TIPS FOR SURVIVING THE HOLIDAY SEASON FROM LOVE INSPIRED AUTHORS

Tips from Marta Perry and Jo Ann Brown, authors of Amish Christmas Blessings

A few years ago, I realized that the Christmas season had gotten way out of control! I was packing up to move south for the winter, while trying to keep up with all the usual baking, decorating and entertaining. So I took a tip from our Amish friends’ approach. Although get-togethers with friends and neighbors are important, the Amish never miss the central point—the celebration of the birth of God’s Son. In an Amish household, external signs of Christmas may seem missing, but with the focus on faith and family, not externals, the Amish preserve their balanced lives, even in the midst of the holiday season.

So how could I adapt those simplified ideals to our lives? I started with the Christmas cookies—did anyone really need or want the ten different types of cookies I made? I polled the family and found I really only needed three kinds of cookies. With each aspect of the holiday, I asked: Would anyone miss it if you didn’t do this? The answer was often no!

So my best holiday suggestion to you is to look for ways to simplify your celebration. What things really make your family happy? I promise you, you’ll be happier and so will those around you.

–Marta Perry

When it comes to the holidays, I want them to be enjoyable and peaceful. The best way for me to find time to relax and remember the true reason for the season is to check off my list all those things that can be done ahead of time. As I can’t wait until mid-November for Christmas music, I turn some on and start my holiday baking in early November. It’s a great excuse to listen to the Chipmunks and Nat King Cole, and by the time Thanksgiving comes around, I’ve got as many cookies and other treats in the freezer as I’ll need for the whole holiday season. Also I’m that person who gets her Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving. I know I miss the madness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but standing out in front of a store at half-past dark in the morning isn’t my idea of holiday happiness. By getting a few important tasks done ahead of the holidays, I have more time to enjoy the ones that can’t be done early while still savoring the unfolding events of the season…and maybe even finding time to sit and admire the Christmas tree!

–Jo Ann Brown

 

Tips from Regina Scott, author of A Convenient Christmas Wedding

Find help where you can. Make Thanksgiving dinner a potluck, with every guest bringing a dish. Do a cookie exchange with friends, family, colleagues or church members. You’ll still have to bake more than a dozen cookies, but they will all be one kind and you’ll come home with several to choose from. Enlist children in helping wrap presents, teens in decorating the house. Make a game out of cleaning so everyone does something. Nothing may be perfect, but everyone can take pride in what they contributed. And if you’re less stressed, everyone else will be, too.

 

Tips from Laura Scott, author of Shielding His Christmas Witness

This is the time of year that kids love and parents often dread. The holidays mean family, and should be filled with hope for the future and love—but often also brings stress. Lots and lots of stress. As much as I love my family, the pressure of having everyone over and cooking meals, decorating and wrapping gifts can ruin the holiday spirit.

One holiday tip I want to share with you is something my husband actually started to do several years ago. One day we were behind (as usual) and he began playing Christmas music while he wrapped presents. It was amazing how much the music helped him to relax and enjoy what some might view as a tedious task.

Since making the holiday meal is my job, I decided to do the same thing. Singing along with my favorite Christmas songs made the time fly by and kept me in a positive mood throughout the day. I made a mess, but didn’t stress!

I hope you and your family have a blessed holiday season.

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