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For years, after my kids were born, I struggled with the Christmas season.
I wanted to create the perfect Christmas atmosphere for my family, with all of the lights and decorations, perfect gifts, and meaningful Advent studies.
Inevitably, December 26th would roll around and I’d feel deflated because things never went the way I’d planned.
Most often, I’d be stressed out and exhausted, because I’d tried too hard to recreate memories from my own childhood – memories that most likely had little to do with reality and everything to do with my own childish perception of reality.
That is when I decided I needed to start finding meaningful Christmas ideas for busy moms like me.
Ways to make Christmas meaningful, that didn’t take a lot of time and effort, but that would permeate the day with the wonderful and glorious meaning of Christmas.
My kids are now older, my oldest is nearing double-digits, and this season is busier than ever. Our home closely resembles a set of gears, each going in it’s own direction and at it’s own speed.
My husband works three rotating shifts that change each week.
My oldest son attends school in two rotating shifts that change each week.
My youngest son is homeschooled.
And I sort of morph my own crazy schedule around everyone else’s and work diligently to make sure our home functions smoothly, despite all of the crazy.
Going into the Christmas season, I’ve already determined that I am going to do things very differently than before, because I am a very busy mom!
5 Meaningful Christmas Ideas for Busy Moms
While planning this article, I went to Pinterest to see what others were saying about mom’s having a meaningful Christmas. And do you know what I discovered?
All of the pins were about creating a meaningful Christmas for our kids.
And this is very telling, because I know that as moms we are always serving our families and those around us, that we often forget to take time to be ministered to.
But Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and Jesus said that she’d chosen the best thing.
We need to make the time to stop and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to us, too, in this very important season of celebrating Christ’s birth!
1. Stop idolizing a slow Christmas
We’re told so often to slow down and stop all of the busy-ness that comes with the holiday season, and while I understand what people are saying, there is often the battle between what we can control and what we can’t.
For many families, being busy isn’t a choice. It is a lifestyle thrust upon them and much as they’d love to change it, they simply can’t. This is my reality.
But I’ve also realized that so often the slow, meditative Christmas often wanders into the realm of the mystical, where we almost worship the atmosphere and “feeling” of Christmas.
Christmas isn’t an atmosphere or feeling; and Christmas can still be meaningful and draw us closer to Christ even in our busy lives.
2. Reject the idea of a perfect Christmas
A few years ago I made the decision to just stop trying so hard to make Christmas something magical for my kids.
My husband and I come from vastly different cultures when it comes to Christmas: I am the quintessential American who has to light up a whole city block from my house with all of the Christmas decorations.
My husband is content with us just being together as a family and enjoying a big meal.
Bringing our two ideas together as a cohesive holiday celebration took years….and a lot of – achem – discussion.
Letting go of my ideal was what finally brought harmony into our home, and surprisingly my husband began to ask me to decorate and do all of the things I love to do!
There is no perfect Christmas. That is a myth that is only a reality in the movies.
Christmas is messy…it’s always been messy. The Christmas story itself is messy and imperfect. And that is the beauty of the Christmas story!
3. Don’t do all the things
This was me, last year. I had lined up so many fun activities for my kids to do: sugar cookies, a ginger-bread house, salt-dough ornaments, books to read, movies to watch, and all on top of a detailed Advent study.
In the end, some of it never got done and a lot of what was done was rushed and stressful.
In then end I’ve concluded that many of the things we do to make Christmas memorable don’t compare to the simplicity of what our children want – time with us. Not just time with us doing things, but just quality time enjoying one another.
Try listing a few fun activities you haven’t done yet, and then a few more activities that could be fun to do during their Christmas break.
And remember that sugar cookies can be made any time of the year! They don’t have to be just a Christmas activity!
4. Carve out bits of time throughout the day to meditate on God’s gift
One thing I’ve managed to do is clear off a space on my counter for my Bible and planner, like my dear, dear friend Mandy Kelly from Worshipful Living wrote about in this post.
My Bible is always open to the passage I’m reading that day, which helps to remind me to reflect on it throughout the day.
I’ve found this is so helpful for me, because my son has be up before 7 in the morning every other week to get ready for school, so that doesn’t leave me much time in the morning for my own Bible reading.
In my planner, I have a prayer list that I keep and add to as people share their needs.
This way, my quiet time isn’t just one time slot in the morning, but is becoming a lifestyle that is spread throughout the day.
One thing I plan to add this Christmas is my War Room Journal Prompts for Christmas, to make this season extra-meaningful.
5. Do just one thing
The temptation I’ve always fallen prey to is becoming a Christmas-idea hoarder.
I see something on Pinterest that is simple and fun, and print it out.
Then I see something on Facebook that is simple and fun and print it out.
After that I read a blog post about a great idea that is simple and fun and print it out.
And before you know it, I have way more ideas than I have time and feel pressured to do them all – because, after all, I’ve already printed out all of these ideas, and I’m not about to let them go to waste!
This year, I’m making loose plans and keeping the activities to weekends, this way we can enjoy our time together without being pressured.
We don’t have to slow our lives down in order to have a a meaningful Christmas. God can meet us in the midst of our busy-ness with His sovereign touch.