Preparing for the Holidays Now

Unfortunately the joy and peace of the upcoming holiday season is often overcome with stress, planning, and perfection. Complaints bubble of having to juggle in-laws, work around different schedules, and try to fit everything in. If this is our mindset then we are missing what the spirit of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years is all about.

Instead of enjoying your niece and nephew’s Christmas pageant, it becomes another plan on the schedule. Searching for Christmas presents becomes a hurried hassle rather than a gift offering of love and generosity. Decorating our homes becomes a competition over who has the best and brightest of them all. It is sad how ugly our hearts can become, isn't it? If we take the time now to prepare for the upcoming season, our attitudes and spirits will also be prepared.

Think Ahead
Let the countdown begin people, 15 days till Thanksgiving and 42 until Christmas! Whether that sends you into a whirlwind of thoughts or a jubilee of joy, the holidays are coming. Spend time now thinking about what you want this season to look like. In the middle of the hustle and bustle it is hard to remember everything you originally thought of. Use the here and now to brainstorm gifts, plan an advent devotional, and have an idea of what family dynamics will look like.

Set a Budget
The holidays are a costly time for most people. Not only are these few months shopping saturated but travel costs, hosting, and activities all add up. Taking some time evaluating where you are at now for finances and where you would like to be come January 1 will allow for freedom in spending and no surprises later on. Don't forget to pull out an extra portion for charitable donations and giving to those in the community.

Try New Recipes Now
I love trying new recipes and spicing up great grandma's authentic sweet potato recipe to be more adventurous. However nobody likes a new recipe gone wrong, especially for the holidays. If you plan to try something new or live on the edge a bit, put it on the menu this week to give it a test run. Then you will know how long it takes, what it needs a bit more of, and if it should be a holiday worthy recipe.

Simple is Best
Target is getting to me these days with their abundance of Christmas decorations, I want them all! This season however reminds me that simple is the way to go. Prioritize these holidays and set boundaries for where you will splurge and where you will cut back. Find creative ways to stay simple yet classy - like paper bag wrapping paper is totally in.

How do you plan ahead for the holidays?
What is on your agenda for Thanksgiving and Christmas?