jade in the parke

Monday, December 23, 2013

10 Tips for Christmas for Stressed Moms

This post is dedicated to all Moms who want to make a change and NOT do the crazies at Christmas, especially Moms of special needs children.I got your back.

Please read my Christmas post & come right back, ya' hear? As a special treat, you will see a picture of me when I was 11 years old. I know. 
I know, this may go viral.
That post I hope encouraged you to do your portion for this season with no mommy guilt, please. 
Christmas is a day that men have set aside to focus on our God, who stepped down in the humble form of a baby, to live our life without blemish or sin and then pay for our sins by dying on the cross, and the most importantly, rising from the dead so that we may have eternal life.

God's truth sounds fantastical, yet it is the source for why we even want to celebrate.
I humbly offer my tips that have served our family well these last two decades. Hardly any of the tips were done year in and year out, but they were sanity saving or soul food to my family and I hope they will bless you.  There is an UPDATE at the very end of the post.


  1. Nothing gets me and my kids cleaning like guests coming! Plan a low stress event at your home early on in December or Thanksgiving weekend to spur a burst of decorating.   Then, boom you're done for the season.
  2. Get the swirls of stuff out of your head. If you go all out and do the outside lights, garlands, wreaths, Christmas cards, work parties, baking day, Black Friday/Cyber Monday, church programs, service projects, secret santas, school class parties, and teachers gifts just to name a few, realize it is a lot and if you aren't supremely organized (and even if you are) it can be too much on a Mom. But go on, grab a small notebook and dedicate it to getting organized and give yourself grace, because I am exhausted just reading that list.
  3. Just simplify and let go. Maybe not every year. Communicate well and early with your family to bring them alongside your epiphany as most disappointment happens with unmet expectations.
  4. Prioritize the activities that really bless your family and are in line with your family’s values. And say no to the extra fluff.
  5. Take advantage of the downtime between Christmas and New Year’s: Be unabashedly unashamed, and do a "New Year's Letter".
  6. Give 3 gifts on the Day of Epiphany which is the 12th day after Christmas when the wise men visit the baby king bearing presents. In the US, that is recognized on January 6th which buys you some time, especially handy if illness derails your December. 
    • You can move those three wise men statues around the house as they wind their way to the manger scene starting on Christmas day. It was exciting for our kids to find those 3 kings each morning. Yes, this was before the Elf on a shelf phenomenon. Fun stuff. Many years I bagged it if it was a burden and didn't bless us.
  7. Drive and see the light displays when everything shuts down between Christmas and New Year's. Do a little research on social media which means ask your friends on Facebook for the best neighborhoods to drive through.
  8. Feed your family’s soul, do your Advent Bible readings around food or in place of bedtime stories. It will keep you consistent. When you miss days (I said when not if), give Him the glory when you do it again and be grateful. Stop making this about your failure or success as a Mom. Grace. Grace, God's grace, my fellow moms.
  9. Every year or every other buy your family a new Christmas book, and take a pen and write the year and a special note for your kids on the inside flap. To hear my younger ones read aloud the notes to their older siblings before they were even born is delightful. Fan them out over your tree skirt to be picked up and read or place a stack where you read stories to the kids. Make it easy to be consistent.
  10. Spiritual traditions such as Advent readings are like vitamins to counteract the deficit during the crazies in December. Their benefit can't be measured in an infographic. It is like "comfort food" for the soul.  No special Advent book needed at first. 
    1. Just start reading small portions of Luke right now. (Can't you hear Linus in your head?)
    2. Sing a Christmas carol (Here is link: Go to #145-168), 
    3. Light a candle or flip a battery operated one on. (Optional)
    4. Pray.

Merry Christmas! 

Please share in the comments what you do to reclaim Christmas from the crazies? Let's bless each other!

UPDATE: The day I am posting this, my youngest woke up with a fever and vomiting. The rubber met the road: Can I not freak out and still rest on Him with 24 hours to go until Christmas Eve? Do I believe the words that I just wrote yesterday? I am happy to say that I failed that test. I was defensive, demanding and plain unkind to my teen. I believe what I wrote, but my hope is not in following tips for a stress free Christmas. It is in Him who brings perfect peace. No, I am not happy when I see my sin, but thankful that I am not stuck in it still navel gazing. Just by sharing my failures here I am free to admit that I don't have it altogether and I need Him every hour. I praise Him for showing me my sinful heart response to my family. Time to go ask forgiveness from my teen and preach the gospel to my wayward heart. Peace to you!

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