We all tend to have visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads when it comes to the holidays… the grandeur of the decorations, the parties, the presents, and making memories with the people we love. Too often, our dreams turn to disappointment when we get too caught up in the idea of Christmas and forget that what makes it fun isn’t determined by how much money we spend on our presents, but by how much time we spend time with the people we love. Finding happiness during the holidays comes from the people we spend it with and the memories we make, not the presents we receive.
Many people find themselves upset during the holidays for a number of reasons: misplaced priorities, dashed hopes, or even bitterness toward people in their lives. You can read about Dealing with Christmas Heartbreak on my blog too!
Don’t give someone else the keys to your happiness!
No matter what circumstances you’re facing, you can make the CHOICE to REJOICE. The Bible says our joy is our weapon! When we’re in a battle is when we need our joy the most! And it is important to keep that joy and focus on finding happiness during the holidays.
Here are my 7 holiday tips to help you protect your joy this Christmas season:
1. Keep the focus on what’s important.
Loving others and expressing that love to my family, friends, and to God with a grateful heart are at the top of my list of importance. Keep it simple! In a perfect world, we may strive to be Martha Stewart—making our own decorations, homemade gifts, and centerpieces—but is it worth it if it creates emotional explosions in our life?
2. Don’t overspend.
This is a BIG one. Help your family remember the real reason we celebrate and that love doesn’t mean we spend outside of our ability. It’s better to have little with peace than much with stress. Less can be more if you mix a lot of laughter and cheer in with time spent together!
3. Plan to succeed.
Decide what events, activities, and gatherings you will attend and don’t overcommit. A family meeting is a great way to find out what activities are important to different family members and to make your plans together. Find out what makes the holiday special to different members. You may be surprised by their real wish lists. Eliminate the others. Encourage some electronic-free time zones where family members connect and video games, TV, and cell phones are off for real face time!
4. Enjoy traditions but add some new adventure with spontaneity.
Traditions are an important way to unite a family. It’s always nice to try something new, too! Gary surprised me a couple of years ago with a holiday shopping trip to NYC and a musical production of White Christmas. It was one of the most exciting, romantic memories I have and cost the same as a piece of jewelry.
5. Express your heart!
It’s a time to share how you feel about people. Take time to write a letter and give it with an inexpensive gift that exemplifies an important point in the letter. My son, Tim, once gave me several red stacking boxes filled with items that demonstrated a quality about me with a note sharing what he loved about me attached to each one. I was thrilled! We all like to hear how we are loved and good things about ourselves since we tend to see the negatives. Heartfelt emotions mean more than money spent.
Let go of opportunities to get stressed or bent out of shape if something goes wrong. I consider the ability to make plans important, but more important is the flexibility to laugh at the things that go wrong and try to find a silver lining! There always is one! If you look, you can find the funny in the folly. We’ve made sugar cookies on the grill and played a board game camping in the upstairs study by the fireplace when there was no electric for Christmas morning. The funniest part was that most of the gifts were electronic that year, so we had to go back to simple fun—fun we created. It was one of our family’s all-time favorites! Laughter and a positive attitude go a long way and can help you in finding happiness during the holidays. Which leads me to #7…
Pace yourself as much as possible so you don’t find yourself in a last minute rush. And if you do, go back to #6!
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Are you ready to get HAPPY? God has an incredible plan for your life, but it starts with discovering your joy in His presence. Embark on a journey toward a happier you today by joining The Happy Life!