Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Nine Ways to Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

For several years when we lived in South America I would find myself very depressed feeling and tired by the time Christmas arrived. I couldn't figure out why--I had a wonderful family, my husband energetically took part in and planned fun Christmas activities with the kids, we didn't go into debt but had nice presents, although extended family wasn't always around we had lots of friends, we were happy in our lives and ministry. Then it dawned on me that I was sneaking and snacking on lots of Christmas goodies which my low blood sugar doesn't allow and the result is depression, tiredness, headaches, and, as my youngest daughter says, "Grumpiness". The next year the first cookies I made were sugar free treats for me. When we made all our other traditional cookies and I got the urge to sample, I ate mine and did so much better!

Since then I've learned other tricks to help me truly enjoy the Christmas season, and by extension, the rest of the family, because it's true: Mom sets the tone of the house. 

Here are some of the suggestions I have to help you have a Merry Little Christmas (or all out big one if you prefer).

  1. Sleep Tight - Are you staying up late to shop for and wrap presents after the kids are in bed? Did you start your favorite Christmas movie at 9 pm? The best way to get enough sleep is not to hit the snooze button, but figure out what time you should get up and work backwards the amount of sleep you need--7, 8, 9 hours--and get into bed with the light off at that time. You'll thank me later.
  2. Eat Light - There are parties and cookies and Christmas cakes and pies and candy everywhere you go. Make your meals full of veggies and chicken or fish. Your scale will thank you later.
  3. Hydrate - Sometimes you think you are tired or hungry when what you really are is thirsty. Besides, staying well hydrated is one of the best ways to flush out cold and flu germs.
  4. Exercise - Don't try to take on a new activity at this time of year, but make sure you keep your regular schedule of exercising. If you don't do any, at least take the stairs, park at the back of the lot, enter the store from the farthest entrance to what you are looking for. Move and it will up your mood. Your body will thank you.
  5. Sunlight - This can be combined with number 4 if you live where it is sunny and  warm enough to get outside. My sister-in-law used to lead tours to Europe. To stave off jet lag when the sky was gray, she would shine a light at her face (eyes closed) for 5 minutes. She said it really worked! Besides, "they" say all of us who don't get outside enough are low in vitamin D. So get some bright light--natural or other.
  6. Devos - Don't skip on your time with God. Remember the Word of God is a mirror in which we see ourselves. Through it God can show us how our attitudes and actions need to change and that makes for a better holiday time. What about reading thoughtfully through the Gospel accounts of Christ's birth?
  7. Write - If you like to write, take a few minutes to journal. Talk about what is going on in your life, what is frustrating you, what is good, what you should do to get past the problems. You can throw out the parts you don't want anyone to read, but just getting it out and thinking it through on paper helps many people.
  8. Gifts Lite - This is not something you can really do at this time of year, but start talking about it for next year. It has taken our family years to come around to giving and receiving less by doing a Secret Santa gift exchange, but we have less shopping to do and less stress about finding just the right gift for everyone. We also set a dollar limit on the gift we are giving. Your wallet will thank you later.
  9. Delight - Take time to sit and look at the tree with the lights on and Christmas music playing. Watch your kids playing in the snow (or better yet, join them!). Sip your coffee and stare out the window. Make your gift wrapping time fun by playing Christmas music and eating a candy cane. Go shopping with a friend. Reread your favorite Christmas story. If it gets you in the spirit, put antlers or a wreath on your car! Do what it takes to make you enjoy the season.
We all have ideals for this time of year and often people end up feeling disappointed rather that fuzzy and warm. I can't promise you perfect family moments, but you can be proactive to help make your December merrier.

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  1. These are great tips. I forget to do most of these on regular months and it’s extra important during December,

  2. such a great list, thank you for the reminders!

  3. We do all of these and our Christmas is always wonderful. Found you on Grandma's Briefs link party.

  4. Love these tips and the one that really stands out to me is keeping up my time with God no matter how busy my day or week is, Sharon. He really gets me through so much in the grind of an ordinary day and the hecticness of this special Christmas season. I'll be pinning!

  5. These are excellent tips for this time of year. I can definitely easily integrate these into my daily routine.

  6. This is just what I needed today, Sharon. Thank you. I've been feeling a little blah about the holidays this year--a time that I usually love--so I'm trying to get back on track. I really appreciate the practical tips. Happy holidays to you and your family.

  7. Greetings! Very useful advice within this post!
    It is the little changes that produce the most important changes.

    Many thanks for sharing!



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