Start planning the perfect holiday season with these free printable journaling pages. Enjoy the entire relaxed holiday season series!
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It happens every year. Sometime around the end of September or the beginning of October, I start pinning tons of Christmas crafts and recipes on my Pinterest boards. Somewhere between pictures of handmade ornaments and candied pecan recipes, I begin to imagine my perfect holiday season. Unfortunately, it never quite seems to work out the way I imagine. Notice, I did not say, “the way I planned.”
If you are hanging out with me through this series of 14 Days to a Relaxed Holiday posts, I would guess that you usually find yourself in that same place every year. You have thought about, imagined and envisioned your perfect holiday season, but somehow, it just never seems to work out. Much like me, you are missing one key truth:
Dreaming and planning are two very different things.
Actually, dreaming is an extremely important step in achieving the end goal of a relaxed holiday season that you will actually enjoy. In fact, this post is all about the dreaming.
Imagine the holiday season of your dreams. What does it look like? More importantly, what does it feel like? Our task today will be a walk in the park for my dreamer, optimist, glass-half-full friends, but it might be a struggle for the “I’m a realist” crowd. Today, we dream!
If you are a journaling type, I created some pages just or you. These are the pages where you get to list and draw until your heart is content about your dream holiday season. You can download them below! For our basic planning purposes, lets look at four major components; relationships, traditions, activities and events.
People and our time spent in fellowship with them, are the most significant part of any holiday season. Sometimes we look back on a Christmas season and realize that we spent time with everyone except those who matter most. It is important to prioritize not only the events, but the people in our lives that are important to us.
I took a huge leap last year and asked my children what their favorite parts of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays were. I was surprised. The things they valued were simple and included our time, rather than our money. For instance, we usually travel for Thanksgiving to a large youth convention and bible quizzing tournament. Our children get to stay in a hotel and visit with friends they don’t often get to see. We were totally shocked to hear that they would rather stay home and just spend a week relaxing and having Thanksgiving dinner with their extended family.
Challenge: Find out what makes the holiday special to your family.
Holiday traditions bridge the generations of families and become the fabric that forms the memories of holiday seasons for children. Think about these traditions:
- Traditions from your childhood that you want to continue.
- New traditions that you want to begin with your own family.
- Traditions from your spouse’s childhood.
- Traditions that would bring meaning to the Christmas season.
- Traditions that would minister to others.
- Traditions that would include close friends in your holiday.
Holiday activities are often the birth of holiday traditions. You may decide to put up your Christmas tree on Thanksgiving afternoon this year and enjoy having it so much that you continue the new tradition next year. You may decide to go shopping at a tree farm for a live tree and enjoy the experience so much that you do it again and again, year after year. The thing is, if you don’t schedule in time for the activities you want to include in your holiday season, you may not accomplish any of them.
Too many activities can clutter up the holiday calendar and leave you feeling stressed out as the holidays approach. Setting some time aside for some specific activities that you and your family will enjoy, however, can be a huge stress reliever. Balance is key. Choose only activities that are necessary or meaningful.
This is the area where many of us get into trouble. There are Christmas parties and plays galore from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Day, and sometimes even later.
Some events we attend out of obligation and some we avoid. If you have trouble determining which events to attend and which ones to skip, ask yourself these questions:
- Why am I going?
- Do I have time to attend?
- What other events will I need to sacrifice to attend this one?
- Does the cost of the event stay within my budget?
A Final Thought
Is this really your dream holiday season? Comparison is a killer of joy. We spend lots of time living up to the Pinterest expectation our home, our wardrobe and I would dare say, even our holiday, just so we can feel successful. The truth is, you have to determine your dream in order to find your own place of peace and joy. As you spend this time dreaming, make sure you are dreaming your own dream. What do you and your family enjoy? What relaxes you? What is important to you?
You can find all of the posts in this 14 Days to a Relaxed Holiday Season series here. Be sure to subscribe below to our email list to get daily updates of all the posts in this series and others.