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Are you at holiday overload just yet, homeschool moms? I find it difficult sometimes to balance a festive season with all the at-home responsibilities I have on my plate. I'll be talking a lot in this podcast (and blog post) about surviving Christmas and holidays, and how I go about doing that.
I hear the Christmas bells ringing in front of Walmart and the Christmas songs playing in the malls- but what I see is a lot of frazzled families trekking from one store to the next in hunt of that one "perfect" gift for a friend or loved one...and they are tired.
I don't know about you, but I've determined this holiday season not to wear myself thin with shopping, planning, and prepping for what should be a season of rest. Sure, I'm going to enjoy cooking a delicious meal that our family will enjoy on Christmas evening. Sure, I'm going to have fun shopping (online) for my kids' (few) gifts. (We've decided to pare down this year.) Yes, I'll enjoy the holidays, but it won't be so much about the hustle and bustle. I did all of that hustle and bustle when I traveled across several states these past two weeks to visit relatives and friends thousands of miles away. After two weeks of airplane flights, car rentals and hopping over for a surprise trip to Disney (my kids had no clue!) I decided that the rest of my holidays would be spent at home as much as possible! I barely even want to get out of the house for appointments. I am in a mood for rest. Here are a few steps I'm taking to "survive" the Christmas holiday season. It's sad that I must use the word survive, but commercialization and shopping have completely taken over what should be a time of restoration for us. So, here's how I get through the process of surviving Christmas.
Clearing my schedule.
Yep, over the holidays (weeks before Christmas, in fact), I start to clear up my schedule. It's a no-brainer for most of our activities since my kids' classes and co-ops naturally shut down for Christmas break anyway. I try to stay home a lot more and only get out when necessary. Life becomes less hectic when we slow down and it makes for a happier holiday mama.
Also, slowing down just gives our busy life a restful reprieve. I suddenly become more creative and have time to whip up new recipes and enjoy old favorites, or bring out the knitting loom.
As homeschool moms, we deserve some downtime, and in order to get that kind of time, we need to clear our schedules. The holidays is the best time to do it, in my opinion.
Make time for fun.
At the beginning of the school year, we homeschool moms tend to get overwhelmed with school planning and all the activities surrounding choosing curriculum, starting new co-ops, or buying school supplies. Then the school year begins and we're completely swamped with trying to keep up with our plans, which are likely NOT going as planned.
If our kids are in co-ops and sports, we've turned into chauffeurs, and now it's all one, huge balancing act. By the time December hits, we're sometimes so exhausted from the fall semester (the August through November period) that we really don't know how to make time for fun. This is when we have to re-learn the art of fun. If we clear up our schedule and begin to slow our pace, we'll find the time we didn't think we had before.
Plan some fun time with the kids. This could mean a board game, a card game, a game of make-believe, reading a book together, or watching a fun movie. Anything counts, so long as you unwind.
Plan some time with your spouse. Go on a walk together. Curl up in your bed together in the middle of the day and watch Netflix. Go out to a coffee shop and chat over a cup of java or tea. (If you have a super busy husband like I do you'll need to be creative in your approach.) And don't forget about yourself. Me-time isn't so bad. If you like reading, go to the library and check out a great book, or download a digital one. Bubble baths always relax me, and if I have a good book to read while bathing in a sea of bubbles, it's all the better. Don't forget your own hobbies and interests. You'd be amazed at how much better you'll feel after you've done some things you personally enjoy. You'll be a better wife and a better mother for it.
Make time for God.
Last but not least, make time for God. I usually like to take the mornings for prayer and meditation, but it doesn't always happen first thing. Taking time for God is important (like drinking water). It's the foundation of our lives as Christian moms. When we make time for Him, His blessings seem far more evident in our lives. We notice His goodness more. We're more pliable to Him and more sensitive to His voice and calling.
It's always my hope to spend time with the Lord before I say good morning to anyone. This way, I know I'm starting my day out on the right foot.
This holiday season, don't forget these important tips for surviving the chaos of the drama that Christmas and New Year's can bring. Whether that's shopping drama or family drama, we all must admit that the holidays can be the not-so-best occasions, sadly enough. But if you do what you can do to take care of your family and yourself by clearing up your schedule, making time for each other, and making time for God, you will likely have a more fulfilling holiday.
God bless you as you get through this season.
Resources mentioned in this podcast:
The Well Planned Day Planner
Dec 14 2015
Sep 19 2012
Aug 24 2012