It the Christian tradition, the season before Christmas is called “Advent,” meaning “to come.” It is season of preparation, and a time to wait.
Regardless of your spiritual tradition, this time of year is indeed a time of waiting. Waiting for the Light, for presents, for the arrival of loved ones. Waiting to see the smile on your child’s face whenÂ gifts are opened. Waiting to kindle the candles of Hanukkah, or forÂ the return of the Light at Solstice. Waiting to pass on traditions at Kwanzaa, or for the arrival of baby at Christmas.
But all too often this Advent season turns into a season not of waiting, but of rushing. Rushing to the store, to make cookies, to clean house, to wrap, to rehearse,Â to dress-up, to attend.
I love a little hustle and bustle. It’s fun!Â But a little holiday bustle can go a long way.Â Over all,Â I like the holiday season to be peaceful and intentional. I want it to be ripe with meaning and lush with memories.Â
Over the years I’ve developed a trick to help keep our holidays happy, but not hustling; joyfulÂ and peaceful. You guessed it, it’s a list! Each year I write out the *8Things we must do this holiday season. Writing a list of the most important moments empowers me to say “NO” to the rest. Every time my eager-beaver mind draws me to another craft project or an additional adorable downtown Christmas event, I return to my list. If that new thing threatens my ability to make one of my essentials happen, I say goodbye. I wait for another year. After the season is over, I tack my list to my calendar for the next December — when we’ll keep some items, and trade out some others — adapting our traditions each year as our householdÂ alters.
Here’s my *8Things forÂ a Peaceful HolidayÂ Â list for this year.Â
1. Make a meaningful gift for the immediate family members. (Hello Burb.com!)
2. Bake Paul’s favorite Christmas cookie.
3. Sing with the Copenhagen Gospel Singers, and the Jr. Gospel Singers.
4. Bake muffins once aÂ week to get Catie out of bed through the dark season.
5. Light the Advent wreath. Pass on the story.
6. Dole out the Christmas picture books at the breakfast table, one each day through Advent.
7. Show my parents the hyggliet bits of a Danish Jule.
8. Decorate the tree and set a pretty table Christmas Eve.
What’s NOT on the list:stay up too late making a zillion kinds of cookies; attend every cool event in town; make an elaborate meal and collapse with a migraine beforeÂ I can eat it; stress out trying to finish handmade gifts at the last minute (tho I will buy handmade as much as possible!); spend more than I can afford on presents; stress out trying to get everyone dressed and out the door to a zillion church services.
What’s on your *8Things for a Peaceful Holiday list? What do you need to do to make your holiday season meaningful? What would make it something to savor? And just as importantly, what can you leave off the list? Do tell usÂ in the comments, or grab a button and play alongÂ by leaving your permalink in the list below. Thanks for being here, and Happy Advent!