All I Want for Christmas…

By Melinda Gardner, APPLE Pregnancy Care Center

Today it’s early fall and the furnace kicked on for the first time. The leaves are turning and falling, and I’m pretty sure summer is over. And sometimes that can make moms panic because we all know what’s coming: Christmas. When you think of that, does it make you excited—or totally panicked?

I have a friend who told me once about how she spent weeks preparing for Christmas and felt like she was putting on this huge event. Everyone loved it—except for her! She was exhausted.

It really helps if you can put things into perspective. Ask yourself: What are the things that I love to do as I prepare for this holiday? What are the things that I don’t really want to do but do anyway? What is Christmas all about anyway?

We all need to remember that it’s not about “the stuff.” It’s so easy to think we need piles of presents. We spend more than we want to. We panic that it isn’t “enough” but really, it’s too much. Your children want YOU—your time, your presence, a mom or dad who isn’t stressed and unavailable.

I grew up in a family that really valued each other. We had traditional things that we did every year that made the holiday special for us. Certain Norwegian food (It’s usually white!), he Norwegian candleholders at each place at the Christmas Eve table that we lit as we sang “Silent Night” together. My dad read the Christmas story from the gospel of Luke before we had dinner. These things are all really easy and don’t cost much money, but they made our celebration so special and uniquely ours.

Guess what? You can start your own traditions right now.

  • Decorate Christmas cookies with your kids. (play music of course)
  • Pick a Christmas CD that you always listen to together. (We decorate the tree to the Amy Grant Christmas album—the old one!)
  • Help your little ones make gifts for someone else. It’s great to teach them the joy of giving.
  • Watch a Christmas movie together. We love Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas. It’s a Jim Henson production and so funny.
  • Serve at a food bank or community table together or ring the bell for Salvation Army. It’s so satisfying to see your child learn to care for others.
  • Go for a walk during a snowstorm. Make snow angels. Have hot chocolate.
  • Stop—think—enjoy your family.
  • Go to a Christmas service and worship together.

Have a blessed, peaceful Christmas season with your family.

Melinda Gardner is the executive director of the APPLE Pregnancy Care Center in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She is a wife, mother of two adult daughters and grandmother of one special little boy.

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