"I can hardly wait. It's almost Christmas!"
This is what my oldest daughter announced in the car one day this week. I had to take a minute to check the calendar to be sure I hadn't missed a couple of months somewhere. To my great relief, I found it was still October. We hadn't shot our car through a break in the space-time continuum on our way to soccer practice.
With a declaration like that, I assumed she had her Christmas wish list completed and wanted to present me with it. To my surprise, when I gently reminded her that we still have 2 1/2 months until Christmas, she had a different response.
"It's not the presents I like the most. I just love the family and friends and all the fun stuff we get to do at Christmas time," she said.
Wow. When she could have been listing all the things she wants for Christmas, she was looking forward to all the people she was going to get to see and spend time with. She was looking forward to the feeling of love at Christmas way more than she was looking forward to getting stuff for herself.
A few days later, I ran across this e-book, Untangling Christmas: Your Go-To Guide for a Hassle-free Holiday by Karen Ehman and LeAnn Rice. I've read plenty of books about making your holiday stress-free, and most of them simply tell you to either be super organized or they tell you to simply stop doing all those things that make the holidays special.
This book is different, and if you struggle each year with creating a holiday season that emphasizes the love and joy of the season, I highly recommend you check it out. Ehman and Rice start with the premise that too often we do things during the holidays because they're expected, not because anyone we love actually enjoys them. Their idea of creating a hassle-free Christmas includes sitting down with your family and finding out what traditions are important to them, and then doing only those things.
Their book is packed full of ideas for dealing with all those stressful holiday chores like baking and shopping for gifts. Their practical, easy to implement plan for a hassle-free holiday comes across in a fun, no-nonsense writing style.
If you want to get ready for the holidays and create an atmosphere that has your kids talking more about the memories and the love found in the holidays than what they received as gifts, then check out this book.
If we take the advice that Ehman and Rice share, we'll find ourselves creating a Christmas season that takes time to focus on the love and the joy inherent in the birth of Jesus.
Remember the angels said "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy..." (Luke 2:10), not tidings of great stress. Even if you don't get the book, take some time now -- in October -- to decide what's important in December. It will make it easier to say no to the things that don't add to the joy of the season.
Then, get back to your regularly scheduled plans for October.
You can purchase Untangling Christmas for Kindle (Untangling Christmas: Your Go-To Guide for a Hassle-Free Holiday), Nook or as a PDF file. You can also check out the Untangling Christmas website, which contains more ideas and recipes. This blog was not solicited for this review and received no compensation for the review.