Make Your Good Intentions Your Reality This Christmas Season
Christmas Time and good intentions often go hand-in-hand. This is the holiday when we promise ourselves that we will focus on family, but somehow those good intentions get lost in the hustle and bustle of the season. It is busy. It is hectic. There is simply not enough time to get it all done no matter how hard we try.
If this sounds like you, it is time rebel and take back the season and make sure your good intentions become your reality. I promise – it is not impossible. It is not even that hard.
Let’s look at several issues we struggle with during Christmas and see if there may be a solution or two.
This issue makes the top of the list because it often colors the rest of the celebration before you can even get started. Everything seems to flow along smoothly until the money starts to disappear. The good intentions to stay focused on family and having fun begin to fade as the money gets tighter and tighter.
There is only one solution – budget and stick with it. I know – I know – a budget seems like a lot of work; but, it is the only way to keep the focus where it belongs. Yes – you will have to spend time with paper and pencil, and you will have to make some hard choices; but, if you are clear and committed, it will be worth it!
Create a budget that does not simply postpone the pain. Put a limit on ALL spending, including the credit cards. To avoid the January surprises. One good way to do this is to put together some envelopes with spending cash designated for gifts, food, drinks, decorations, donations, and anything else you need for your traditional Christmas celebration.
A budget specifically set for each individual item not only helps control spending, it also helps eliminate that last minute spending spree because you forgot if you took care of X, Y, or Z.
Plan your budget the way you plan your Christmas dinner menu. Be precise in your budgeting and you will find it relieves a lot of stress, and gives you time and energy to focus on what is really important – family and fun.
No, I am not talking about losing weight during Christmas. I am talking about activities that keep you moving for good health in a fun way – enjoy play time every day with your family and friends – even if it is just a short walk, a quick game of Frisbee, or dancing around the living room to happy Christmas music.
Some of the holiday stress comes from the fact that health is put on a back-burner. It is easy to eat many the wrong foods and skipping exercise because you are too busy. Whatever the reason, you should never omit exercise from your daily routine, especially during the holidays!
Don’t worry about making it to the gym or spending an hour on the treadmill, just stay active. Several short walks a day will help clear the mind and get the blood pumping. You will burn a few calories, but most importantly you will lift your spirits. It’s amazing what a little boost in those endorphins, the feel good hormones, will do for you.
And, don’t forget the family – include them! Make your physical activities part of the holiday celebration. If spending more time with your family is part of what Christmas is all about, then a little play goes a long way toward that goal.
Exercise is important to feel your best; but, make it fun by including your kids and grandkids. Before the day gets too busy, go outside and have a game of tag. Shoot some buckets. Get a game of field hockey going. Do somersaults. Rollerblade. Ride your bike. Snowshoe. Build a snowman. Whatever you can do to be active and have some laughs will get you well on the way to your goal of spending time enjoying your family this Christmas.
Now – you have set up your budget and a list of ideas to help you stay active and healthy – it is time to think about the quieter times. Of course, you will be gathered around the table during the Christmas season enjoying delicious meals and sharing stories. This is all wonderful because your goal is to connect with your family, but how you spend other quiet family times is equally important.
Make your moments together count by planning activities that involve the whole family working together on projects. These can be simple crafts like creating handmade gifts or Christmas Cookies to share with friends, to larger scale projects like cooking and serving dinner at a community shelter or church.
If your family is musically inclined, you may want to join a caroling group, church choir, or band. Maybe you would like to help decorate the church. Your town may have a youth group that pitches in and decorates the store windows or city hall.
Give some thought to what you, your family, and your community needs and figure out a way to help get those needs met. Gift trees are popular for collecting gifts for families who can’t afford to buy gifts. Food drives are another easy to organize an event that your family could do. Plan a movie night at your local theatre and ask attendees to bring a new toy to give to kids spending Christmas in a hospital or away from home. There are lots of ways to do good deeds that will also be wonderful entertainment for your family.
Having a happy holiday often means finding a balance between a busy schedule, a tight budget, and family fun. You can do it all, but it takes planning, a few strategies, and lots of love.
It is early in the month of December, so make your days and activities count. Create a Christmas to remember.