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Perhaps the white Christmas you used to know is in your dreams but not your reality this year.  Perhaps it’s been a hard year or a busy year, and the only visions dancing in your head are the additional demands and expectations that accompany what should be a joyous season. Rather than tossing and turning night after night, why not try something new?

What do you want the Christmas season to look like this year? Evaluate this season of your life and what you want to accomplish. What’s most important for this particular year? Who would benefit most from your time and attention this year? What part of Christmas do you enjoy the most? Which activities bring honor to Christ? Which don’t? What can you let go?

Let’s consider some ways to simplify and keep our focus on where it needs to be so our Christmas can be merry and bright:

  1. Cultivate an attitude of joy and worship: Enjoy the holidays. Enjoy your family and friends. Don’t take people in your life for granted. Appreciate each one. Rather than focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have. Incorporate Bible reading and Christmas devotions into each day. Spending time with God keeps us centered. As our soul is quieted, we are able to breathe, and keep our perspective.
  2. Simplify decorations: For me, the nest is empty, and I am not hosting any parties. My family will gather at relatives’ homes this year, so the decorations are very minimal. I have learned to stay away from many small pieces and invest in good quality, larger pieces at after-Christmas sale pricing. These items can be set out then packed quickly.
  3. Simplify cards and baking: Why not send cards every other year? Unless baking is your passion, consider specializing in a few of your favorite items and use them only for Christmas and make them an annual tradition.
  4. Utilize your calendar: Be sure to schedule family obligations, church events and parties in advance. We don’t have to attend everything. Prioritize what is best for your family this year. Glance at each week. Is there any white space? If not, schedule it in. If the calendar is too full, consider rotating events or parties every other year.
  5. Utilize a notebook: Keep a small Christmas notebook handy throughout the year. Jot down gift ideas and creative ways to celebrate. Is there a ministry or special offering to make a donation? Are there people who have ministered to you throughout the year whom you would like to bless in some way? Carry your notebook as you shop, keeping a list of purchases and expenses. On Dec. 26, evaluate this year’s Christmas. What would you change for next year?
  6. Stick to a budget: The best way to ensure insomnia and nightmares is to overspend and carry debt into 2018. My husband and I make a budget a year in advance and divide the total by 12 months and save throughout the year. By December, the money is saved and when it runs out the spending stops. Consider a personalized gift on websites such as Affordable gifts that are personalized show you care while adding value.

So, enjoy the glistening tree tops, enjoy the children listening to sleigh bells, and may your Christmas be white.