It’s a time of year that we all know is stressful—so many expectations, just waiting to be dashed. Here are my six tips for moms like me who want to be present and cheerful this Christmas.

  1. Let Them Mess. I used to tease my mom that she would put away a folding chair that someone was still sitting in. And now, I’m even worse than she is. Don’t try to keep things tidy at all times. Embrace the mess and chaos, and then later on, rally the family team to a whirlwind tidy-up.
  2. Take a break from social media. Facebook is not where memories are made. It might be where they’re kept, but more often than not, it prevents them from being made in the first place. Stash the phone away somewhere out of sight (and preferably not in your pocket). It’s a crutch that you can do without this season.
  3. Read a Christmas Book. These days, I think we all associate Christmas-time more with our favorite holiday flicks than with holiday books (hello Die Hard), but kids connect to being read-aloud to in an amazing way. This is how memories are made, mamas. (Just skip the Little Match Girl, though, unless you want your kids most vivid Christmas memory to be mom sob-reading the final page).
  4. Say Thank You. You may feel like the bulk of Christmas responsibility falls on your back–scheduling get-togethers, shopping for gifts, packing for overnight stays, preparing holiday meals. And let’s be real–it probably does. But the holidays take a toll on everyone. Take time to notice what others do for you and yours, however imperfectly. Did your introvert husband attend a Christmas party with you? Thanks, honey! Did your mother-in-law make cookies with your kids? Thanks, Mom!
  5. Say Cheese! People like to take pictures around the holidays. But it’s all too common for us moms to object when the lens is pointed in our direction. Let it go. You look fine. It isn’t about you. It’s about remembering a fun time.
  6. Put. The Camera. Down.  Let go of the desire to document every part of the season, especially if your little ones are, well, little. If you want a picture under the Christmas tree, fine. Take a picture. Then put your camera away, and don’t get it back out, even if they do something super duper cute. You miss out on so much when you’re looking at life through a camera lens. Just enjoy those moments, okay?

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 says, 

Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil … Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.

If you have Christ as your Redeemer, if you have enough money to eat a ham dinner, if God has given you little ones to look after and family to love on, that is God’s gift to you. You don’t have to remember it all, because God is keeping you occupied with the joy in your heart.

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