determine homemade gifts you can make. Decide with extended family about changing up things and not buying gifts all around. Whatever it takes, plan for spending so that it doesn’t take you by surprise and you don’t spend more than you intended.
5. Let holidays be a teaching tool. Sometimes in the midst of the bustle, we forget that the whole purpose of most of the holidays is to be a remembrance of something. Take the time to teach your kids about the Christian meaning of the holidays and well as the historical roots of the holiday. And don’t forget that your kids learn from watching even more than from listening to you talk. If they see you in a constant whirlwind of activity, miserable because you’re doing too much, they learn. If they hear you complaining about why you have to do this or that activity you really didn’t want to do, they learn. Think about what your kids are learning about the holidays from watching you,
What do you think? Do you have any fabulous tips for making your holidays less stressful?

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