Monday, December 13, 2010

Cutting Stress out of Christmas

My Christmas tree went finally up last weekend up but I haven’t done any Christmas shopping. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. What I don’t love is the stress that comes with the season.


I have spent money I didn’t have in the past for the sake of keeping up with tradition. I have gained weight (surprise!) because I was the last one on my own list. I am not proposing abolishing gifts or eating celery on Christmas eve. What I would like to do is stop the crazy busyness because most of the stress during the holiday season is self-imposed.

Assessing your traditions in order to cut stress and add joy is always a good idea. Here are a few examples of how a couple of women cut stress from their lives:

• The first woman told her family: “Christmas is Jesus’ birthday and not yours so we’re not buying yall gifts.” That was a bold way to make her life less stressful. If you have kids this might not work for you tough.
• Here is what a second woman did. She asked her children what is the most meaningful thing about Christmas. That made her celebration simpler and even more meaningful.
• Another woman told her children, "Jesus got 3 gifts and so will you." She said that works for her family because as her children got older the requests multiplied and so did the prices of gifts.
• In my case, I just stopped buying gifts for everyone a few years before I had kids. We decided to save that money and send a few Christmas cards instead.

These solutions may not apply to you and your situation but trust me, there’s always a way to cut stress and add joy. Here are the things to remember:

1. What is the focus of the season?
2. How much cash do I have for gifts?
3. What is the most important family tradition?
4. When I look back at the Christmas of 2010 in 10 years, what do I hope to remember?
Another thing to consider this season is the incredible amount of people who are really sad or depressed this time of year. My family is still mourning a loss so holidays without those loved ones gone to Jesus are really challenging. That's a different kind of stress people are faced with. It's important not to be isolated in case you are really, really down and not acting like yourself. Don't be afraid to ask for help. I pray God's comfort for you this season.

No matter what kind of stress you face, let’s just not forget God’s gift to us, Jesus Christ. He is a present help in times of trouble (depression, sadness, etc). The season really is about Him.

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