De-Stressing Your COVID Christmas Holidays

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De-Stressing Your COVID Christmas Holidays

The carols can be heard in the stores, the tinsel and trees are up. It’s a COVID Christmas and it’s a bit different. Some houses have their Christmas lights up early  November, even a tree all lit in their living room even though Advent, the real beginning of the Christmas season begins four Sundays before Christmas. More and more, the commercial hype of Christmas shopping attacks us earlier and earlier, already getting our blood pressure going and the need to start doing something to avoid the rush. COVID throws us in a tail spin because we have no idea how it will all play out, depending on the restrictions in each of our areas. Whether you are a new mom or have lots of years under your belt, the season of Christmas can cause a lot of anxiety. The push and pull of the world around us and our own expectations to do things just right can send us spinning. We are creatures of habit and this year, we can’t seem to do all we used to do and it throws us into even bigger commotion. We are not sure who is coming, where we are going and how it will all come together.  Although we all want and desire is a Christmas filled with joy, peace, and love, our day to day life does not often testify to its presence in us. Ladies, we need to pull back the reins, take more control of the situation and steer it in the right direction!

Christmas is not about running around like headless chickens. It’s not about fulfilling our checklists of entertaining and shopping as we’ve done for years.  It’s about faith and family, about loving and being loved and so much more. Christmas is about Christ – a God who so passionately loves us, he comes to us as a baby in a manger, living in an ordinary family, living a fully human life, reaching out to each of us with his boundless love, doing all it takes to save us and give us a better life. The first Christmas and the most important Christmas was super simple, yet extremely powerful. Not many were present, yet it’s impact touches the world for generations. We are all called during COVID to go simple, to switch up, to change plans.  Maybe this is the year we should contemplate that first Christmas in Bethlehem and learn some lessons that can make this Christmas a special one!

Too often we get carried away in the “doing”, and forget about “being” the good news of Christmas. Pull back and look at what you are doing and why you do it. What messages are you sending this year to your friends and family by the way you act? Do you reflect the true spirit of Christmas? Love, peace, joy, gentleness. Or are you just irrate over COVID? What and who are you celebrating? You and your wish list? or Someone greater? Maybe COVID will help us de-junk what is not necessary and make some changes. Make time and energy to focus on the loves of your life – love for God, love for others and love for yourself. Take time to pray. Actually learn to stop and rest in God. Read a good spiritual book. Let God more into your life.  Allow your life to be transformed.

Ease up on the pace, pull back on your expectations and fill your days with more smiles, laughter, happy conversations, memories worth cherishing. Ask those who are in your family or social bubble what they would like to do with you, your spouse, or your children. Make a list of these ideas and have them handy to plug into your holidays. Put quality time in the quantity of time you have together.  Share a hot chocolate with your kids. Lick the cookie bowl with them. Enjoy a great puzzle or board game. Try snowshoeing or have a winter hike.

For sure you will miss all the relatives and friends you might normally see but not be able to actually visit this year. Be creative and resourceful in filling in those gaps. Get your kids to make a video to send out, or a collage of this year’s favorite photos to email to them. Set up face time with technology.   Maybe get together outside for a social distance walk, skate or cross country ski outing.  Write a heartwarming letter to express appreciation long over due. Think of those who are alone, elderly or sick and share your children’s drawings or crafts with them.  Call an old friend. Smile more at those around you.

Christmas is about family, friends, community — about caring, sharing, enjoying and relaxing. Too often relationships are stressed, whether within our own families or with siblings and parents.  What an amazing time of year to consciously invest in our family by strengthening the ties that bind us. Kindness is a super power that builds bridges and opens hearts.  This year, maybe consider taking the Kindness Challenge. This free daily reminder transforms and invigorates any relationship you wish to improve.  Bring peace and joy to those who need it most! Be Christmas for others!!!  Kindness makes all the difference.   Go ahead and put a smile on someone else. Give and you will receive so much more back!  Let Christmas be born in your heart!

You are the heart of the home. Radiate. Your kids don’t need memories of a stressed mom who’s barking orders, a nervous wreck or always upset that reality didn’t meet expectations. They need a mom who is deeply happy, relaxed, and loving. Now certainly I have to admit that this is no easy task during this very busy season. At the same time though, it is not an impossible goal to work towards. Know your strengths and weaknesses and steer them in healthier directions. Tweak the process each year until you achieve greater peace and joy, personally and as a family. No one has their act altogether in this department, but we can certainly learn from those who are moving in the right direction. Here is a wonderful list of super ideas on how to de-stress the season. Enjoy and please add to it. We all need the helping hand. Have a merry Christmas and may God bless you and your wonderful family abundantly during this holy season!

There are also many great daily messages and videos to help you spiritually prepare for  Christmas. Consider looking into them and signing up.  Here are some suggestions:

Journeying Through Advent With Lord of the Rings

Matthew Kelly’s Advent

Word On Fire: Season of Advent

 

Enjoy these some short videos that may bring inspiration, a chuckle, and some good cheer:

 

Christmas 2018 by IKEA – Do You Know Your Family? Well worth watching!!
The Other Letter by IKEA
The Christmas Story
Creative 12 Days of Christmas by a Family of 12
An Unexpected Christmas

Advent: More Than A Chocolate Calendar with other videos available

 

Christmas movies worth watching: 

Angela’s Christmas (2018) – animation

The Toy That Saved Christmas (Veggie Tales Movie) – animation

Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas ( Veggie Tales Movie) – animation

St. Nicholas : A Story of Joyful Giving (Veggie Tales Movie) – animation

The Star of Christmas (Veggie Tales Movie) – animation

It’s a Meaningful Life (Veggie Tales Movie) – animation

The Little Drummer Boy (Veggie Tales Movie) – animation

Annabelle’s Wish (1997) – animation

The Star (2017) – animation

The Little Drummer Boy (1968) – a stop motion animation

Rudolph, The Red Nose Reindeer (1964)  – a stop motion animation

Frosty, the Snow Man (1969)  – animation

Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)  – animation

The Grinch That Stole Christmas (1966)  – older animation done with the voice of Boris Karloff

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)  – animation

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)  – musical/comedy/drama with puppets

Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)  – animation

The Nativity (2006) – PG drama

Polar Express (2004) with Tom Hanks – G  animation/adventure

Ernest Saves Christmas (1988) – PG comedy

Home Alone (1990) – PG comedy

Elf (2003) – PG comedy/fantasy

The Nutcracker (1986) – musical/ballet

The Homecoming: A Christmas Story (1971 The Walton Family TV Episode) – drama

Miracle on 34th Street  (1947) – drama

White Christmas (1954) with Bing Crosby – musical/comedy/romance

Bells of St. Mary’s  (1945) with Bing Crosby – drama

Going My Way (1944) with Bing Crosby – drama

Holiday Inn (1942) with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire – musical/comedy

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) with Jimmy Stewart – drama

A Christmas Carol (1951) (1984) – drama based on Charles Dickens’ classic story

Hearts of Christmas (2016 Hallmark movie) – romance/drama

A Prince for Christmas (2015 Hallmark movie) – romance/drama

Crown for Christmas (2015 Hallmark movie) – romance/drama

A Nutcracker Christmas (2016 Hallmark movie) – family/drama

Christmas Cookies (2016 Hallmark movie) romance/drama

A Christmas to Remember (2016 Hallmark movie) romance/drama

 

Take advantage too to develop family traditions by listening to particular Christmas music each year while you bake, decorate and enjoy family meals. Various families mentioned some of these as their favorites:

Jim Reeves Christmas Music

Bing Crosby Christmas Music

Frank Sinatra Christmas Music

Celine Dione Christmas Music

Barra MacNeil’s Christmas Music (for Celtic lovers)

Andrea Bocelli Christmas Music

Vienna Boys Choir Christmas Music

Pentatonix Christmas Music (big hit amongst tweens and teens)

Michael Buble Christmas Music

Nat King Cole Christmas

Placido Domingo Christmas

 

 

Share your ideas too and add them to the collection!

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