Getting Ready for Christmas

Going to a big family dinner? Spending a quiet day at home? Traveling across the country? Gathering with local single friends? No matter how you plan to spend Christmas, a little preparation will help make it better.

Before you get caught up in the holiday rush, stop and think about your priorities. What is most important this month? How will you show that in what you do? What is key and what is just nice if it works? Is this the year to simply post an Advent calendar for daily family use or the year that the whole family is coming to your house and you want to be ready to welcome them with a festive environment? Will you be traveling, so packing is a priority, or hosting, so meal planning is key? Will you be skipping the gifts and holiday shopping this year and simply resting in the gift of a Savior? Make a list (if you have several things) or post a visual reminder for yourself (if you want to really focus on one or two things) to help you stay on track.

Once you have that down, make a plan. Think about what it will take to fulfill your priority. If giving is key, make your Christmas list. If hosting is your jam, jot down some meal plans. If travel is on the calendar, nail down the timing, reservations, and packing list. If a quiet holiday is for you, prepare for the time of rest. Set yourself up for success rather than hoping everything will work out somehow. Brainstorm enough to be confident you have covered the big stuff.

Finally, block time in your calendar to work your plan. Mark out the path this month so that you know when you need to do what. It may not happen each time, but you will have placeholders and reminders to help you along the way. Adjust as needed and keep walking.

Once you’ve covered your bases, you can relax and enjoy the holiday season!

What To Do When

Prepare your work outside;
get everything ready for yourself in the field,
and after that build your house. Proverbs 24:27

Why on earth would you work outside before building yourself a house?

Well, you can live in a tent while you till and plant, and then you have a home-building project to keep you busy while you wait for the crop to ripen. Now you have a house and a harvest. The other way around leaves you hungry in a cozy home.

The order you work on projects, or tasks, or toward goals, matters most of the time.

Stagger your progress. If I know I have to make brownies and take a shower before heading to a party, wouldn’t it make sense to mix up the brownies first? Then I can get ready while the brownies bake.

If you have multiple steps for a project and you know you will have to wait on others along the way, plan out when you will do each one and where you will have to wait. Get the ball rolling, and then you can turn your attention to other priorities while you wait for a response. After you get what you need in response, move to the next step until you have to wait again. You will be able to keep moving along your timeline and tend to other tasks at the same time.

For another simple example, we can get a lot done in between running loads of laundry, but we do have to put a load in the washing machine to start. But if we wait until it has to be done to put it in, we’re looking at a frustrating wait.

Taking a minute or two to think through the overall plan will pay off for you. Stepping back to look at the big picture will help you cut out the unpleasant surprises and unexpected delays that will prevent you from accomplishing your goal on time. Making a plan and walking through steps in the best order will pay off for you.