Christmas decorations are in the stores. Time to sing, “Fa la la la la.”

What’s that? You can’t hear me because your fingers are in your ears and you’re saying "la la la la la" instead?

Yeah, I’m not exactly in the mood to think about Christmas either because I can barely keep up with carpool arrangements for next week. Still, before you know it, we will get caught up in the “Oh no, our neighbor dropped off a plate of cookies and I don’t have any to give them, so I’m going to give them the tin of spiced nuts that someone else gave me.” (Not that any of us have ever considered doing that.)

This is why we need to spend a few minutes thinking ahead—and make wise choices now.

If not, we get carried along in the frantic pace and find ourselves in the holiday equivalent of grocery shopping when you’re hungry. Nothing healthy ever comes of it.

So let’s make our Christmas choices now, so we have the willpower to stick to them in two months.

  1. Choose to make Christmas meaningful, not perfect. Spend more time preparing your heart and less time preparing your hearth. Panicking about the perfect decorations, perfect meal, and perfect presents is foolish. This holiday is already perfect because of Jesus—the perfect gift. The rest is just fun and filler.
     
  2. Choose to set spending limits. Some people have the freedom to spend to their hearts’ content. Not many do. Giving meaningful gifts is fun, and many look forward to it. It’s not fun, though, if you incur debt to do it and are left paying off your bills well into summer. Having to work extra hours to cover your spending or being stressed because of bills isn’t actually a gift to anyone. Especially to yourself.
     
  3. Choose your traditions. Maybe pizza is your new Christmas Day tradition. Maybe you decide to make your Christmas cards more meaningful this year. Maybe you decide that outdoor decorations are the one thing that’s just too much.  Or maybe you go ALL IN because it brings you joy. The way you celebrate Jesus’ birth doesn’t have to look like mine.
     
  4. Choose calm. Keep some time open on your calendar. Don’t accept every invitation out of guilt. Don’t volunteer for everything. Decide what commitments you’ll make. Gracefully decline on the rest.
     
  5. Choose to share your joy. Jesus is born! Let’s let our joy about that spill over into our actions. Last year, a friend of mine was blessed when someone came over to help her finish decorating her Christmas tree and putting lights on her front porch. Do you make awesome cookies? By all means, knock yourself out. Maybe you set aside a day or two on your calendar to serve at a shelter or take gifts to kids in the hospital.


Let us know what choices you are making this year. We'd love to hear them.