Saturday, November 24, 2012

It's time to focus...

You've awakened from your turkey coma. 

 You've survived the Black Friday madness.  

Now the truth hits you:  It's time to decorate for Christmas!  That's right ladies and gentlemen, Christmas is officially one month away.  One month from today is Christmas Eve... and you want to be ready, don't you?

I wanted to just take a few moments and give you some encouragement, and also be the voice of reason.  

Over the next few weeks you will read articles titled things like, "7 tips to a cleaner home,"  "14 days to prepare for winter guests," "Making every minute count," and "Having it all without spending a dime."  No, these aren't titles I will be writing any time soon, these are actual titles I've come across in past Decembers.  

I want to give you a few simple things to remember over the next few weeks.

#1.  It doesn't matter how much you have, as long as you're spending time with those you love.  
If you operate on a limited budget, or you just don't like the commercialism of the holidays, then express those feelings now.  Let others know you wish to buy gifts that can be "consumed" or "shared."  Let your friends and family know that you would like to share a dinner out with them instead of exchanging gifts.  Offer to host a cookie exchange.  Suggest a white elephant exchange.  Draw names.  Pass the hat for charity... It isn't the gift, the cost or the size.  It's about being with those you love.

#2.  Your house doesn't have to be perfect. 
I know, I talk a lot about cleaning around here.  I love my Shaklee cleaners.  But you know what?  Having a spotless house is nearly impossible when you work part time or full time, have children at home, have church programs and school events to attend.  All of these things are wonderful memory making opportunities. The truth is, I have a dozen people at my house for Thanksgiving - and I didn't get my floors mopped.  Guess how many people noticed?  NONE!  

Don't stress out about having a perfect house -- people aren't coming to see your house...they're coming to spend time with you...  

#3.  Make every moment count...
 OK, so I did say it...  But not in a task list context.  It's okay to cuddle in by the fireplace, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa (extra whipped cream, please) and share some time with your family.  No one ever said, "I wish I hadn't spent so much time playing games with my kids."  Keep the main thing, the main thing.  Making memories is central to good times... Every moment you have is the opportunity for a memory... make the most of every one.

#4.  Decorate the way that suits your life.
I put up nearly a dozen Christmas trees.  I start the first weekend on November. That's what works for my family.  If that doesn't work for your family, then don't stress over it.  If you only like one single 4 ft table top tree, then that's what you should have.   Just make sure you're not stressing over making the perfect memory, when really,  their vision of perfect isn't what you're trying to create after all.

These are the moments of your life time.  These are the memories you are making.  Don't miss a single opportunity.  Make them count.

Before you get caught up in decking the halls and spending every extra dollar, focus on what really matters to you and your family.  Then decide together what is important.  Maybe it's volunteering with the Salvation Army as a bell ringer.  Maybe it's taking out your neighbor's trash can when you notice they forgot while they were out of town.  Maybe it's baking cookies for your Sunday School class.  Your holidays will be brighter, you won't be stressed to the max, and you will walk away with long lasting memories.

Only By His Grace,


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