5Christmas is such a busy time. There are parties, gifts to give, family time, plus all of the regular things that you have to do. Like, no one is going to come in and do all of my laundry just because it’s Christmas. Although, if you’re reading this Santa, “Do you wanna lend me just a couple of your elves to help me pick up my house?”
This year our church is adding an extra service the weekend of Christmas, so, we will have a Saturday night, and two Sunday morning services. I am sure that some of you have more.
Here are some tips and ideas to stay sane this year at Christmas.
- Wherever you are, be there.
By that I mean, if you are at home, put your phone down. Leave it in the car if you have to. The emails and social media can wait an hour or two. I have a hard time with this myself.
If you have set aside time with your family, it is vital that you respect that. You’re kids notice what you are doing, they might not be able to say thank you right now. But years from now, your kids will remember that when it was family time, it was family time.
I remember growing up, Mondays was our family time. Mondays are notorious for being a bleh day, but I always looked forward to Monday, because I knew that I was going to be able to spend time with my parents and I didn’t have to share them with anyone else, well, except for my brother, but whatever.
2. Have Boundaries.
This point goes along with the first. My dad read the book, Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, when I was 16. Looking back, I can see a clear difference in his parenting style, before reading Boundaries and after Boundaries.
Granted I was 16 and just starting to want looser boundaries of my own. But, I think every person can benefit from reading the book. Christmas is a super busy time, and if you let it, the work of the church can over take you and your family.
It is vital to have a set time where you spend with your family, especially during this busy time. Before it gets hectic, set your boundaries and plan your time.
- Go take a drive to look at Christmas lights and drink hot cocoa.
- Do a cute little Christmas craft.
- Make a snowman.
- Get a real nutcracker (and nuts).
- Buy a special ornament, even at the dollar store.
- Play board games.
- Watch your favorite Christmas movies at home.
- Do a puzzle together.
- Put a Lego set together.
Create special memories with your family. You will be amazed what becomes your traditions at Christmas.
3. Bring your kids along.
If you can, let your kids tag along with you at church, but also give them a job. Let them set out the name tags. Have them be in charge of the punch bowl at the party. It won’t matter 10 years from now, if every single thing was perfect at your Christmas Party this year, but it will matter if you make your kids feel important. It won’t matter if it looks like Joanna Gaines herself came and decorated, but it will matter if you bring your kids along for the ride.
I got a taste for ministry at a very young age, I was in my first puppet skit at age 7. There were times, especially in my youth, where I rolled my eyes when I had to go to church again, but my parents showed me that ministry can be fun and I am still highly involved in church today because of that.
My parents made a space for me, and I never left.
This is easier said than done. I have a four-year old and a two-year old, just this Sunday, we were doing a run through of the Sunday Morning Service, and I see my kids running wild and crazy. This brought a good teaching point to my kids, “It’s okay to have fun at church, but let’s not be crazy.”
I get how hard it is to work with kids around. But involving your kids makes it a family thing. You are actually ministering to two different groups of people:
Your Kids. Involving them means that they get to see what it is like for an adult to answer the call of God on their life and live and grow in that. They also get to spend some time with you when you are wearing a different hat.
Church Family. The kids and the volunteers in your ministry get to see you work and grow with your kids. (I’m gonna say it.) They get to see parents (that’s you) lovingly teach and correct their kids, some kids might not get that at home. Some parents need a reminder that all kids have a melt-down sometimes, even PK’s.
4. Leave your kids at home.
Okay, I know this point is contradictory to the last point I made. But it’s okay to leave your kids at home, with a babysitter, every once in a while. If you have an extra service, maybe they stay home and come to church on Sunday.
Ask your kids, they will let you know what they like to do. If I told my four-year old that she was going to stay home, while I went to church, my little extrovert would throw a huge fit. But, I know not all kids think that way, and I know she might grow out of this phase too.
5. Don’t get caught up in the materialism of the holiday.
Don’t feel like you have to get your kid the most expensive thing.
Last night, my daughter Andi, walked up to me and asked if she could get me a Christmas present. I had gotten a root canal earlier that day, not really understanding what she asked, I just mumbled, “Yeah, sure.”
So, she walks away stating she is going to her room to pick out a toy for me. She comes back a few minutes later with a box, and says, “Mom, here is your gift, can you write your name on it? Now, no opening until Christmas!”
So I wrote my name, then she proceeded to put her gift for me under the tree. She then went and got presents for the rest of the family. Some were wrapped in towels and some were in a box covered in Barbie stickers. But she picked out a toy from her room for everyone.
Later that night, I asked her if she wanted to go to the store with her grandma later to get real gifts for us.
She just looked at me with a what-the-heck look and said, “Mom, I already got and wrapped gifts for you.” Then just walked away.
Dang, she put me in my place. Sometimes, as parents we want to give the best, newest thing to our children. But really, that doesn’t matter as much to them. If you were to ask my daughter, she would say she needs Aqua Beads for Christmas. But that is not what she is going to remember. She will remember the special memories that we have made.
Don’t let the business of this very important season over take you and your family. Take time out of your schedule just for them.
Here is a link to the Boundaries book by Henry Cloud and John Townsend: CLICK HERE