1. Parent Cue
A Christian organization, Parent Cue’s goal “is simply to cue you with what you need when you need it, so you can be the parent you want to be,” sent me an email recently with 10 ways to “Thoughtfully Prepare for the Holidays.” This list includes important reminders such as setting manageable expectations (be realistic and upfront about what your family/household can do), give yourself and your family space to experience and express all the feelings that come up during this time including sadness and loneliness, and care out some time for yourself.
Related to the last item, life coach Kathy Wiens blogs about the importance of being aware of the times we need to say “no” in order to care for ourselves. This is not selfish, this is self-care. She even provides a list of possible phases/responses we can practice and be ready to share as needed during this busy season.
3. A good Advent devotional
As we work to stay focused on the Advent season and preparing for Christ’s active presence in our lives, our family has started both a family devotional and one for just the grownups at bedtime. Our all-time favorite is The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp (we’ve read it for years) and the family edition Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. Another great option is Expecting Emmanuel: Eight Women Who Prepared the Way by Joanna Harader (new from Herald Press, this is the grownups’ choice this year).
4. Giving Tuesday
Last Tuesday was Giving Tuesday, which has been called a “global generosity movement” and reminds us all the difference we can make by supporting nonprofits partnering in God’s good work. Especially in the current economic downturn, there are many organizations that could use our support more than ever. Consider whether an extra gift for your congregation, denomination or other agency might fit into your Christmas gift budget this year.
5. Christmas Music
Sometimes there’s nothing better than listening to Christmas music to calm your mind and soul in this busy season. My favorite Christian artist, JJ Heller, recently released a new album I Dream of You: Christmas. What Christmas music helps you prepare? How can Christmas music impact your faith this Advent season?