I shared my secrets recently to a group of women. I had a fancy presentation with a powerpoint and everything. Who knew my hidden talent was public speaking, but when you are sharing something you are passionate about, it isn't too hard...I'd like to share a few suggestions on finding the spirit in a more Simple Christmas that I shared with this group of women...
- Have a Christmas Advent Devotional every morning or evening around the Christmas tree leading up to Christmas
- The Book of Luke has exactly 24 chapters. God's perfect advent...read a chapter a day about Christ's life right up to Christmas Eve.
- Watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional
- Attend Church services and/or the Temple to partake of the Spirit
"Nothing you buy will make you a better person.
Nothing you give will make someone love you more.
Spending won't make you happier."
- Minimize Christmas gifts. For example, Santa Brings three gifts to symbolized the three gifts brought by the Wise men.
- Make homemade Christmas gifts
- Make homemade Christmas goodies...keep half for "sampling" and half to your neighbors
- Minimize Christmas decorating. Only put out the most heartfelt decorations with memories attached. This helps to cut down on stress, too.
Engage your senses
- Christmas scented candles: Cinnamon, peppermint, pine
- Play Christmas music during the day
- Watch Christmas movies...ABC Family has a 25 Days of Christmas series for Children. I also love the Lifetime and Hallmark channel Christmas movies.
- Go out for a yummy hot chocolate...or make a hot chocolate bar in your home with all the sweet fixings
- Attend a Christmas music concert. School choir and band concerts are usually free.
- Go for a drive and look at Christmas lights
- Create a Christmas journal, sometimes referred to as a December daily. I made mine from old Christmas Cards. It was very simple. Document your thoughts and daily ideas on how you are creating a more simple, spirit filled Christmas. Focusing on gratitude, too.
Concentrate on keeping your stress levels down.
The spirit can't dwell in a stressed out vessel.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise - Now is not the time to stop taking care of your body. Exercise releases naturally occurring endorphins which make you happy and therefore, less stressed.
- Go for a walk in the snow
- Prepare simple healthy meals
Make Christmas an Experience
I once listened to a talk where the man related how one year they were debating whether to renovate a bathroom or take a family trip. Years later, their grown kids still talk about that family trip. He didn't think that gathered around the Thanksgiving table their children would have recounted the stories of a bathroom renovation and that awesome toilet.
Last year we had the opportunity to go on a trip right before Christmas. I was reluctant, because I am a nester and homebody, especially at Christmas. But, we decided that this would be our gift for Christmas...an experience. My kids don't remember the trinket gifts we gave, but they do remember the trip. I'm not saying you have to go on a trip for Christmas, but try to create an experience that your kids might remember.
- Attend a Christmas craft fair
- call a loved one far away
- Read a Christmas book
- Make some crafty Christmas decorations
- Go to a tree lighting
- Go on a sleigh ride
- Play in the snow
- Attend a Christmas carol sing a long
- Walk around the mall and look at all the decorations and busy shoppers and savor the simplicity of the experience you are creating for yourself and your family.
Try to create family friendly time...nothing is a 'have to'.
Do not set up unrealistic expectations.
Quit comparing yourself to everyone else.
Get lots of rest and remember:
Christ is the true reason for the season.