Thursday, October 1, 2009

Number 10:
Keep snooping children from ruining your Christmas—and theirs—by wrapping gifts as soon as you purchase them. You may use a code, such as a sticker or number, to distinguish between gifts. Don’t worry about tags and bows yet; add those later. Or, if you simply cannot take the time to wrap right then, hide the gifts under your child’s sink. They’ll never look there!

Number 9:
Set a gift-giving budget. Discuss gift expectations with your mate, and stick to said guidelines. If you’re tempted to overspend in a particular area, have your husband do that shopping instead. Track your progress as you go along.

Number 8:
Don’t fill up your calendar with any errands, appointments or activities that can wait until after Christmas. Encourage leaders of groups you’re involved with to consider suspending December meetings. Wait until January to take your dog to the vet, schedule that mammogram or shop for new blinds.

Number 7:
Prepare early! Choose a date in October to do each of the following:
• Book animal boarding for your travel dates
• Schedule your hair appointment
• Line up baby-sitters (Pay them a little extra to arrive early so you can finish getting dressed in peace!)
• Make lists (menus, rental equipment, shopping) and remember where you put them!

Number 6:
Stock up on items you know you’ll need:
• Batteries
• Film chips
• Stamps
• Butter

Number 5:
Keep inspiring Christmas books, such as A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts, around your house. Take deliberate breaks during the day to rest, read and rejuvenate for a few moments.

Number 4:
Do the things you normally do. If you exercise, continue with that routine. Eat enough fruits and veggies. Drink lots of water. Have quiet time. Get enough sleep. However, don’t take on any new self-improvement projects until after the holidays. What do you think New Year’s resolutions are for?

Number 3:
Keep a calendar handy where everyone in the family can see it. Add activities and events as soon as you know them to avoid conflicts and keep you on track. Reply immediately to invitations, circling “rsvp” on the invitation so you know you did it. This is a good time to build family time into your schedule. For example, put “Watch The Grinch and have hot chocolate” on a weeknight, so other things don’t squeeze out all your family time.

Number 2:
Learn to say no. Stop feeling guilty because you can’t do everything! Practice saying these phrases:
“No, we’re not going to be able to make it. We need that time together as a family.”
“No, I can’t bake cookies for that event, but I’d be happy to pick some up at the store.”
“No, I tried jamming in too many activities last year, and it really backfired. This year, we’re simplifying. Let’s get together after the first of the year instead.”

Number 1:
Remember the Reason for the Season. Stop, sit and take time reflect on Jesus. Just thinking about Who He is and what He’s done for you can calm the most frazzled hearts and minds. Meditate on His power and goodness for 2-3 minutes, pray for strength, and then get up to face the rest of your day!

What sanity savers can you add? What works to calm your spirit and be more like George Bailey than Ebenezer Scrooge?

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