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Christian Living

Family

Family Matters 12/05/17

Putting Joy Back in Christmas

Mom and daughter decorating the Christmas tree

Are you feeling more "bah humbug" than joyful this season? So many things can steal the joy of the season if we let them.

So make a few changes to keep your spirit high!

Money, money, money.

Have a budget. Nothing can spoil the joy like debt. Don't fall victim to the spending fury. Develop a budget ahead of time and stick to it. Think homemade gifts, service, and other ways you can give besides spending money on lavish gifts. And watch your online purchases as those dollars can really add up. 'Tis the season to be jolly, so spend within your means.

Plan and then plan some more.

Nothing creates stress like simply reacting to last minute details and having no plan. Get organized, think logistics, and work ahead. Shop early or even throughout the year if you are a really good planner (Think about this for next year). Cook ahead and make travel plans early enough to save on costs. Plan, make lists, and delegate the tasks. The key is to lessen your stress, which will lessen your reactions to things and people.

Say 'No'!

Too many plans, too many charity events, dinners out, Christmas parties... I am getting exhausted just mentioning these. Look at the full list of events and pace yourself. It's OK to turn down an invitation. You don't have to give lavish excuses. Just bow out if you feel overwhelmed and can't do one more thing.

Gear up for the relatives.

Focus on their good points, minimize time with them if they are particularly difficult, and remember this is the time of good cheer. Wait for that family fight until after the holidays. Agree to disagree and determine to be civil to each other. Make a decision – I will enjoy the positive parts of Christmas with my family this year. I will be nice even if they are not. And I will intentional try to create positive memories. I will think on good things about my family. Notice the "I will…" in these statements. Engage your will.

Don't be the Grinch.

Get off the commercialization and plan spiritual activities to celebrate the holidays. This will ground you and help you focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Attend Christmas services, read the Christmas story, watch movies, plays, and attend choral events that put Christ front and center. This will help you get along better with others and approach the season with true joy because the message of Christmas is joy to the world – the Savior comes!

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