Just last Sunday we went to the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at The Grove in Los Angeles. This was the perfect reminder about what can easily happen during this time of year. I witnessed people pushing and shoving each other through crowds. There were people yelling at waitresses for not keeping their reservation. There were unkind words thrown at people that were standing and covering the screen that was projecting the show. To be honest, there was not a ton of holiday cheer. There were a lot of security guards and chaos and crowds of unhappy people. Sure, there was a beautiful, big Christmas tree, which costs more than what many people make in a year (trust me, we looked up all the stats as we waited on the crowded lawn). There were beautiful lights everywhere and the store windows glimmered with shiny things. But like I said, there seemed to be something missing.
Stay Focused on What Matters
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE this time of year. But, I also am quite aware that I have a tendency to not show up as my best self around this time. I too can be like the crowds of angry people that push and shove their way to the front. I tend to be on edge, cranky, and stressed. The truth is, I can easily let the distractions of gift giving, holiday parties, and all the decorations get in the way of staying focused and present on what this time of celebration is all about: the birth of Jesus!
This year, I am committed to staying focused on what actually matters and not letting the holiday chaos get the best of me. Are you with me? Let’s enjoy this time of year, but let’s also keep systems in place to stay centered and focused on what the celebration is truly all about. It is likely that you are going to be a bit outside of your normal routine during this season and that is totally okay. You might be traveling. You might stay up later, sleep in longer, eat more cookies. And to all of that, I say go for it. As much as I love routines and systems, I think it is also essential to let go of some of the structure during seasons like this; however, there are a few things that I believe are essential for you to keep up even during the holidays.
5 Things To Keep Doing During Holiday Busyness
So, while you might be stuffing your face with gingerbread men and staying up past your bedtime, here are a few things you should keep up with to help avoid being a grinch this Christmas and to really be joyful and present and thankful.
1. Wake Up Before the Kiddos
I get it. With less work + no school, you might easily be tempted to sleep in and wake up when the whole house wakes up. This is easy to do when you might be staying up later than normal shopping or partying. However, if you are anything like me, even just 10-minutes of quiet time before the chaos of the day, is essential for me to be the best mama and wife I can be. Normally, I wake up at 5:15 am to have at least an hour of time to journal, pray, work on blog. I will definitely have some days of waking up later, but I still plan on setting an alarm to ensure I have at least 10-minutes before Hudson wakes up. So, sleep in, but still allow for some early morning quiet time. This can really help set the tone for the rest of the day.
2. Take Your Vitamins
Even if you don’t take supplements as a daily routine, the idea behind this point, is keep up with one simple habit that is good for your health. The reality is that I am going to be eating A LOT this holiday season and I will be eating a ton of things that might not be the healthiest options. That is part of this time of year! However, my body and emotional state really gets affected if I am just consuming wine, sugar, and salt. And let’s be honest, that is a lot of what is going into my body around this time. There must be balance. So, even if it is just keeping up with your vitamin routine or your protein shake every morning. Keep doing one healthy food habit that will help counter all that wine, sugar, and salt.
3. Keep Moving
Amidst all the busyness, it is easy to skip out on your typical workout routine. I don’t think you need to keep up as intense of an exercise routine as you might normally, but continuing to have some type of movement in your days is still vital. If you are traveling, it can be a real challenge to stay as active. As I wrote about in last week’s post on finding exercise routines, 10-minutes is always better than zero. Use your small windows of time! Another option, is to try to incorporate movement or getting outdoors when you are visiting with friends or family. Take a family walk Christmas Eve. Bring a friend that is home for the holidays to a yoga class. This is a fun way to visit, while still keeping active!
4. Create Space for Evening Routine
It is likely you are going to be out later on certain evenings than you typically would. Our family is an early to bed type of family, so it can really affect us staying out past our bedtimes night after night during this time of year. For that reason, I think it is important to talk within your family and set the maximum time you will be out. Aim to really get home by this time, so you can keep up with the elements of your evening routine. Story time, cuddles, night cream. These are the things that might be easy to toss out the window when you are coming home past midnight and are exhausted. I really believe it is important to preserve your evening routine as much as possible by giving yourselves and your family some time before just falling asleep. This might entail leaving the party slightly early or saying no to certain things, but trust me, you and your family will be much happier if you create these types of boundaries.
5. Plan Ahead
The week of Christmas, I always feel especially on edge because I am still trying to do all things on my holiday to-do list that I have not gotten to! This Christmas season, I am really committing to getting all the shopping and holiday prep done by the first week of December. This is my goal. To make this happen, I am planning ahead. I am scheduling all my shopping early. I am clearly marking our calendars with the different events we are going to, so it is very clear to the whole family what we have going on. Planning ahead really can save you from a lot of Christmas drama!
In the spirit of Christmas, I wanted to give you a little gift. I created a pretty little “Christmas To-Do List” to help you organize everything you have to do this season! I put some scripture and reminders to help you stay rooted in what this time of year is all about. Not the presents or Santa or the Christmas Tree Lighting or cookie exchanges. Jesus. It is about Him! I really believe working on incorporating these 5 things into this busy time of year will ultimately help keep you focused on what actually matters!
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What are some things you do during this time of year to help keep you grounded? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.