On my way home from Tennessee last weekend, I stopped at the Asheville Outlets (because Kirklands). Walking from my car to the stores I was completely in awe of the gorgeous fall leaves everywhere in the parking lot. The trees were just full of vibrant fall color. I turned the corner toward the first set of stores and was immediately slapped in the face with intense Christmas decorations! This outlet mall goes all out for Christmas – it’s very festive, but it seriously clashes with orange and yellow. I’d rather not take my picture in front of a fiery orange tree covered in huge red ornaments.
Everywhere we go, our culture tries to force us to rush right from Halloween into Christmas…completely ignoring Thanksgiving. Is it wrong to start preparing for Christmas in November? I think you can have a little bit of both – as long as you don’t decorate with fall orange and Christmas red at the same time. 🙂
I believe it’s actually important to start preparing for Christmas in November. Doing so helps us to enjoy the season even more, because we won’t be rushing around as we try to cram everything into a few crazy weeks! Here are three simple things you can (and should!) do now to start preparing for Christmas.
Prepare Your Heart
One of the best ways you can prepare for Christmas is to embrace the season of Thanksgiving! If you spend the next few weeks pondering all that you have to be grateful for, you’ll be ready to move right into the Christmas season with a heart of worship. When we praise the Lord, we take the focus off ourselves and put it on Him. Could there be any better heart attitude for Christmas?
Prepare Your Mind
This involves one of my favorite things – PLANNING! November is a great time to gather all your thoughts and sort them out in whatever fashion works for you. This year I’m using a printable planner that my friend Mandi created (get yours here – it’s a free download!) to enhance my tried and true Christmas planning system.
It’s important to remind yourself that you have to say no to something. You can’t buy, decorate, bake, eat or do #allthethings. Think back to what didn’t work last year and decide to say no to those things. When you say no to something that doesn’t help you reach your goal of a peaceful, Christ-focused Christmas, picture yourself saying yes to the goal!
Prepare Your Family
Gather everyone that lives in your house and talk through expectations, wishes, schedules and plans. This weekend, Paul and I worked through our Thanksgiving and Christmas plans and covered all of those topics. We talked about work schedules, ideas for gifting (with each other and our family), travel plans and even potentially stressful situations that we want to be prepared to handle.
Nobody lives in a perfect family! If there’s an event or individual that causes stress in your home (particularly in your marriage), talk through that with your husband now. Be prepared to approach the situation as a team with your man.
Whether you have a calm, loving family that usually always gets along or a crazy, dysfunctional family with little in common – God will honor your desire to please Him and encourage others with your family time. (Read more about how to have the best kind of family gathering here)
Have you started preparing for Christmas?