There once was a girl who loved EVERYTHING about Christmas! The presents, the joy, the stockings hung by the chimney, that jolly old elf, and candy canes hung on the tree.

And then that girl became a woman who loved EVERYTHING about Christmas! The giving, the celebrating of our Lord’s birthday, the smiles on my little girl’s face Christmas morning, and the feeling of joy having our family together.

She gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in swaddling cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room  for them in the inn.

Luke 2:7

As the years passed that woman loved Christmas so much that she wanted EVERYTHING to be just perfect. Like Hallmark Christmas movie perfect. 

She wanted it so bad that she literally ran herself ragged year after year trying to do EVERYTHING herself to make that Christmas the best Christmas ever, until one year, she became so ill that she couldn’t even get out of bed  on Christmas morning.

That woman was, of course, me, and it was then, while lying in bed that morning, listening to the hushed whispers of my family downstairs, that I finally realized how foolish I had been.

I had pushed myself beyond healthy limits, stressing over everything, taking on too much, not asking for help and all of it had caused me to lose sight of what Christmas really was about for me. 

Christmas is about signing joyful tunes, praising our Lord for all his blessings, and spending quality time with family and friends.

It’s a wrapping paper thrown everywhere, giggling until your sides hurt, warm fuzzy feeling kind of season.

So the following year I decided it was time to get back to basics and I came up with a plan.

We are down to the week before Christmas in my plan and I have some last minute tips that I hope can make your holiday’s less stressful and MUCH more joyful!

  1. Write it down! I can’t stress (no pun intended) this tip enough!!  Use your notes app, another app, a piece of paper or a simple post it but write it down! Whether it’s a grocery shopping list, menu, or a reminder that Aunt Harriet is allergic to peanuts, write it down! I know this sounds like more work, but I swear it makes life so much easier  and when you complete a list or note you can  just delete or throw it away and your done!
  2. Ask for help! We all like to think we are superwomen and we can do it all! Let me let you in on a secret. We can, but why should we? Significant others and kids make great cleaner uppers too! Give them a list of chores and send them on their way. And your next door neighbor? I bet she’d love to help run an errand or watch the little ones while you wrap gifts or catch up on laundry. Just as long as you return the favor!
  3. No fuss entertaining! I’m the first one to tell you that homemeade is the best, but during the holiday’s it is not always the easiest. If you haven’t already finished baking forget about trying to make dozens and dozens of  different cookies, fudge and other baked goodies. If you want homemade choose one or two kinds to make (again get the kids to help) and if you need more  buy them.  That goes for snacks and appetizers too! Grab a tray of meat and cheese at your local grocery or Costco. They also have veggie trays, dips, and even cooked seafood platters! 
  4. Prepare for the unexpected! Weather delays, illness, unexpected guests, these are just a few things that usually happen during the busiest time of the year! Don’t stress! We can’t control mother nature but we can be prepared for the worse! Guest will eventually arrive so be ready for them. Make sure your snow shovels are ready, flashlights for power outages, and a good weather app for updates.  Keep plenty of Kleenex, Tylenol, and cold medicine on hand, and take as many extra blankets and pillows out of storage as you can. 
  5. Breathe! Yes, Christmas is just a week away but you’ve got this! You’ve made your lists and you’ve checked it twice. You’re prepared. And most of all, you accept and understand that the best Christmas isn’t a perfect Christmas at a all. The best Christmas is messy hair, coffee stained pj’s, burnt bacon wrapped mushrooms (that’s a story for another day) and laughter so loud that Santa hears it al the way back to the North Pole!

I hope these tips help take a little bit of the stress away, and because I love you all so much, I’m also giving you a free download of my tried and true cleaning checklist.

I’ll be back on Friday with a quick and SUPER easy sweet treat you don’t want to miss!

Blessings and hugs,

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