Holiday Prep 2.0

Hello friends.

I know it’s wild to think that we are right on the cusp of the holidays because here in the south right now we are still wearing shorts and sandals and carving pumpkins all in the same day. Our major holidays, however, are quickly approaching. I pondered over what to tell you all that I do in preparation for the holidays as a family. If I am being completely honest with you, I truly love the holidays and making memories, but goodness it’s absolutely chaos! In my household we are in the absolute thick of it raising kids in that young age group. I grew up with certain traditions that you could plan on like clockwork. We always had Christmas Eve dinner at my Grandma’s house and would open gifts. Then on Christmas Day we would have an extensive country breakfast at my parents’ house, and then would head to my Nana’s house for finger food lunch. Now that the family has grown, we have learned to change things up to try to fit into everyone’s schedule. The first few years, it felt so off to me, but now I am learning to embrace the differences. I have now realized I enjoy spreading the meals and activities throughout the month, and not cramming it all into a day or two. God has really started showing me the last couple years to learn to savor the moments and experiences.

There are a few practical things that we do to prepare for holidays in our family. One is to discuss who we need to buy gifts for, and to come up with a roundabout price we will spend on each gift. Then we come up with a rough budget of how much we wish to spend for Christmas gifts. Then we start speaking to each of our families to try and pin down dates for the gatherings. Last year we added an extra twist into our families plans, because Justin and I decided we would spend Christmas with our kids at the beach on the Gulf Coast.

We started dreaming of a true Christmas vacation, and I requested a beach trip. So we packed our car to the gills, took a Christmas tree, and all of “Santa’s” stuff. There was something that felt so magical about sitting on the beach on Christmas Day. There was also something so relaxing about a day with no real commitments, no driving between family member houses, and just a day of resting and relaxing. That trip gave me such peace, and a feeling of our family being held by Jesus. The day after Christmas while we were still out of state on vacation, I injured my knee. God provided not only for us during that injury, and a long car ride home, but He continued to provide for us in the months to come while I was out of work.

I don’t have any hard set rules of how I prepare my mind or our home for the holidays. I do try to go into the holiday season with the mindset of embracing the busy days filled to the brim, and reminding myself to simply enjoy the time spent with family and friends. I use the season to remind my children of the birth of Christ, and what a precious gift that is for us. So if you find yourself lacking in the planning department for the holidays like me, just remember to go back to the basics of what the true meaning of the season is. If you don’t have any hard-set rules and traditions, it is ok just embrace what this coming holiday season has to offer. Find something that helps you keep your mind calm and focused and use that to help you keep your eyes on Jesus. One thing that helps me feel centered during chaos is music. I enjoy playing praise and worship music, and a mix of Christmas music to help me feel joyful during the holiday season.

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Melissa Abbott