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Well, Christmas is almost here. By now you’ve probably done all your shopping, wrapped all the gifts, sent all the cards, and are now either finishing up last minute plans or are totally prepared for Christmas Day and are enjoying some peace and quiet.
Christmas day can be a very busy, full, overwhelming, and maybe even stressful time for some people. There is often a lot of chaos, child wrangling, cooking, maybe traveling, or preparing for guests, and this year, Christmas falls on a Sunday so you may be trying to do all the previously mentioned things AND make it in time for Sunday service.
Here are my tips for keeping your sanity and creating a stress-free Christmas day.
Prepare Christmas day meals in advance
If you like doing a big breakfast, prep as much as possible the day before. Make some muffins and freeze them; chop up fruit for a salad and drizzle with a little lemon juice to keep it fresh; fry up some bacon and refrigerate it. Doing most of the cooking beforehand will mean you can enjoy more family time instead of missing out by being in the kitchen.
Stick to a regular morning routine if you have one
This isn’t for everyone, but by keeping up with chores and meals and pet care, and whatever else you normally do in the morning, you are saving yourself stress from having to cram it all in before you go to bed. I’m not saying that you should spend all of Christmas day doing housework, but it can be beneficial to spend a few minutes sticking to your routine.
Plan for all that wrapping paper
Do you recycle it? Burn it? Save it? Throw it in the trash? Whatever you do with it, be prepared to deal with it! That could mean designating someone as the wrapping paper folder to fit it in the recycle bin or making sure everyone throws it in a big trash bag right away. I remember one year (I was a teenager) I lost an important camera accessory in a pile of wrapping paper that had been thrown out. Of course, I didn’t realize it until AFTER, but if I had been gathering up the paper as I opened gifts, instead of letting it pile up to the end, I probably wouldn’t have lost that item.
Make sure you eat real food
My mom does amazing Christmas spreads of baked goods, so I could just eat those all day. She also fills our Christmas bags (alternative to stocking) with chocolate and candies, and I have a major sweet tooth. But eating just junk will likely leave you feeling lethargic, bloated, and maybe even cranky. Be sure to eat some fruits and veggies, or crackers and cheese, throughout the day if you are not planning to eat full meals. Also, make sure you are drinking plenty of water! I know it’s fun to drink fancy punch and eggnog, but staying hydrated with WATER is important!
Plan for the day
Since Christmas is on a Sunday this year, many of you may be attending church services. If that is the case, I suggest laying out all your clothes, boots, coats, etc in advance so you won’t be as rushed. Also, consider postponing presents until you are home from church. If you are not attending church this year, but are planning to travel, make sure bags are packed the day before Christmas. If you are having guests over, ensure all items needed (special foods, extra towels, etc) are purchased already because almost all stores are closed on Christmas day.
Take some time to just rest
There is no rule that says the house has to be perfectly spotless, dinner needs to be eaten at exactly 5:00, that you need to be wearing a full face of makeup. It’s okay to put your feet up and relax. Enjoy your family. Have a cookie. Read a book. Watch a movie.
I hope you have a truly wonderful Christmas, full of love and happy memories. But most of all, I hope you remember that Jesus really is the reason for the season.