Photo by Reggie Joiner

Let Go of your Christmas Picture

We all have a mental image of the way the perfect Christmas should look.  That’s why we work so hard to conform everything to the idea of what we have envisioned. We want to control who will be eating at Christmas dinner, how the conversation will go, the temperature and glow of the fireplace, the design of the Christmas tree.

The point is that everybody has a picture of what they think Christmas should look like. If we are not careful, our pictures have the potential to set us up for unnecessary disappointment and maybe even conflict. Someone wants to open presents on Christmas Eve when you are clearly supposed to wait until Christmas morning. Someone wants all the presents wrapped while others love the tradition of Santa Claus leaving unwrapped presents under the tree. Oh yeah, the tree. It should be real, or according to some environmentalist zealots, it should be artificial. All white lights are classy, but multi-colored lights are fun. It’s actually easy for your picture of Christmas to sabotage the story of Christmas that needs to happen in your family this year.

One sure way to take the stress out of Christmas is to let your family off the hook. Don’t push too hard for your version of Christmas to happen. Loosen up on your picture of Christmas, and make your relationships a priority.

Consider this idea:

Simplify Christmas Dinner

We’ve just finished stuffing ourselves for Thanksgiving, and we’re already trying to figure out how to get the Christmas meal on the table. Consider simplifying Christmas dinner by starting a new tradition. You don’t have to eat Thanksgiving dinner again. A crockpot full of soup, a taco bar, or a tray of lasagna are great options for a Christmas meal. Monica Roberson commented on a previous post with the idea that everyone could make their own homemade pizzas. In my family, each person is responsible for making or buying their favorite appetizer to make our Christmas Eve meal. Buffalo wings, mini crescent roll sandwiches, and a tray of Chik-fil-a chicken nuggets seem to always make the list. If you do want a more traditional meal, make it a potluck and ask people to bring items, or order some items from a restaurant or grocery store.

There’s no reason to stress over the cooking this year. Don’t focus on perfection, but focus on how you can make the most of your time so you can spend it with your friends and family.

What’s the thing that you find brings you the most stress over the holidays and how do you plan to avoid it?

Part Five

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Part Two

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