Well, next year has arrived.
My conclusion, after living through numerous Novembers and Decembers, is that preparations are not the culprits that steal the season’s joy. Instead, the perfectionist in us seems to surface during holidays. We begin with good intentions, wanting perfect family memories our children will cherish forever and share with their children. Armed with determination, we proceed thinking we are Super Mom. Last year’s leftover projects compete for attention with new, fun projects we discovered on our favorite blog. Choices, choices!
Planning for Peace
Shhh! A secret—graduated homeschool moms are fairy godmothers. Okay, I’m waving my magic wand granting permission to drop your panic, skip leftover projects, clear your holiday to-do list, and make new plans around peace, joy, and family celebration. Abracadabra! Poof! Guilt gone! Children love a joyful holiday free from a stressful, Grinch-like mom rather than one filled with every possible delight.
So how do you manage this? Begin by planning doable projects, and then start early to avoid a crazy, rushed holiday season.
Traditions are the things we do most times to form a consistent thread through our children’s lives. Skipping something you can’t do one year won’t cut that thread. Do you want to continue your childhood traditions or start new ones? Ask family members what they enjoy.
Divide and Conquer
Forget finishing any unfinished home projects. Cramming them in isn’t worth the stress. But you can bring better order by working a little at a time on everything you want to accomplish. Divide and Conquer is your holiday mantra.
You might suspend school lessons in December. We accomplished what we needed the rest of the year, but we also labeled many holiday activities as “school.” At least, reduce your lesson time between Thanksgiving and Christmas and incorporate holiday fun into your learning.
The season is for giving, not for gimme. Include at least one holiday activity to do for others.
The possibilities are endless if you ask the Lord to show you just what your family should do to serve others. Explore opportunities through your church or in your community.
Kick the Grinch Out!
The season is busy, even when you plan and minimize, and you may decide in the midst of chaos that you simply can’t do everything. Don’t despair; remember that the wave of my magic wand included those things that you want to do but, for whatever reasons, just can’t. Choose and leave the rest undone. The absence of some special baked good or decoration won’t spoil the season as much as the Grinch jumping into the middle of your plans.
Our family has incorporated a “favorite holiday memory” game in some years. The shared memories aren’t usually of elaborate decorations, mounds of baked goods, or even gifts. More likely, they are of some special time (when we spent Christmas in a mountain cabin with almost none of the usual Christmas trimmings), some meaningful activity (when we spent Thanksgiving Day serving dinner at the Ronald McDonald House), or some funny incident (We all laughed after I cried when our huge tree toppled over after it was decorated!). Those shared experiences bonded us together.
The real Grinch is our Archenemy, Satan, who would steal our joy and meaningful celebration. Kick the Grinch out!
This holiday season could be the best ever, if you plan and don’t overdo it. The Grinch is an unwanted guest, and he doesn’t appreciate the joyous occasion. There should be no room for him at your inn.
Marilyn Rockett is a veteran homeschool mom of four grown sons and Mimi to eight grandsons (including twins), one granddaughter, and three great-grandsons. She worked in local, state, and national homeschool efforts for over thirty years and is formerly Editor in Chief for Homeschooling Today magazine. Her book, Homeschooling at the Speed of Life, provides organizational helps and encouragement. She has contributed to several additional books and written numerous articles as well as spoken frequently at conferences. Contact at moc.ttekcoRnyliraM@nyliraM.
Copyright 2014. Used by permission of the author. For reprints, contact Marilyn Rockett.