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  • Parenthood

    The Question that May Save Your Christmas (for Stressed Out Moms)

    December 23, 2013


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    Image credit: sheknows.com

    I used to dread Christmas. I could almost say I hated it. Now I’m sad it’s almost over and it’s not even here yet!

    The change came as a result of learning to ask myself one question whenever I felt overwhelmed with my holiday to-do list.

    “What is the worst case scenario if I don’t get this done in time?”

    Worst case scenario if we don’t get cookies baked before Christmas? We bake between Christmas and the New Year, when the excitement has worn off and the kids are already bored with their new (broken) stuff.

    Worse case scenario if there’s no time to finish (or start) that sewing project? Put folded fabric in a gift bag with a “promise to complete” certificate attached. Last year I put beautiful fabric for homemade cloaks under the tree. Attached to each bundle was a fancy card that read, “This coupon entitles the bearer to a sewing session with Mom for the completion a Victorian cloak.” I spent January teaching my girls to sew. Well, sort of. I accidentally made a place for a third shoulder coming out of the back of one of the cloaks. But the point is, I wasn’t bent over a table on Christmas Eve, cursing the day sewing machines were invented.

    Worst case scenario for not getting Christmas cards done in time? Send a “Happy New Year” newsletter. No one will die waiting for it and they’ll appreciate the time and effort put into sharing family updates anyway. One year I was late enough to send a “Happy Everything” newsletter: Happy Valentine’s-St. Pat’s-Easter-Thanksgiving-next-Christmas” letter. Actually, I was pretty early, depending on how you look at it.

    Worst Case scenario for not getting Christmas packages sent across the globe to every aunt, uncle, dog, cat and cousin twice removed? They hate you for it and stop sending gifts. Now the crazy cycle has finally ended. Score!

    Worst case scenario for not getting the neighbors’ baked goods delivered in time? Define “In time.” And while you’re doing that, I’m going to look online for the perfect “Holiday Quick Bread” recipe. Because fresh cranberry nut bread is just as delicious on December 29th as it is on the 23rd. And don’t, for heaven’s sake, apologize! Just say, “Hello. We’ve brought you some Holiday Bread.” Or, “We’ve brought you a New Year’s treat.” Then smile and be happy.

    Can’t get presents wrapped in time? Embrace gift bags and sleep in heavenly peace. I was pleasantly surprised when my kids assured me a present is still a present even when it’s presented in a bag.

    Here’s one: worst case scenario for not being able to afford to buy everything on your kids’ wish list? You finally have an opportunity to teach them what really matters in life. Back peddle from yesteryears’ habits and reprogram if need be, but do it before it’s too late. “Too late” will be when your adult kids are deep in their own Christmas debt, following the only pattern they knew.

    Worst case scenario for not getting the lights strung outside? The lights didn’t get strung.

    Worst case scenario for not getting the house cleaned in time? Your mother swipes through the dust on your coffee table and gets her finger dirty. Oops!

    Didn’t get around to opening those gingerbread house kits? Make Valentine houses! Can’t you just see pink slate rooftops and red hot stepping stones? I wonder how much shorter the winter season would seem if we saved some of these projects for those never-ending snowy February days.

    Don’t have time to put a Christmas breakfast casserole in the fridge on Christmas Eve? Why not start a new family tradition–Day After Christmas brunch? Or New Year’s Eve breakfast? Why must we confine everything to one date? Christmas, to me, is a season of joy, not just one day. Spread out the cheer! 

    Worst case scenario for not having time to write a Christmas blog? Share this one! You’ve given yourself the gift of time, and someone else a word of encouragement she just may need.

    What about you? What one thing can you let go of and REST this Christmas, knowing the world won’t end and no one will die if you don’t do it?

     

    2 thoughts on “The Question that May Save Your Christmas (for Stressed Out Moms)

    1. Mary says:

      Faith, I love you So much. 🙂

      I vow to be kind to myself, and to my family, this Christmas.

      Having finished the college term on the Friday before Christmas… living on a budget, having just been overwhelmed with blessings by our church family… I have nothing left for Christmas. I am learning, this year, to be content with a slightly-less-than-perfectly-clean home, slightly less than perfectly wrapped gifts, and having not sent anything out on time.

      And yet Christmas will arrive… and if I can just relax and live in the moment, my teens will still love it. And it will be a beautiful day, and a beautiful season, honoring the one Gift that really matters.

      Merry Christmas, my friend.
      Mary

    2. Faith says:

      Beautiful, Mary! I hope you do have a restful, peaceful, joyous Christmas. Love and hugs! <3

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