By guest author Marcia Washburn (Continued from Part 1)
DURING THE HOLIDAYS
- Adjust your homeschool schedule. Cut your homeschool studies to a minimum and use December to teach hospitality skills. Instead of doing all of the planning yourself, involve your children. Ask them where guests should sleep, what foods to serve, etc. These are important life skills.
- Toys. Put away excess toys. Rotate them back in when the luster of new toys has worn off.
- Give yourself permission to relax. Put your feet up for a few minutes. Take a break from the busyness. Feed the ducks at a local pond. Drive to see the lights in other neighborhoods. Sing carols to your neighbors. Take time to enjoy the moment. Don’t miss the cute things your little ones do or say because you are too busy hurrying on to the next task.
- Ask for help and then accept it. If someone offers to bring dessert, let them.
- Emotions. Give yourself permission to grieve if you need to. Many people have difficult memories of past Christmases; talk with a trusted friend and spend time with the Lord.
- Music. Play joyful Christmas music — play the radio, play a CD, or play the piano — just play.
- Remember the Reason for the season. Use an Advent calendar to count off the days with your children. Find one that tells the Christmas story. Our boys liked to re-read all of the previous days as well as the new one each night.
- Gift-opening. Consider a new twist on gift-giving: each person delivers his gift to the person he bought it for and stays to watch while the recipient opens it. The anticipation on the giver’s face and the joyful “thanks!” from the recipient make gift-opening time a joy instead of a scramble.
AFTER THE HOLIDAYS
- Write thank-you notes.
- Evaluate. What went well [about the holidays] and what you’d like to change for next year. File your ideas under Christmas 2020.
- Reorganize. Find homes for all of the gifts that found their way into your home. Decide whether to keep, give away, or discard duplicates and items you will never use. Shop the sales for storage bins to hold Christmas decorations.
- Plan ahead. Set a budget for next year and begin contributing to your Christmas fund now. Begin purchasing gifts for next year. List them in a notebook or computer file so you remember what you’ve purchased (and where you hid them!).
- Protect your memory keepers. Place holiday photos in albums or burn onto CDs. Send hard or electronic copies to others as backups.
- Get organized. Enter birthdays and anniversaries for the coming year into your planner.
- Get healthy. Freeze or trash the sweets and get back to a healthy diet as soon as possible. Everyone will feel better.
- Summarize the previous year. As you prepare for the New Year, evaluate the past year. Some suggested questions include: Where did you go? What did you read? What household projects did you accomplish? Which children lost teeth? What Scriptures did your family memorize? Which loved ones died during the past year? How did we bless others in the past year? Add any other questions you wish. Then write special letters of thankfulness to those who have invested in your life during the past year. End the year on a note of gratitude.
Above all, focus on the true meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even if you have boundless energy, don’t get sidetracked by projects that take you away from the Person of Jesus Christ. All of our seasonal activities should point back to the joy of the Incarnate Child.
©2011-2019 by Marcia K. Washburn who homeschooled five sons for nineteen years. Visit www.marciawashburn.com for more articles, her newsletter, and to view her time-saving book, “Homemade Convenience Foods.“