Our vision is to inspire, empower, educate one another through ongoing community exchange. One of the ways we’re doing this is through our Friday Community column, in a monthly series called In Your Words. We reach out to our contributors and guest writers to ask them a question once a month.
Read what our contributors have to say and share your answer in the comments below.
This month we are asking:
What helps you simplify the holidays?
1. Keep the main thing, the main thing. This is the most important thing to keep in mind. No matter what. It's all about Jesus, why He came, our relationship with Him above all else.
2. On a practical side: make lists! It's the only way to remember what I need to remember. And it's so satisfying to cross off completed tasks.
Kristin Hill Taylor
I love the Christmas season, but I have learned I can't do it all. I have my favorite parts of the season, like cutting down a live tree, getting together with friends, and spending Christmas morning with my little family. And there are other things that happen most years, like an office party, caroling, and special projects at school. But I don't bake or decorate elaborately. For me, realizing I didn't have to do it all and could focus on what our family loves was freeing.
A few years ago I quit doing Christmas cards. I enjoy doing them, but they were time-consuming and expensive. I may start them back one day, but for a season I needed to give them up.
In general, I'm not an over-the-top kind of person, especially when it comes to the holidays. However, I am married to an over-the-top kind of person whose life motto is "Go big or go home." I try to manage our holiday expectations by striking a balance between the two extremes. I'm not afraid to say no to many of the invitations that come our way over the holiday season, and I prioritize my immediate family first, and my extended family second. Everything else needs to fit around those two priorities.
Elise Daly Parker
Definitely not my area of expertise. My tendency has been to complicate the holidays! But something that always brings me calm in the midst of the busyness is attending a couple of my favorite Christmas services. One is a candlelight service and singalong at my church. Lovely, quiet, awesome! And the other is attending the annual Christ Church concert. This year it's called Follow The Star. It's usually a story or The story woven through rousing Gospel music, breathtaking solos, moving liturgical dance, and glorious instrumentals. It's a little piece of Heaven!
Among immediate families members, we generally exchange only one gift. Before there were children, we'd do no gift exchange, and shop together the day after. I generally make the gifts we give closest friends.
Instead of giving gifts to our children, or even extended family members, we give experiences. For example, last year we took the kids to see Cirque Du Soleil and this year we will be taking our kids and our parents to see Finding Neverland on Broadway.