Preparing Our Hearts…Feel! (2016)

Each week in December 2016, we’ll explore a way that we prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ into the world. For these stories and more, please download the December News for the Flock.

Dec 1: Taste| Dec. 8: See | Dec. 15: Hear | Dec. 22: Feel

Self Care During the Holidays

By Pastor Duane Paetznick

The holiday season, between Thanksgiving and New Years can be a very stressful time. There often are so many expectations for people – family gatherings, cooking, decorations, gift-buying, gift-wrapping, cookie making, lights, travel, concerts, letters, grocery shopping, Christmas tree, parties, cleaning, school events….this is a list of just some of the things we do in connection with this holiday season. Often trying to do it all brings on distress. And then, after it’s all over, we’re so tired that we wonder if it all was worth it.

This year, can this season be less stressful? The answer is yes. But that means being more deliberate about what you want this season to be for you and your family. Rather than trying to do it all, take some time to think through which traditions, rituals, and activities are important for you. Then plan to do them –and discard the rest. No guilt. No shame.

I encourage you this year, before the holidays, to take some time and heed the three little tips below. I think it will help you to have a less stressful, more meaningful season.

1. Think through your rituals and traditions
Which ones are most important for you and your family? You can’t do everything. What has been most memorable for you in the past? What do you value most about the holidays? Think it through. Talk about it with your family. And make some choices. Likely there will be things you won’t do this year. That’s okay!

2. Stay Grounded
The key to battling stress is realistic expectations. As you focus on a few simple things you and your family value, be realistic about what you can handle.

3. Plan your family’s holiday schedule – and do it early
After you have chosen what is most important and realistic, mark it on your calendar. And then, stick to the plan!

The Christmas Pledge

Believing in the true spirit of Christmas I commit myself to:

Remember those people who truly need my gifts

Express my love in more direct ways than gifts

Examine my holiday activities in light of my deepest values

Be a peacemaker within my circle of family and friends

Rededicate myself to my spiritual growth

From “Unplug the Christmas Machine” by Jo Robinson & Jean C. Staeheli

Leave a Reply