Celebrating Christmas with Joy

I don't know about the rest of you but I love Christmas! Its seems that every year, about the same time as the furnace kicks on , is when I start feeling excited. Christmas is coming!

I know that many of you get overwhelmed with the holidays because there is often much to prepare. I'd like to try to offer a few tips and suggestions that might help to make things less stressful and therefore make the holidays more enjoyable.

For the meal... Who says you always have to have a Turkey Dinner for the holidays? It is delicious but there's so many other things that are just as good. Try to think of a meal where you can do some of the prep work a day or two ahead of time. Or have a pot-luck. Maybe have it for supper and then have some of the guests help with the preparations or even bring it already prepared. I think everyone has one or two meals that seem to always turn out well. Why not make that? Even if its beans and rice!

Snacks are always a favourite. Chocolate bars, oranges, baked goodies etc. Be creative. Children love to help so why not bake some cookies and spend time as a family decorating them? Puffed wheat and popcorn balls are also a lot of fun. Play around with food colouring to make them into different colours and shapes. Have a bake exchange with a few friends and then you don't have to worry about baking a bunch of desserts by yourself! For a healthy alternative, make a fruit salad in reds and greens. Strawberries, kiwis, grapes, raspberries etc.

Decorating can be done in a simple way or extravagant. You don't need to spend a lot of money to dress up your home. Keep it simple and then you also don’t have much to clean up once the festivities are all over. Pinterest is a great place to look if you're wanting to do some DIY (do it yourself) or inexpensive projects. Often you even have most, if not all, of the things you need at home. I came across a few things that I'm hoping to try. Some of them being my own stars, glittering some pine cones and making a wreath. A nice clear vase or bowl with some tree ornaments or pine cones looks really nice too. If you're like me, you have many trees on your yard and therefore FREE decor! Evergreen branches or other tree branches can look very nice if tied together with a pretty bow or spray painted. Some of you might not even want to decorate for the holidays and that's okay too. Not everyone enjoys things like that and if you're one of them... don't even worry about it. Stick to what you enjoy and do it well!

Next I'd like to talk a bit about gifts. After all, we celebrate Christmas because of the greatest gift of all- Jesus Christ! Nothing can compare to that so why not keep it simple. Sit down and plan on a budget. Giving is so much more fun if you don't have to worry about credit card bills after the holidays. Try a homemade gift! If the person enjoys baking do a basket with baking supplies. Same thing can go for sewing, crafting, canning, reading, etc. Make a gift in a mug or jar. Make a homemade coupon book for favours like babysitting, cleaning, cooking, gardening or whatever you might be able to think of that you know would help the other person out. Sew something. Find out what you're good at and go with it.

A few other helpful tips... make lists. Make a shopping list for groceries, gifts and anything else you need yo buy. TO DO lists and cross things off as you go. Have a calendar ready and mark things down as plans are made. It helps so much to be organized if you put things down on paper. That way you don't forget anything and it all gets done. Try to get everything done a few days before Christmas so that on the day of you're not beating yourself up because you forgot something. And if you did... don't worry about it! Another thing is to not compare yourself with others. We all have different gifts and are all in a different season of life and so we do what we can with what we have where we are!

And now, ENJOY the holidays! Its a season of love, joy, laughter, singing, praising and having fellowship with one another! I wish you all a Merry Christmas and God's many blessings!

Martha Teichroeb

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall
be on his shoulder and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

Isaiah 9:6

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