As of today, it is 75 days until Christmas. If you and your bride treat Christmas as nothing but a holiday celebrating the coming of Christ, much of what I’m going to say here does not apply to you. However, most celebrate beyond this meaning, and even if you don’t odds are there are those around you (job, friends, family) who will pull you in to some degree. For many the holiday season is a several week marathon starting well before Christmas and ending only after getting home well after midnight on January 1. If both you and your bride never met a party you did not like, maybe that is okay. On the other hand, if either of you has ever felt overwhelmed, or over visited, or spent too much money, I suggest you talk now about what you do and do not want this holiday season. Set goals and limits, then stick to them; you will be glad you did.
So, eleven things to consider (yes, I know its ten lords a leaping, not eleven – that is what I get for not singing the song in my head when I posted my 13 days of titles!):
- Make Jesus a real part of our holidays. It is easy to lose sight of why we have Christmas to start with. Make sure your family, and especially your kids, get it.
- Do not spend more than you can afford. This has become a huge problem in the USofA, where it takes months or even years to pay off credit card bills for Christmas gifts. Contrary to what retailers would like you to believe, debt is not the reason for the season!
- Cost aside, try to give a reasonable number of gifts. Do not train your children to think massive numbers of toys are the measure of a good Christmas.
- Speaking of excess, try not to gain a lot of weight. If you are going to a party or a big meal, eat less earlier in the day. Who needs to be working off Christmas parties in May?
- Manage your time. Odds are you will be invited to more parties than you can or should attend. Be willing to hurt someone’s feelings, and realise if you do hurt their feelings they have put their wants ahead of your good.
- The above goes for family too. You do not have to visit all the parents on Christmas day, and you do not have to do one for Thanksgiving and the other for Christmas. If you, and your bride, both want to do that, fine, but you are not required to do it. I do not care how many months your mother carried you, or how many diapers her mum changed, sacrificing your time and/or sanity to spend Christmas with them is not part of the fifth commandment.
- Do not kill yourself on decorations; your house should not attack airplanes mistaking you for a major airport!
- Do not play the “impress me game” with your spouse. I am not saying ignore each other, but do not make gift giving a challenge with high stakes.
- The above said, if your lady is a gifts love language person, it is how she hears love, and you need to put a bit of extra effort into making her feel loved. (Hint, quantity and thought are more important than cost to a real gift love language person.)
- Find a way to give to those who have no one, or who get forgotten. Several years our family has taken food to a local firehouse or EMS unit on Christmas Eve or Christmas day.
- Look at your family traditions; ditch those that don’t work, and make new one’s that do work. Some traditions just happen (sometimes despite your best effort to avoid them) but traditions can be planned.
- Last, but very much not least, leave/make time for your marriage. Time to talk, to cuddle, to make love, and time to enjoy a bit of Christmas tradition as a couple.
Image Source: freedigitalphotos.net