I know it seems early, but I truly believe the secret to a peaceful, meaningful Christmas has to start early. Here are just a few tips and tricks that have helped me in the past and that I have learned from other great women in my life.
1. Shop for as much as possible now so you can stay out of the store in December. Christmas shop...now! Skip that Black Friday sale. Research shows that, except for a few select items the stores use to lure buyers, everything else is actually a better buy in October! I would also include food. Staying out of the stores will help you avoid long lines and holiday meltdowns from your kids. And just think how relaxed you'll feel when you aren't worrying about Christmas presents!
2. Keep the TV off or just watch movies. I love Christmas commercials, but let's face it. The last thing you need in December is for your kids to see a commercial for some and suddenly change their Christmas list and leave you in a lurch. Avoiding the materialistic side of Christmas will also help make it more meaningful.
3. Sit down at the beginning of the holiday and write down everything you both want, and have, to do (include your kids tthoughts). Then cross off half the list. We often feel there is so much we HAVE to do to make Christmas special, but frankly, it will feel a lot more special to you and your kids if you aren't beyond stressed!
4. Get your Christmas cards made and addressed before Thanksgiving so all you have to do is send them out. If this isn't possible, think about sending out a Valentine's card instead.
5. Remember that list you made? Write down one thing to do every day on a calendar and then do it!
6. Be sure to include at least one service project or donation in your holiday and then involve your kids.
7. Don't let Pinterest get to you! I ran into this at Halloween, feeling like I must be a lousy mom because I wasn't doing all these awesome crafts with my kids. Make Christmas cuddly, snuggly, warm and happy. It doesn't always have to be wrapped in scrap paper and glitter.
8. Wrap your presents early so you don't have to do it Christmas eve. Just do it!
9. Read several Christmas stories. Out loud. Feel free to bawl your eyes out.
10. Have friends over...once.
11. Read about Christ. Every. Single. Day. Talk to your kids about it.
What do you do to have a peaceful, meaningful Christmas?